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 Republican Mazi Pilip supported spending COVID relief funds on golf tournaments

The money could’ve gone towards beefing up law enforcement or helping working families.

By Jesse Valentine - January 22, 2024
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Mazi Pilip speaks during the #EndJewHatred Day event at the Center for Jewish History on October 24, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Mazi Pilip, the Republican candidate vying to replace former Rep. George Santos, has made cutting wasteful spending a centerpiece of her campaign. But as a Nassau County legislator, she voted to spend COVID relief funds on galas and golf tournaments.

Santos, who is facing multiple criminal indictments, was expelled from congress on Dec. 1, 2023. He represented New York’s third congressional district. A special election to fill his seat is scheduled for Feb. 13, 2024. The Democratic candidate is former Rep. Tom Suozzi.

As a county legislator, Pilip had a say in the allocation of federal COVID relief funds received via the American Rescue Plan Act. Municipalities could put the funds towards a broad range of services including helping small businesses and improving infrastructure. 

Nassau residents gave public testimony requesting the money be spent on battling the opioid epidemic.

But on Dec. 18, 2023, Pilip voted with 11 other Republicans to spend $10 million in COVID relief funds on the county’s 125th birthday celebration. Republican County Executive Bruce Blakeman said the money will go towards car shows, concerts, and professional golf tournaments.

Republicans argued the expenditure will generate tourism revenue. Zero Democrats voted in favor of the spending.

The funds were also eligible to be spent on public safety which is another core plank of Pilip’s campaign. Neighboring Suffolk County, for example, put American Rescue Plan Act funds towards hiring more than 700 new law enforcement officers.

A spokesperson for Mazi Pilip did not immediately respond to questions for this story.


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