Curran, Martins trade barbs over mailers

Noah Manskar
Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) discusses her proposal to restrict government mailings at her Baldwin home on Thursday, March 30, 2017. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

Democrat Laura Curran’s Nassau County executive campaign on Monday slammed Republican Jack Martins for sending politically charged taxpayer-funded mailers as a state senator.

But Martins’ campaign charged the county legislator with doing just the same.

Philip Shulman, Curran’s campaign spokesman, slammed Martins for failing to propose rules for mailers that county officials send from their government offices. His lack of a plan indicates he has “no interest in ending the culture of corruption,” Shulman said.

“Laura Curran understands what Jack Martins doesn’t — that taxpayer money should be spent only on government projects and services that actually serve the public,” Shulman said in a statement.

Curran must defeat county Comptroller George Maragos in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary before she can face off with Martins.

Martins spent more than $106,000 sending mailers from his Senate office — more than twice the Senate average — in a six-month period from October 2013 through March 2014, according to a 2014 New York Post article.

Curran has said that county lawmakers similarly waste taxpayer money on mailers that essentially serve as campaign ads.

She has pledged to impose several restrictions on mailings from her administration if elected, including a requirement that they contain only “objective” information and a ban on mailers 60 days before elections. Martins has proposed no such rules.

But state senators and other officials around New York already follow such rules — as Martins did when he was a senator, Mollie Fullington, a Martins spokeswoman, said.

Curran’s government office spent nearly $212,000 from March 2015 to May 2017 to send mailers to her legislative district, including one that twice referred to the Nassau Democratic Legislative Caucus, Fullington said.

That piece also features several photos of Curran — which would be banned under her proposed rules.

“Laura Curran is the kind of hypocritical politician Nassau taxpayers are tired of,” Fullington said in a statement.

Some Republican county legislators got into hot water in 2015 after sending a publicly funded mailer saying they prevented a property tax hike for five straight years, even though the 2015 county budget included a tax increase. Officials contended a state tax rebate negated the hike for households earning less than $500,000 a year.

Maragos said taxpayer-funded mailers should be banned because they “they are a waste of money and no longer effective communication tools.”

“The Legislators and the Government should move to more effective, free social media platforms to reach their constituents,” Maragos said in a statement.

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