There’s nothing illegal about a company donating the maximum amount of money to an elected official. But when that same elected official is in a position to award a multimillion-dollar state contract to that company a week later, there’s the appearance of pay-to-play.
It’s this appearance of quid pro quo that a bill sponsored by state Sen. Zellnor Myrie and Assemblyman John McDonald seeks to address.
“This bill seeks to remove the question of any undue influence when it comes to awarding contracts through a procurement process at all levels of government,” McDonald told Capital Tonight. “Providing a measure of comfort to the public that taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly is the goal.”
Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, or NYPIRG, told Capital Tonight there are multiple ways to go about ending pay-to-play.
“You can narrowly tailor the restriction for the campaign contributions to the individual lawmaker or policymaker who has substantial control over the contract,” Horner said. “Assemblymember McDonald and Senator Myrie’s bill is a click beyond that. It basically says that if you’re…making a donation to someone who controls a contract or a committee, that the individual has substantial control over, that that would be verboten under the bill.”