Issues: Ethics

NY1: Avella Proposes Bill to Require Consultants to Disclose Clients

After watching NY1's report last month about BerlinRosen, a public affairs firm with close ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, state Senator Tony Avella says he was inspired to act.

"The bill that I'm introducing is called the consulting bill," Avella says.

Avella's legislation would require communications and consulting firms like BerlinRosen to disclose all of their clients.

Jonathan Rosen, who co-founded the firm, is a close adviser to the mayor. At the same time, he also advises clients with business before City Hall. Because he is not a registered lobbyist, he does not have to reveal the clients he represents.

May 19, 2015
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SENATOR BRAD HOYLMAN AND MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY CYRUS VANCE, JR. UNVEIL LEGISLATION TO FIGHT PUBLIC CORRUPTION

Recommendations from D.A. Vance’s White Collar Crime Task Force

Hoylman: “Public corruption in Albany is a scourge that has infected the highest levels of our legislative leadership. Our prosecutors need new tools to root out these sophisticated crimes”

NEW YORK — Today, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) unveiled a package of legislation to give state and local prosecutors new tools to combat public corruption and other white collar crimes.

May 18, 2015
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SENATOR SQUADRON URGES CORPS CMTE TO VOTE ON "LLC LOOPHOLE" BILL AS REQUIRED BY SENATE RULES

After Forced Vote Last Month, Corporations Cmte Must Consider Bill to Close Loophole

LLCs Currently Treated as People -- Not Corporations -- Allowing Unlimited, Anonymous dollars to Flood Process

ALBANY - State Senator Daniel Squadron today urged the Senate Majority to honor Senate rules by voting on his bill to close the LLC loophole in the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions. He sent a letter to Committee Chair Michael Ranzenhofer, reiterating that the bill is required to be considered in the Corporations Committee within two meetings of its referral by the Elections Committee.

May 11, 2015
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SENATOR SQUADRON STATEMENT ON REPUBLICAN MAJORITY'S REFUSAL TO ALLOW VOTE ON HIS MOTION REMOVING SENATOR SKELOS AS LEADER OF THE SENATE

ALBANY – State Senator Daniel Squadron released the following statement regarding the Republican Majority's refusal to allow a vote on his motion to remove Senator Skelos as leader of the State Senate in today's legislative session:

May 6, 2015
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Senate Republicans Block Gianaris Ethics Bill Preventing Public Reimbursement to Campaign Committees for Legal Defense

Stopping yet another ethics reform measure in its tracks, Senate Republicans on the Investigations and Government Operations Committee voted down Senator Michael Gianaris’ bill that would prevent New York State from using public monies to reimburse campaign committees and legal defense funds. Senator Gianaris expressed frustration that his colleagues voted against reforming the current law that forced the state to reimburse the campaign committee of a former legislator for more than $1.5 million and pay out upwards of $560,000 more to his legal defense fund. Senator Gianaris introduced the bill (S.2262) in January in order to close this loophole and ensure taxpayers would no longer have to foot the bill when legislators are accused of crimes.

The Republican committee members who voted against the bill are Senators Martin Golden, Carl Marcellino, Terrence Murphy, Michael Nozzolio, and Thomas O’Mara.

“Today is another sad example of common sense reform losing the fight with twisted Albany logic,” said Senator Gianaris. “Only in this backwards ethical culture do some think it is okay that public financing for campaign committees only exists for those accused of crimes. I will continue working to close this loophole and I can only hope my colleagues will come to their senses on this issue.”

April 30, 2015
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Senate Democratic Conference Calls For Passage Of Critical Ethics Reform To Close The “LLC Loophole” Press Conference

(Albany - April 27th) Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Daniel Squadron, sponsor of the bill, held a news conference to push for legislation to tighten campaign finance regulations and close the LLC donation gap. Representatives from organizations such as the Brennan Center and Citizens Action, Citizen Union, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, and NYPIRG also support the bill. Senator Stewart-Cousins said almost every day new allegations of abuse and corruption are leveled at state government.

April 29, 2015
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ASSEMBLYMEMBER KAVANAGH, SENATOR SQUADRON STATEMENT ON ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ADVANCING BILL TO CLOSE "LLC LOOPHOLE"

ALBANY – Today, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and State Senator Daniel Squadron released the following statement regarding the vote to close the "LLC loophole" at a meeting of the Assembly Election Law Committee:

April 29, 2015
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Senator Comrie's remarks at the Senate Standing Committee on Elections re: Closing the LLC Loophole

Senator Comrie and the Senate Democratic Conference called on the Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee to pass legislation that will close the LLC loophole and help clean up Albany.  Senate Bill S.60 would close a loophole which currently allows limited liability companies (LLCs) to contribute vast sums of money to candidates for state office. Due to this loophole in state election law, between 2005 and 2013, LLCs contributed over $40 million to New York State candidates, parties and political action committees. This legislation would close that loophole and reduce the contribution limit for both LLCs and corporations to $1,000 annually.

April 28, 2015
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Statement form State Senator Gustavo Rivera on Bill That Would Prohibit the Practice of Lobbying for Those Convicted of Class D Felonies:

"At a time when ethic scandals continuously plague Albany, it is truly disappointing that the Senate Investigation and Government Operations Committee would fail to advance a bill which would ban lobbyists who have been convicted or plead guilty to a class D felony from acting as a lobbyist. If we are to be effective at combating corruption and ethics violations throughout our State government, we must pass measures that set clear consequences for those who play a role in government and show blatant disrespect for the law.

April 28, 2015
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SENATOR SQUADRON, ASSEMBLYMEMBER KAVANAGH STATEMENT ON SENATE ELECTIONS CMTE VOTE TO CLOSE "LLC LOOPHOLE"

ALBANY – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh released the following statement regarding the vote to close the "LLC loophole" at today's Senate Elections Committee meeting:

April 28, 2015
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SENATE DEMOCRATIC CONFERENCE CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF CRITICAL ETHICS REFORM TO CLOSE THE "LLC LOOPHOLE"

Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron Will Today Force A Committee Vote to Close the LLC Loophole and Reform How Campaigns are Funded

ALBANY - The Senate Democratic Conference today called on the Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee to pass legislation that will close the LLC loophole and help clean up Albany. Due to Republican refusal to even consider this critical legislation, Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron filed a motion for committee consideration to simply have this ethics reform initiative discussed by the Senate Elections Committee. Today’s vote on the legislation in the Senate Elections Committee follows decisions in recent weeks by Republicans in both the State Legislature and the Board of Elections to keep the loophole open.

April 28, 2015
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Kennedy: With Elections Committee Approval, Now Is The Time For A Full Senate Vote to Close LLC Loophole

Legislation Closing the Notorious “LLC Loophole” Approved This Afternoon by State Senate Elections Committee, Prevents Donors from Circumventing Donation Limits 

Kennedy Calls Loophole “Big Enough to Drive a Brinks Truck Through”

April 27, 2015
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Press Release: Senate Democratic Conference Calls For Passage Of Critical Ethics Reform To Close The “LLC Loophole”

Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron will Today Force a Committee Vote to Close the LLC Loophole and Reform How Campaigns are Funded

 Albany, NY - The Senate Democratic Conference today called on the Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee to pass legislation that will close the LLC loophole and help clean up Albany. Due to Republican refusal to even consider this critical legislation, Democratic Senator Daniel Squadron filed a motion for committee consideration to simply have this ethics reform initiative discussed by the Senate Elections Committee. Today’s vote on the legislation in the Senate Elections Committee follows decisions in recent weeks by Republicans in both the State Legislature and the Board of Elections to keep the loophole open.

April 27, 2015
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Senate to Celebrate Earth Week With a Package of Bills to Protect the Environment, Increase Green Jobs, and Boost Recreation

The New York State Senate will be celebrating Earth Week by acting upon an extensive package of 27 bills that would create new protections for natural resources, promote energy conservation, help create green jobs, and increase tourism through enhanced recreational opportunities. Senate Majority Leader Dean G.

April 20, 2015
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SENATOR SQUADRON, ASSEMBLYMEMBER KAVANAGH STATEMENT ON BOE'S REFUSAL TO CLOSE "LLC LOOPHOLE" AT TODAY'S MEETING

MANHATTAN – Today, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Kavanagh released the following statement regarding the New York State Board of Elections' refusal to close the "LLC loophole" at today's meeting:

April 16, 2015
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Statement From Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Closing LLC Loophole

“It’s seems everyday a new Albany scandal rocks New Yorkers’ confidence in our state government. The Senate Democratic Conference has outlined a series of common sense measures, including closing the LLC loophole, that will restore the people’s faith in state government by cleaning up Albany.  I am disappointed that efforts to close the LLC loophole continue to be blocked  and I hope with the remaining time left in session we can finally close this glaring loophole and pass real ethics reforms."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

April 16, 2015
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Legislative Gazette: Senator Avella worried about lobbyists in consultants' clothing

According to the new chair of the state Senate's Ethics Committee, Tony Avella, and a recent news report, public relations firms are playing two positions in the field of government influence.

The Queens Democrat says the dual-role these firms are fulfilling is an ethical issue that needs to be addressed.

A member of the breakaway Democrats in the Senate, Avella, is drafting legislation that would hold public relations firms to the same disclosure standards as lobbyists.

Avella released a statement April 2 expressing concern about the possibility that some PR firms may have extra pull over elected officials.

April 14, 2015
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Capital NY: Avella proposes lobbying ban for political consultants

ALBANY—In light of a report that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has met with a political consultant and campaign strategist who also represents organizations that lobby City Hall, State Senator Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would bar lobbyists from also being political consultants.

“If you're a lobbyist, you can't be a campaign consultant because there's an inherent conflict of interest when you have people who are running elected officials' campaigns and then representing clients who are lobbying that same legislator,” Avella, a Queens Democrat, told Capital.

April 10, 2015
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New York Observer: Senator Says He Will Push Bill to Require More Disclosure From Political Consultants

State Senator Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, said today he will push legislation that would require disclosure for all political consulting firms that have “substantial contact” with both elected officials and other clients.

April 3, 2015
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