Report criticizes campaign contributions by pro-fracking groups


A coalition that's advocating for public financing of New York elections wants Governor Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission to look into campaign contributions made by pro-fracking groups and lobbyists.

Fair Elections New York issued the call yesterday, basing its arguments on a Common Cause/NY analysis of the contributions, which was also released yesterday. Common Cause is a member of the coalition.

In its analysis, Common Cause says that between January 2007 and March 2013, 183 pro-fracking entities gave state legislators $14 million. In an article this morning, Gannett Albany Bureau's Jon Campbell points out that many of those entities have clients besides oil and gas companies or interests besides drilling. Many are law firms, construction companies, or unions.

Anyway, a few local Assembly members and Senators were among the 20 legislators who received the most money from these groups, according to the Common Cause analysis. They include:

  • Republican Senator George Maziarz -- $178,830
  • Republican Senator Michael Ranzenhofer -- $125,824
  • Republican Senator Michael Nozzolio -- $68,751
  • Assembly Democratic Majority Leader Joe Morelle -- $59,075
  • Republican Senator Joe Robach -- $58,208
  • Assembly Republican Minority Leader Brian Kolb -- $55,719

The Monroe County Republican Committee received the most contributions -- $1 million -- from pro-fracking groups of any political party committee or PAC in the state, according to the analysis. The Monroe County Democratic Committee ranked third, getting $491,000 from the groups.

And several local construction companies, which are involved in gas field construction, were represented among the largest donors. LeChase Construction gave $386,773 to lawmakers while the Pike Company gave $339,454.