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Kathy Hochul turns over turkey distribution to Democratic Party

Fowl play!

Gov. Kathy Hochul has farmed out the task of distributing thousands of turkeys to the state Democratic Party after deciding that the Thanksgiving tradition violates new ethics rules.

Last November, Hochul traveled across the state to personally participate in the annual turkey giveaway to the needy and noted the birds were donated by corporations and non-profits.

Some of last year’s donors included Amazon, Coca-Cola, MetLife, Geico, the Golub Family Foundation, UJA-Federation of New York and the China General Chamber of Commerce.

Hochul’s counsel, however, recently determined that the turkeys could be considered inappropriate gifts under new state ethics rules.

Instead, the state Democratic Party was asked to buy the turkeys and help distribute them, according to the Albany Times Union.

Republican Party officials were scratching their heads over Hochul’s move of turning turkey distribution into a partisan event.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has farmed out the task of distributing thousands of turkeys to the state Democratic Party.
XAVIER GARCIA
TURKEY DINNER GIVEAWAY
Last year, Hochul traveled across the state to participate in the annual turkey giveaway.
Robert Miller

“It doesn’t pass the smell test. Why hand off turkey distribution to the Democratic Party? If you’re going to that route, why not make it bipartisan,” said state Republican Party spokeswoman Jessica Proud.

She also said it’s laughable for Hochul — who has accepted tens of millions of dollars in campaign donations from entities and fat cats with business before the state and has been criticized for issuing a no-bid, $637 million emergency contract to a fundraiser to provide COVID-19 tests — to consider donations of turkeys a conflict.

“Hochul is worried about turkeys? She might want to take a look at the no-bid contracts,” Proud said.

RAW CHICKEN
Turkeys could be considered inappropriate gifts under new state ethics rules, according to Hochul’s counsel.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

NYC Council Republican Minority Leader Joseph Borelli said, “This is not the caper state ethics officials think it is. We should be happy that companies are donating turkeys to the poor. We shouldn’t impede people from giving out free turkeys.”

Hochul’s office declined to comment.

But state Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs confirmed to the Times Union, “The governor had asked us to put together the money and we purchased 4,000 turkeys.”

JOE BORELLI
Minority Leader Joseph Borelli spoke out about the turkey matter.
J.C.Rice

“We’ve been distributing them. It’s been basically downstate this year because it was such a short window when we found out. We didn’t find out until two or three days ago.”

He noted that Democratic lawmakers volunteer in the handout of turkeys.

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