Hochul awarded lucrative COVID test contract to campaign donor that charged taxpayers double

Recently the New York Post reported that Gov. Kathy Hochul awarded a government contract to a New Jersey-based firm called Digital Gadgets for COVID-19 tests during the Omicron wave.

Digital Gadgets charged as much as $13 per unit, while other vendors charged the state just $5 for rapid tests. 

Digital Gadgets was paid around $637 million for millions of tests as Hochul pushed schools to stay open amid the omicron wave last year.

The troubling revelation was that Digital Gadgets donated nearly $300,000 to Kathy Hochul’s campaign.

The deal was made under suspended procurement rules enabled by a state of emergency that Hochul has renewed every month since late last year.

This has obviously raised concerns about alleged pay-to-play behavior ahead of the Nov. 8 election.

Since Hochul is a Democrat, no news organization, apart from the New York Post, has reported this story.

There have also been other alleged instances of Hochul rewarding her donors, handsomely.

Hochul backed the Penn Station redevelopment project that could potentially direct more than $1 billion in tax breaks to a real estate investment trust named Vornado Realty Trust. The head of Vornado, Steve Roth, donated $68,700 to Hochul’s campaign in December.

Hochul paid $600 million to build a $1.4 billion stadium for the Buffalo Bills. A firm called Delaware North is a major food supplier at the Buffalo Bills Stadium. The problem is that Kathy’s husband, Bill Hochul, is senior vice president and general counsel for Delaware North. Bill Hochul has recused from all New York state business activities. 

In recent times, there have been other cases of conflict of interest and corruption.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings revealed that House Majority Whip James Clyburn paid his grandson Walter A.C. Reed a sum of $21,000 in campaign funds since April 1. Reed has been paid $58,500 by the 'Friends of Jim Clyburn' campaign committee since October 2021.

The campaign committee also paid $7,500 in rent to a firm called 49 Magnolia Blossom LLC which is controlled by Clyburn’s daughter, Jennifer Clyburn Reed, and Reed. The Clyburn campaign has paid the Magnolia Blossom more than $70,000 since March 2020.

FEC records also revealed that Clyburn has paid over $260,000 to family members since 2010 via the ‘Friends of Jim Clyburn' campaign committee.

FEC records also revealed that Democrat Connecticut Rep. Jahana Hayes paid her son David Crenshaw $18,283 and her daughter Asia Clermont $ $21,299 from her campaign fund and since entering Congress.

Hayes’s campaign committee “Friends of Jahana Hayes” paid $15,000 to Crenshaw and $2,551 to Hayes’ daughter, Asia Clermont,.

Hayes also reimbursed herself $250 dollars for “petty cash” despite the FEC having strict rules about petty cash reimbursements.

Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters paid her daughter from campaign funds for dubious services.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign paid her boyfriend handsomely for "services." AOC also engaging in deceptive fundraising oddities.

These are just a few instances that have come to light, there must be myriad other instances of conflict of interest, corruption, and pay-to-play deals.

Back in the stone age, a wealthy donor bribed a politician and in exchange was awarded a lucrative government contract. It left such an obvious trail that these politicians were caught and their careers ended.

Those days are over.

Now every politician runs a campaign that is a complex multimillion-dollar organization.

The donor donates handsomely to the campaign which is perfectly legal.

Politicians hire their family members, relatives, and friends for their campaigns. The job titles are impressive and so are the handsome salaries paid. At times, contracts pertaining to the campaign are given to family members for which exorbitant amounts are paid. At times, allies of the donor offer them lucrative employment. Once again this is legal. 

The politician then awards big-dollar government contracts to donors. All of this is legal.

This is a self-sustaining ecosystem.

Few manage to establish the connection and how this is legalized corruption.

Even if a connection is established, the politician can feign ignorance. He could claim that his campaign is vast and it is impossible to keep track of all donations.

While regular people suffer due to Bidenflation, politicians and their family members and cronies remain insulated. They don’t have to look for jobs and pay bills like regular people, it is all taken care of, it and it is legal.

This explains why the mediocre prefer a career in politics and why term limits will never be enforced.

This two-tier system causes people to be very cynical and suspicious about their government.

What irks them further is the likes of these corrupt politicians have the audacity to talk down to regular people.

Image: MTA, via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

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