New York, New York – State Senator Liz Krueger today applauded Governor Paterson for backing ethics and campaign finance legislation she carries. “While the full details of the Governor’s reform package are not yet clear, the Governor's Q&A with the press earlier today indicates that a number of important reform bills I sponsor will part of the package, and I am pleased to have the Governor’s support for these efforts,” said Senator Krueger.
Governor Paterson is expected to unveil his full package as part of his State of the State address on Wednesday. The Governor has indicated that package will include limits on the use of campaign contributions and on the disbursement of campaign funds by inactive candidates.
Senator Krueger first introduced legislation (S743-A/A812-A Cahill) to achieve these goals in 2006. Senator Krueger’s legislation would itemize appropriate uses of campaign funds to ensure that they are used only for government or electoral purposes and not for personal use. Under current law, spending campaign funds for personal use is technically prohibited, but the lack of any definition for what constitutes a personal use renders the provision meaningless. Examples of successful, unsuccessful or former candidates using excess campaign funds for luxury vehicles, sky boxes, extravagant meals, international travel and home improvements have regularly appeared in newspapers across the state.
In addition, the Governor has indicated he will call for limits on disbursements of funds by inactive candidates. Under Senator Krueger’s legislation, inactive candidates would be required to dispose of any unused campaign funds within two years, either by returning them to donors, donating them to charity or to the state, or donating them to active candidates or parties, pursuant to campaign contribution limits.
Governor Paterson also indicated he supports a ban on pensions for State officials convicted of crimes related to their duties, similar to legislation Senator Krueger also carries (S1733). “Elected officials who betray the public trust should not be able to continue to collect State benefits after violating their oath to uphold the laws of the State,” said Senator Krueger.
Governor Paterson also indicated he will call for limits on campaign contributions by lobbyists and increasing disclosure requirements of business relationships between lobbyists and elected officials. Senator Krueger’s legislation (S744-B/A8814 Kavanagh) is a comprehensive lobbying reform proposal that offers similar restrictions and disclosure requirements.
“Obviously there is a great need for improvement in the ethical climate in Albany, and I am pleased that the Governor shares my positions on so many of these issues,” said Senator Krueger. “I look forward to working with him and with both houses of the Legislature to build support for these and other reforms, including much-needed campaign finance reform. Reforming the way Albany does business must be a priority this year, and that’s something all branches of government and all parties ought to be able to agree on.”