New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday proposed legislation that establishes a new class of public corruption crimes and enables prosecutors to better crack down on public corruption. The proposal comes on the heels of two federal political corruption cases last week involving elected officials in New York.
Governor Cuomo’s proposed Public Trust Act comes after bribery charges were filed against state Senator Malcolm Smith, a New York City Councilman, and two county GOP officials in connection with an alleged plot to rig the New York City mayoral race. The mayor and deputy mayor of the Rockland County Village of Spring Valley were also charged in an alleged real-estate development scheme. And just a few days later, state Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was charged with taking bribes in a separate case. Cuomo’s proposed legislation would expand the definitions of public corruption offenses, create tougher penalties for offenders, and require public officials to report bribery.
Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, a Republican, says the proposal is a good first step, but more needs to be done.
He says some of what he would like to discuss includes the review of the effectiveness and current construct of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, as well as the following.
And here’s freshman Democratic State Senator Terry Gipson on the proposed Public Trust Act.
Democratic State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, who represents portions of Westchester County, also says the proposal is a good first step.
And here’s something he’d like to see as part of the legislation.
Overall, he says the goal is to remove big money from politics. Minority Leader Brian Kolb says campaign finance needs more discussion.
Again, here’s Gipson, who represents most of Dutchess County and part of Putnam County.
The proposed Act would permanently ban anyone convicted of a public corruption felony from holding any elected or civil office, serving as a registered lobbyist, or doing business with the state.