ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– New information revealed more on the cost of Governor Kathy Hochul’s recent trip to Israel, including the nonprofit group that paid for it. According to her office, after expressing interest in going overseas it was UJA-Federation that reached offered to foot the bill for travel. The New York-based nonprofit also recently paid for New York City Mayor Eric Adams trip to Israel as well.
According to the Governor’s office, while the exact cost including airfare and hotels is still unknown, it is said to be in the five-figure range. Her office said previously that the state would be paying for her security detail.
Last week, the Governor went to Israel to show her support for the Jewish Community. While there, she met with Israeli government officials and those who lost loved ones during the attacks. Hochul, four members of her staff, and members of her security detail flew on commercial flights from JFK to Tel Aviv.
In a statement, Avi Small spokesperson for Governor Hochul’s Office said in part , “ After Governor Hochul publicly expressed an interest in a wartime visit to Israel, UJA-Federation — a New York-based nonprofit that has paid for other elected officials to travel to Israel — offered to cover the costs of travel for the Governor and her staff; State law has a process that allows for nonprofits to cover the costs of official governmental travel. The Executive Chamber contacted the Commission on Ethics in Lobbying and Government before the Governor’s trip began to ensure the arrangement fully complied with ethics laws, and tentatively accepted UJA-Federation’s offer pending the Commission’s review.”
The statement also explained why the name of the nonprofit was not shared until now. It went on to say, “ However, as of today — ten days after the Executive Chamber first requested the guidance — the Commission has been unable to provide us with a formal determination. Rather than delaying the process until the Commission’s November 2023 meeting or whenever they are able to issue a formal determination, the State will cover the costs of the Governor’s trip in an effort to avoid further delay and uphold the highest ethical standards.”
The Governor’s office noted that state funds were used initially to purchase the plane tickets, but that once the ethics commission completed its review, UJA-Federation would reimburse those funds.