DIAFERIA CALLS UPON JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO INVESTIGATE DONATIONS FROM ENTERGY PAC TO ELECTED OFFICIALS.
In response to an article published in The Journal News on Sunday, September 30, 2012, Green Party Congressional Nominee Joseph Diaferia (NY-16) has written to United States Attorney General Eric Holder requesting an investigation. The article identifies several elected officials in the area as recipients of donations from the political action arm of Entergy Corporation, the owner of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Buchanan
Citing grave safety issues surrounding Indian Point, including the plant’s age, inadequate evacuation preparations, and its location upon or near two geological faults, Diaferia has expressed serious concerns that some public officials may be receiving illicit compensation from Entergy in return for providing the people of the Lower Hudson Valley with a false sense of security. Said Diaferia, “I am appalled at how there have been so many in both the public and private sectors who have argued on behalf of Indian Point’s continued existence on grounds that its closure would be bad for business. These people are willing to risk rendering the New York Metro area uninhabitable just to protect the private sector’s bottom line. So the people of New York—all of the American people, in fact—need to know if their elected officials are complicit in a potential crime against humanity. We need to know if Entergy is paying certain elected officials to provide the public with false information.”
The article in question names the following officials as recipients of Entergy PAC money: U.S. Senator Kirsten Gilibrand, U.S. Representative Nan Hayworth, New York State Assembly Member Steve Katz, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and Westchester County Legislator John Testa.
Diaferia, known for his brusque candor, is somewhat a veteran of imputing official corruption surrounding the Indian Point power plant. In 1986, Diaferia, then an employee of the County of Westchester, reported the practice of then County Executive Andrew O’Rourke of extorting the participation of County employees in “cleanup exercises” in and around the area of India Point. Upon learning of O’Rourke’s coercive policy, Diaferia reported the matter to the Associated Press, and to the regional office of then Governor Mario Cuomo. O’Rourke reportedly retreated, and the issue became central to Diaferia’s campaign for a seat on the Westchester Board of Legislators the following year. Diaferia commented, “To say that there has been both political pressure and largess from [Indian Point’s] owners over the years is to state the obvious. What could possibly be the intended function of a political action component of a privately owned utility, other than to inveigle governmental cooperation? Indian Point is a disaster waiting to happen, if you’ll pardon the cliché, and prison terms should await government officials who accept corporate inducements to put the public at risk.”
Understanding the gravity of ascribing corruption to elected officials, Diaferia stated, “I make no apology here. Nothing but scientific illiteracy and pro-business prattle has been proffered in defense of a dire public safety hazard. Indian Point needs to be shut down and so does its hired political syndicate.”
Asked how he might respond to suggestions that his are frivolous accusations, Diaferia replied, [Laughing incredulously] “This is a very serious public safety and health issue. I am not asking the Justice Department to investigate Area 51, or the Philadelphia Experiment.” Diaferia continued, “If you want an example of true frivolity, take a look at the website of my Republican opponent [Joseph
McLaughlin]. On his site, he asks citizens to sign a petition directing the Clerk of the House of Representatives to rule Congressman Engel ineligible for ballot access. What I’m requesting is far more serious, and the future of Indian Point and its political support are of far greater consequence. No; Indian Point is not safe no matter what these pro-business, anti-environment hacks mendaciously claim.”
Diaferia, a 51 year-old college professor, has made the issues of energy and foreign policy central to his campaign. He has long opposed nuclear power in general and the continued operation of Indian Point, in particular.