Red Flag Raised over Maziarz Campaign Donations

Always follow the money. Maziarz chairs the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, accepts all kinds of money and then makes a deal. This is the Albany way and they say they aren’t corrupt…

Opponents of the proposed $1.5 billion takeover of CH Energy Group by Fortis Inc. of Canada say comments about the deal by state Sen. George Maziarz should be disregarded because he has received  political contributions from CH Energy and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. in the past two years.

The request from the group Citizens for Local Power came after Maziarz, who chairs the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, had a letter to the editor published in an area newspaper.

“I have had a chance to read the documents associated with the proposed merger of Fortis and Central Hudson Gas and Electric,” he wrote. (CH Energy is Central Hudson’s parent company.) “My analysis has led me to the conclusion that the Department of the Public Service has, over the last year, fully vetted this process and that the merger should go forward.”

Citizens for Local Power noted that, according to the campaign finance website Follow the Money, Maziarz, a Niagara County Republican, received $1,500 in three contributions from Central Hudson in 2011 and $2,500 in three contributions during 2012, including one for $750 in July 2012, when the proposed Fortis takeover was being reviewed by the New York Public Service Commission.

“It is a conflict of interest and should be publicly known that he’s received those contributions,” said Citizens for Local Power’s  Jennifer Metzger.

“Top executives of Central Hudson are the ones who are benefiting most from this, and they’ve paid for (his letter to the editor) in a way by contributing to his campaign, to two campaigns,” Metzger said. “The (Central Hudson) linemen who are most affected didn’t make any contributions.”

Jay Wenk, a Woodstock councilman and a member of Citizens for Local Power, said the contributions appear to be an attempt by CH Energy and Central Hudson to win favor from a powerful state representative.

“I think it stinks,” Wenk said. “It looks like a payoff to me.”

Foes of Fortis-CH Energy deal raise red flag over local utility’s donations to influential NY senator –

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