Hochul playing footsies with donors

The governor claims to be serious about ethics. But that doesn't stop her from finding ways to take care of donors.

There’s yet another troubling story about Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ethical conduct.

The Albany Times Union reported Sunday about Hochul donors pushing legislation to benefit their businesses gaining access to the governor’s senior staff. The story also provides examples of Hochul subsequently using her power as governor to support the business interests of those donors.

This arrangement isn’t necessarily illegal, or even unusual in today’s money-soaked political environment. But it stands in stark contrast with the governor’s stated desire to improve the ethics of state government, which some watchdogs consider a cesspool.

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Hochul continues to draw criticism on another ethical front: the conflict of interest posed by her husband’s employment as a senior executive at Delaware North, the concessionaire and casino operation that has extensive dealings with state government. 

The Times Union, in a recent story, followed by an editorial, documented the ways in which actions by Hochul and the state government she heads could financially benefit her husband’s company.

In the editorial, the Times Union declared:

This can’t continue. Even if Ms. Hochul is, as a spokesperson asserts, “committed to the strictest ethical standards,” the appearance of impropriety is real enough to arouse suspicion from a public that is already inclined to believe the worst of state government.

Ms. Hochul must find a way to put more distance between her office and business involving Delaware North, perhaps by turning some of her responsibilities over to independent arbitrators. If that’s not possible, Mr. Hochul must step down from his roles as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary at Delaware North.

Note: The Times Union employs a paywall, which allows readers limited free access, four stories over a 30 day-period.