In Albany, a Legislature Indifferent, if Not Averse, to Ethics Rules

Daniel L. Squadron

December 07, 2009

By Danny Hakim

ALBANY — Here is a lesson learned from the conviction on Monday of Joseph L. Bruno, the former Senate majority leader, on two federal corruption charges.

New York State’s ethics laws do not do much to deter corruption. Rather, they often enable it and even help conceal it from the public.

Thus it was left to the federal government to use a controversial “theft of honest services” law that is facing a Supreme Court challenge to prosecute what was essentially a state corruption case.

...“State ethics laws for the Legislature are an irrelevancy,” said Senator Daniel L. Squadron, a freshman Democrat who represents parts of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Mr. Squadron has been the rare legislator to seek tougher ethics laws, and has even drafted legislation to address what he calls “the Bruno gap,” but his efforts have met with roadblocks by his colleagues....

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