Democratic candidate for governor, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi, wants Kathy Hochul to come clean. The governor should share her schedule, the Glen Cove resident said during a news conference on Tuesday. The schedule is only available for Hochul’s first 45 days in office, during which time the governor held 64 private campaign events, Suozzi said.
“That’s an average of one and a half events a day. The question is, is she really governing?” he asked. “We have to look at what she said about ethics reform and transparency, which she promised would be the hallmark of her administration.”
If she shared her entire schedule, Suozzi said, Hochul would be making good on her promise of open, ethical governing.
He’s is also saying that Hochul is not using state aircraft, including helicopters, for government purposes, an ethics violation. Suozzi cited one instance where the governor took a flight from Albany to Manhattan to attend a bill signing, which he said could have taken place anywhere. Then she attended three private events in Manhattan and Long Island, flying back to Albany from McArthur Airport.
In 2007, when Andrew Cuomo was attorney general, he investigated former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno's use of state aircraft, which led to changing the ethics laws governing the use of taxpayer funded state aircraft for non-official business.
When Hochul was lieutenant governor, she was denied use of state aircraft to attend a political fundraiser in Buffalo, Suozzi said. A few weeks later as governor she used the aircraft repeatedly.
Hochul’s staff have said that all of her requests to use the aircraft were reviewed by counsel. Suozzi wants the requests to be available to the public. He’d like to see if there were any denials. And he wants to know who she met with during her private events.
“What were these private events and how many were actually fundraisers?” he asked. “Let’s see the invitations to these fundraisers that have not been publicized, and who the hosts are of these events.”
The state should be reimbursed by the governor for use of the aircraft, Suozzi added, and the attorney general should do an investigation to determine if any state ethics laws were violated.
As governor, Suozzi said he would ban use of state aircraft for any non-government events and he is calling on the governor to do so now.
He blames what he perceives as the governor’s lack of a Covid plan during the holidays on executive inexperience. As a former county executive, he has this experience, Suozzi said. And he touted his approach to governing as a commonsense Democrat.
“I won’t pander to the left and I will fight against the right,” he said. “I’ll work with anybody to get the job done.”
His platform remains to fight crime, lower taxes, protect the environment and provide help to troubled schools.
“The governor has been in office 140 days and I’m not clear as to what her agenda is,” Suozzi said. “She doesn’t have executive experience and her approach to governing is not commonsensical. I feel like she is pandering.”