Panepinto says he did not violate any ethical guidelines
New York State Senator Mark Panepinto of Buffalo said he did not violate any ethical guidelines in pressuring a state agency to change a policy. The New York Daily News has reported that Panepinto, shortly after taking office in January, lobbied the State Workers Compensation Board not to alter or reduce reimbursements to medical practioners. Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy said Panepinto's lobbying would benefit the law firm he works for. WBFO News caught up with Panepinto at City Hall Tuesday. Panepinto said he did nothing wrong.
"My advocacy for injured workers has been consistent over my entire 30-year adult life," said Panepitno. "There is no ethical issue of me advocating on behalf of injured workers across New York State. My law firm didn't benefit by that in any way."
Following the arrests of two top legislative leaders this years, the New York Public Interest Research Group said legislators need to exercise "an abundance of caution" when it comes to potential conflicts of interest.
WBFO's Eileen Buckley asked Panepinto how he will respond. "I really haven't been accused of anything," responded Panepinto. "I didn't do anything wrong. I will continue to advocate for injured workers. That's my job."
"His Senate staff dodged reporters' questions, but Panepinto can't dodge his constituents," Langworthy said. "Residents of his district deserve to know: Did he seek approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, as required, before he moved to lobby for his law firm and their labor pals?"