Skoufis commands committee to disrupt corruption in New York

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Corruption in Albany has plagued New York State for decades. It has allowed perpetrators of crimes to roam free, money to influence legislative outcomes and wrongdoings to be covered up for people who deserve to be held accountable.

Uncovering corruption requires commitment, stomach and hunger for truth. As the appointed chairman of the Investigations and Government Operations committee, along with my team of skilled and principled investigators, I know we have the political independence and integrity that will employ this committee - which was fundamentally underutilized for decades - to be the most robust and active it has ever been.

I’m confident the people of New York will get a clearer picture of the ways the system has failed them and who allowed it to happen.

The committee's mission is to proactively investigate and expose waste, fraud and abuse as well as work to exercise effective oversight over our state government. I approached the Senate Majority Leader about this committee and made my case as to why I would be right for the job given my record of political independence.

I told her I would only take the chairmanship with the understanding that it would become a robust, dedicated and outcome-based committee.

I'm laser-focused on making New York a more responsive state to its people - and no amount of political bullying will deter me.

I don't care who or how powerful someone is: the play-to-play culture in this state that has provided those at the top with special treatment is coming to an end.

Let me be clear: everything is on the table, and we’ve already started.

We have a number of active investigations already ongoing, including an examination of pharmacy beneficiary managers (PBMs), or middle men who drive up prices to pharmacies and play a huge role in the ever-increasing costs of prescription drugs. It’s sickening that they’ve been able to get away with this for as long as they have and the rising cost of medication is just one example of how PBMs have been able to exploit monetary power.

We will soon be announcing a second investigation that we've been working on since mid-January, one that touches on millions of New Yorkers.

My team of investigators and I are taking a look at everything in and around state government. Special treatment is coming to an end, blind eyes will no longer be turned and rugs will be turned over to see what's been swept under them.

The people of this Senate district, and of this state, deserve no less after decades of inaction by Albany.

James Skoufis is a Democrat from Woodbury serving his first term as a New York State senator representing the 39th district.

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