ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Longtime New York state Sen. George Maziarz will not seek re-election this fall amid reports that his former chief of staff is cooperating with a federal prosecutor on an investigation into his office.
Maziarz, 61, announced his plans Sunday night, saying in a statement that he has been considering his retirement for five years and that he lacked the "passion and commitment" to mount another campaign for the seat he has held since 1996.
Maziarz's decision comes less than a week after the resignation of his former chief of staff Alisa Colatarci. Her attorney, Dan French, said Monday that Colatarci received a subpoena regarding Maziarz and his campaign committee from the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
"Alisa is not the target of the investigation and has cooperated fully," French said.
Maziarz office did not immediately respond Monday to questions about any contact it has had with prosecutors.
Bharara's office wouldn't comment on whether such an investigation is taking place. Bharara has vowed to make political corruption cases a priority, and has questioned a decision by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to disband an anti-corruption commission earlier this year.
This month, Republican Sen. Thomas Libous pleaded not guilty to a federal charge that he lied to the FBI about using his position to arrange a legal job and an inflated salary for his son. And last month Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa pleaded guilty to federal charges that she got married to secure her legal residency and later citizenship. She promised to resign.
Three other Republican senators have decided not to seek re-election this fall. Sen. Greg Ball honored a pledge to serve two terms. Sen. Lee Zeldin is running for Congress and Charles Fuschillo left the Senate to become executive director of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
Maziarz had faced a primary challenge from local businesswoman Gia Arnold. Niagara Falls School Board member Johnny Destino plans to run for the seat as a Democrat.