Good government advocates today decried the lack of action on ethics reform on the extraordinary session agenda, but also sounded a hopeful note that behind-the-scenes negotiations are underway to strengthen a bill passed by the Assembly earlier this year.
Jurors in Albany are beginning a third day of deliberations in the federal corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. As The Daily News pointed out the other day, the case has "sparked a new round of talks on ethics reform." Our own state senator, Daniel Squadron, is at the center of the fight for more transparency in New York's ethics law.
Today's events don't change what we've known all along -- we need stronger state laws to oversee governmental ethics. We are pushing to pass comprehensive ethics reform now, so we can give New Yorkers reason to have a renewed faith in our state government. The federal courts should not be the only venue that addresses accusations of wrongdoing; we must fill the "Bruno Gap" in our state laws.
NEW YORK, NY December 09, 2009 —Albany may approve ethics reforms, now that former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno has been convicted on federal corruption charges. Karen DeWitt reports from Albany.
Hoping to capitalize on the call for ethics reform that followed the guilty verdict in ex-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's trial, Sens. Dan Squadron and Eric Schneiderman are circulating a new bill to close what Squadron dubbed the "Bruno gap".
The bill, which comes on top of a comprehensive reform package already being negotiated between the Senate and Assembly, would "explicitly" prohibit mixing state business and private business...
You don’t need to be an expert in state government to know that our ethics laws have been in sore need of an overhaul. That’s why I've worked since the day I took office to craft legislation that will give ethics enforcement real teeth.
I have worked hand in hand with civic advocates to draft an ethics package that will create more independent oversight of ethics, force legislators to disclose their business dealings with lobbyists, and make more detailed information about legislators’ finances available to the public.
State lawmakers representing Brooklyn hadmixed responses to Gov. David Paterson’s “State of the State” address, in which he set forth sweeping proposals to root out political corruption in state government...
Paterson also wants to set a single independent ethics commission in Albany charged with enforcing the state’s ethics and campaign finance laws.
The new commission would have the legal authority to refer criminal and civil cases to the attorney general.
Currently, the attorney general has limited jurisdiction over political corruption cases.