ethics reform

Blair Horner: Ethics Reforms Are Proposed, Again

Nov 21, 2016

Corruption and ethics continue to dominate the headlines out of Albany. Last week, the verbal sparring over ethics reforms spilled into public view.

Blair Horner: Governor Pushes Ethics Reform, Again

Nov 7, 2016

As the election staggers across the finish line, the question for New Yorkers is what next? At the state level, Governor Cuomo weighed in to support legislative candidates who embraced his agenda. The governor went so as far as to circulate a questionnaire to candidates quizzing them on their support for ethics law changes, asking their position on limiting lawmakers’ outside income and stricter campaign contribution requirements for Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Governor Andrew Cuomo says one of the reasons he is actively campaigning for Democrats to take over the New York State Senate, is that he believes he will have more success getting ethics changes done without the GOP in charge.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of New York’s Southern District returned to Albany Thursday for the first time since his office announced charges against several high-profile New York officials and developers last month. Bharara, whose office also successfully prosecuted former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on corruption charges, spoke at an evening forum at the College of St. Rose.

A potential raise for New York state lawmakers has become a campaign issue in this fall's elections, with many challengers saying lawmakers don't deserve more money following a wave of corruption arrests.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

An ethics bill New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says will increase accountability and transparency was signed into law Wednesday. But good-government groups say the measure is just a band-aid on chronic corruption in Albany.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

An ethics reform measure approved by the legislature at the end of the legislative session still hasn’t been signed by Governor Cuomo. And some good government groups say it shouldn’t.

The state capitol in Albany.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Hours before the close of the 2016 legislative session early Saturday morning, lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday reached an agreement on a 5-point ethics reform plan.

A new Siena College poll is out—and it has presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump trailing Hillary Clinton by more than 20 points in their home state of New York. Also, the poll shows a majority of New Yorkers are less likely to re-elect their state legislators if they don’t act on anti-corruption legislation. And Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fate grows less certain, with 49 percent of voters not wanting to re-elect him in two years. We’ve brought in Siena Research Institute Director Don Levy to discuss the results.

Good government groups gather in Albany
Karen DeWitt

It’s just over three weeks until the legislative session is scheduled to end, and hopes for reform are fading, during an unprecedented level of corruption in state government.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Matt Ryan

With his former top aide facing a federal probe for potential conflicts of interest for consulting work, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said twice now that he did not know what the former close associate of the Cuomo family was up to. Percoco left state service earlier this year for a job at Madison Square Garden.

When New York lawmakers announced the state budget agreement last week, ethics reform was not part of the package. That’s likely to come up at tonight’s Albany Museum of Political Corruption roundtable discussion at the College of Saint Rose.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo concedes that ethics reform is unlikely to be a part of the New York State budget, despite the conviction of the two legislative leaders on major corruption charges. Cuomo blames the legislature for lack of will to enact changes.

The Assembly and Senate have released budget positions that focus on taxes and spending policies, but very little on ethics reform, even though both former leaders of the legislature face prison sentences over corruption convictions.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

In less than a month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers will get the chance to make major ethics fixes as part of the state budget. So far there’s been little focus on responding to corruption scandals that led to the two legislative leaders facing long prison terms.

Blair Horner: Pushback Against Ethics Reform

Feb 29, 2016

A consistent theme in Albany’s unceasing parade of ethics scandals has been the abuse of power: Lawmakers using their public position to enrich themselves personally. As U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara put it while commenting on his successful prosecutions of the former Assembly Speaker and former Senate Majority Leader, “Both of those cases, by the way, were awful and sad stories. No one says that those two men never did anything good for their state, but they threw it all away by forgetting that their jobs we’re not meant to be vehicles for massive personal profit.”

HV Assemblywoman Unveils Ethics Reform Package

Feb 26, 2016
Courtesy of the Office of Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

With one good-government leader calling this session Albany’s “Watergate moment,” a lawmaker from the Hudson Valley has introduced an ethics reform package trying to create distance between those who seek to influence the law and those who make the laws. Her effort comes a few months after the former Senate and Assembly leaders were convicted of corruption.

Blair Horner: The Governor Unveils His Reform Agenda

Jan 18, 2016

The staggering scandals and collapsing public confidence in state government created an opening for Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address. Could he advance a comprehensive reform package that was commensurate with the unprecedented ethics, campaign finance and elections failings of the state? His address was comprehensive: The governor’s proposals – if enacted – offer significant remedies to those failings as well as to help restore the battered public confidence in Albany.

Allison Dunne

An assemblyman from the Hudson Valley supports New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposals for ethics reforms, but would like to see at least one go even further, especially following corruption convictions of various lawmakers. Governor Cuomo in his January 13 state-of-the-state address called for limiting outside income as one portion of ethics reform. Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis would like to see even stronger wording. “I support a ban on outside income. The governor proposed a...

The 2016 legislative session kicked off quietly last week. Typically, the governor unveils his legislative program on the first day. His State of the State address serves as the legislative curtain raiser for the session. This year, the governor has chosen to postpone his address for one week and has used that time to make daily announcements highlighting his upcoming initiatives.

Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Now that the two leaders of the legislature have been convicted on multiple counts of corruption, government reform groups are looking to the remaining politicians at the Capitol for reform. And polls show that the public is with them.

Two more lawmakers, a former Senate Leader and the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate were convicted of corruption in the past week. But Governor Cuomo continues to say it would not be a good idea to call state lawmakers back to the Capitol to enact more ethics reform measures. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous was convicted of lying to the FBI over getting a job for his son in a politically connected law firm. Former Senate Leader John Sampson was found guilty of running a...

Last week, a Siena Research Institute poll reported that 90 percent of New Yorkers thought that government corruption is a serious problem. When 90 percent of New Yorkers agree on anything, it’s amazing. So you’d expect that elected officials would get the message and respond.

alh1/flickr

A legislative session that featured the arrest of both of the top leaders of the legislature on corruption charges, saw no new ethics improvements included in the end of session agreements on a host of measures. One reform group is calling on the Governor and legislature to meet in a special session to address the state’s on going scandals.

While New York’s political class has been focused on Albany as it heads down the homestretch for the 2015 legislative session, the US Supreme Court could have a huge impact on both the state’s policies and politics.

Just Two Weeks Left In Albany

Jun 5, 2015

It’s the second to the last week of the legislative session in Albany, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers still have a long way to go before they can agree on key issues, including renewing New York City’s rent laws and related property tax cap. But, as Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports, some items are off the table.

Democrats in the State Senate are attempting to close a loophole in the state’s campaign finance laws, while a new poll finds New Yorkers want lawmakers to take more steps to quell corruption.

Blair Horner: Flawed Budget And Ethics Deals

Apr 6, 2015

The big news last week was the passage of the new state budget. As has happened all-too-often, the budget was the product of horse trading and negotiations conducted in secret. That’s right, despite the fact that it’s your money, Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed to a $142 billion state budget and approved it in a way that meant that New Yorkers only found out the details after the fact.

Times Union Website Crime Confidential Blog

The New York legislature completed an almost on-time budget, around 3 a.m. on the first day of the state’s fiscal year. One of the final pieces to come together was an ethics reform package, which will provide greater disclosure of lawmaker’s outside income. But critics say it does not go far enough. The ethics changes would deny pensions for lawmakers convicted of serious crimes. The provision requires a constitutional amendment. It would also require proof that legislators are actually in...

In January of this year, then-Speaker of the Assembly Silver was arrested for his alleged abuse of power – using his official position to illegally obtain millions of dollars in outside income. With that arrest as a backdrop, in February Governor Cuomo organized a speech at New York University’s Law School to announce his ethics reform plan. The governor had a number of options for addressing the central problems that contribute to New York’s ethical scandals, including:

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