Hochul gets campaign donations; donor gets state contract
Chris Bragg reports in the Times Union that a major donor to Gov. Kathy Hochul's election campaign is getting a multi-billion dollar state contract. Russ Maxwell, the president of Medical Answering Services, recently won a state contract worth about $5 billion over a five-year period from the state Department of Health. Maxwell’s company will be arranging rides to medical appointments for Medicaid patients for the money. Maxwell paid $4,500 for food, catering, and flowers for an April 24 fundraiser for Hochul, who is a Democrat. Maxwell also gave Hochul an additional $10,000 that day, and his husband Morgan McDole, gave $20,000. Then, three days later, Maxwell gave $10,000, and McDole $20,000, to the state Democratic Party. Cort Ruddy, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said Hochul's office was not involved in awarding the contract. "The Department of Health has contracted with this vendor for more than a decade to provide critical transportation services to Medicaid patients and, after a competitive bidding process, awarded this vendor a procurement authorized under the state fiscal year 2020-21 budget to provide non-emergency medical transportation brokerage management services for New Yorkers enrolled in the Medicaid program," Ruddy said. "The Executive Chamber does not provide input on procurements managed by the department and had no involvement in the selection of the awards.” Maxwell and McDole also donated nearly $54,000 to Hiochul's election efforts when she was lieutenant governor. Since she became governor, the couple have given $81,000 to Hochul’s campaign, and $30,000 to the state Democratic Party. And Maxwell, since September, has given $2,000 to the campaign of U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin of Long Island, the Republican attempting to unseat Hochul in November’s general election. Read more about this story in the Times Union.