PLATTSBURGH -- Fighting government corruption will be a top priority of Dan Donovan if he is elected the next state attorney general.
"Public corruption in state government will be the focus of my administration," Donovan, 53, said in an interview Thursday with the Press-Republican Editorial Board.
"People are not happy about it."
Donovan is the lone Republican candidate for attorney general.
He will face off in the November election against the winner of the Democratic Party primary, which features five candidates.
For the past seven years, Donovan has served as the district attorney for Richmond County in Staten Island.
Donovan said political corruption has gotten out of hand and needs to be reined in across the board.
"We don't have to find it where it doesn't exist because there is enough of it out there," he said.
One step would be for the Attorney General's Office to obtain the power to investigate and prosecute matters of local corruption without an invite.
As it now stands, the hundreds of lawyers in that office cannot investigate local matters unless they are asked to.
That practice can be clouded by politics and lack of resources, Donovan said.
"A lot of local district attorney offices don't have the resources to investigate and prosecute corruption. The Attorney General's Office has 700 lawyers, and if we get jurisdiction, we can prevent politics from entering into it."
Donovan would also push to make sure the State Legislature does its job when it comes to approving a balanced budget by the April 1 deadline.
He noted that New York City has a June 30 deadline to produce a budget or else an independent control board takes over the city's finances.
"No one in New York City wants that, so they have a balanced budget on time. You don't have to re-invent the wheel here."
Donovan said he believes in more transparency for legislators' member items, the money that lawmakers secure for local projects.
He wants to ensure that they are not giving money to nonprofits in which they have a vested interest, such as financial, professional or family ties.
On the issue of collecting taxes from Native American sales of cigarettes or property taxes, Donovan said he would enforce all the existing laws.
"This is a serious problem, and I will enforce all of the laws there are. But whether or not to send the troopers in (to enforce the law) would be the governor's call."
In regard to former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff, who was sentenced this week to 12.5 years in prison and treatment for trying to arrange sex with underage girls, Donovan said that in all his time as a prosecutor he has not seen anyone become healed of that compulsion, as Ortloff claims he was.
"I don't know of any successful programs for pedophiles."
However, Donovan was not familiar with the particulars of Ortloff's case.
On gay marriage, Donovan said he believes that eventually the federal Supreme Court will rule that it is a right that the U.S. Constitution guarantees.
"In this country, we have a history of treating people for what they've done not for who they are," he said, noting that exceptions to that over the years have been proven wrong.
E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: email@example.com