Republican Attorney General candidate Keith Wofford believes he would have broad authority to combat corruption in state government and promised to begin in investigating issues immediately if elected.

Wofford said the state constitution not only gives the AG’s office independent authority, it obligates the officeholder to prosecute corruption. On top of that, the candidate cited roughly a half a dozen different statutes he believes he would give him the tools needed to take on the issue.

The candidate said corruption is the number one issue in the race and argued it is costing taxpayers “a fortune.” He drew a distinction between himself and Democratic candidate Letitia James who on various occasions has said the state Legislature needs to approve new laws.

“I just want the people to know that from Day One, when I’m elected attorney general, we’re not going to have to wait for the Legislature. Contrary to what my opponent says, an effective attorney general can go after the biggest issue out there, that is public corruption, from Day One,” Wofford said.

James’ campaign said her record of taking on entrenched forces stands in stark contrast to Wofford.

“It’s incredible that Mr. Wofford is now suggesting that he can tackle corruption, given his support of Donald Trump,” said Delaney Kempner, campaign spokesperson.

Wofford did not rule out asking legislators to pass new laws but said he has no plans to wait for them to do so. He pointed to bid-rigging in particular as a major problem and said there are different angles to address it, including civil action to invalidate contracts, in addition to criminal prosecution.

“When the taxpayers are injured, it’s not just that the person who did wrong isn’t in jail. It’s that we have a lousy deal that hurts the taxpayers,” he said.

Wofford said, if elected, he plans to talk about guidelines, red flags, and best practices to avoid further issues. He said his office will look at campaign contributions and their connection to contracts.

However, in a departure from the stance of GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro, Wofford said he doesn’t believe in banning contributions from people or businesses with which the government is contracting.

“I believe in First Amendment rights of people to give and to contribute,” he said. “People have an interest whether it’s a personal interest or a commercial interest. I actually believe in the right to give. It’s not the giving that’s the issue. It’s the question of whether there’s a nexus between giving and action by the government.”