State Ethics Watchdog Should Investigate New York’s Purchase of Millions of Expensive COVID Tests From Campaign Donor – New York Daily News
We don’t know how the newly formed State Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government gets advice, so consider this editorial a reference to the new watchdog tasked with rooting out executive corruption. and legislative. As the Albany Times Union reported, Governor Hochul’s administration last winter purchased 52 million at-home COVID-19 tests for $637 million, paying an average of $12.25 per test, far more. what other states have paid and what other providers have charged. And the seller was a company whose founder and CEO is a maxed-out campaign donor whose family donated nearly $300,000 to Hochul’s campaign efforts.
The facts above could be a coincidence. Hochul has repeatedly insisted that campaign contributions have nothing to do with government work. At the time of the deal, which was signed under emergency supply powers, no competitive bids were required, and his administration says it was simply scrambling to get its hands on the tests needed to distribute statewide ahead of a return to school amid the omicron surge. A spokesperson said those responsible for obtaining the tests had done “extensive outreach” – but only one supplier could provide enough tests quickly enough.
It’s entirely possible, but it doesn’t explain why, despite Hochul previously claiming “I didn’t know it was a company that backed me”, it now turns out that Charlie Tebele, CEO of Digital Gadgets LLC, had held an in-person fundraiser for her a month before the deal closed. Or why Hochul suspended standard competitive bidding procurement rules, restoring the executive flexibility that was in place under Governor Cuomo, four days after the fundraiser. Or why, in November, James Tebele – Charlie’s son – started working for the Hochul campaign.
When California purchased millions of the same test, they got them directly from the manufacturer for $5 each.
Hochul boasted that the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, replacing the useless Joint Commission on Public Ethics, would have “real teeth” and “respond to New Yorkers, not politicians.” “. So please answer us: what exactly happened here?