Featured PieceGovernmentThe Examiner

‘George Santos’ Bill Unanimously Approved by County Legislators

News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

We are part of The Trust Project

 The Truthful Disclosure for Candidates Bill, dubbed the “George Santos” bill because of the embattled U.S. Congressman whose machinations inspired it, was approved by a unanimous vote (15-0) of the Westchester County Board of Legislators last week. It will go into effect as soon as the bill is signed by County Executive George Latimer.

The new law will require candidates for county legislator and county executive to complete a Candidate Disclosure Form that provides biographical information, including the candidate’s educational, military, and employment histories. The Candidate Disclosure Form will also require the candidate to certify that the information contained in the form is true and correct to the best of their knowledge.

“People want to know that the individuals they have elected to represent them are honest and transparent about their qualifications and experience,” said County Board of Legislators Chair Catherine Borgia (D-Cortlandt, Croton on Hudson, Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, Peekskill). “I believe that this will help strengthen our democracy and ensure that elected leaders are truly serving the public interest.”

Latimer, who had proposed the legislation to the board, was gratified by its unanimous passage. “Transparency is key to ensuring accountability and building trust between the government and the public,” he said. “The passage of the bill is a significant step forward in promoting transparency and integrity in Westchester County. We wanted to do something constructive; we wanted to begin the competitive process of campaigns knowing what the honest baselines for each individual are — and that is what we have done.  I am proud to have worked with the Board on this measure, and I plan to sign the bill into law immediately.”

Borgia noted that the legislation went through some revisions as it made its way from conception to passage. “Members of the Committee raised some concerns about it being too intrusive and made some modifications,” she said. “Clarifying language was also added with regard to when a person is officially a candidate and that this also applies to members who are appointed to fill a vacancy. The original intent of the bill to provide honest information about your relevant history remained intact.”

When asked to explain what would happen if a candidate or elected official was found to have violated the new law, Borgia explained that “an investigation can be conducted by the Board of Ethics. If the Board of Ethics concludes that the candidate, in fact, violated the law, they may impose fines within the confines of our existing Ethics law.”

Borgia said reaction from residents to the new legislation has been nothing but positive. “The voters want to know that their candidates and the officials who represent them truly are who they say they are,” she said.


We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.