It’s getting down to the wire for major pieces of legislation as the end of session approaches in Albany, including women’s rights and campaign finance reform. There are no agreements yet, but as Karen DeWitt reports, that’s not unusual in a government that operates on last minute deals.
This Commentator had decided to devote his essay for today to the two documents which have hung above the desk in his work space, since they were awarded to him, by then Governor Mario M. Cuomo, for his participation and help in achieving major ethics legislation in New York State, on August 7th, 1987. He was going to note how time and trials had wrought changes, which made these documents less important mementos of prior, experience and would then, perhaps, look forward to another time, for yet another, more important change. This might even surpass what was then achieved, to legislate even more important advances in governmental ethics. Alas, it now appears that this will not occur.
Anti-corruption proposals are proliferating in Albany, following two high-profile bribery scandals. Some of them focus on the long-neglected State Board of Elections, which hasn’t even had an investigator on staff in over a year.
The State Board of Elections is supposed to make sure that elections run smoothly and that all the rules, including the campaign financing laws, are followed by candidates and their donors.
Government reform groups say they are pleased that New York Governor Cuomo has now proposed step one in his plan to clean up corruption in state government, following two high profile arrests of state lawmakers.
Barbara Bartoletti, with the League of Women Voters, says the governor’s proposal to give the state’s district attorneys more power to investigate and prosecute bribery cases is a good first step toward systematic reform.
New York Governor Cuomo and the state’s district attorneys are pushing for laws to make it easier to prosecute bribery and public corruption cases, in the wake of recent scandals in Albany.
The bills would make it easier for the state’s DA’s to prosecute cases of bribery, and politicians and others involved in bribery schemes. It would also create a new crime of failure to report bribery. Anyone who does not blow the whistle if they discover potential corruption could be charged with a misdemeanor.
The latest round of financial disclosure forms from members of the New York State Legislature will be the last, before a new law begins that aims to open up even further the information the public and the press can view about the outside business dealings of state lawmakers.
The head of the state ethics commission, Janet DiFiore, says she has “done nothing wrong”, after allegations she used her influence as Westchester County DA to obtain welfare benefits for her maid. DiFiore spoke after a lengthy closed door session of the ethics commission. Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt reports…
On the heels of former New York State Senate leader Pedro Espada’s conviction, the state’s ethics commission is pursuing a complaint against one of Albany’s most prominent lawmakers. WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...
From the outset of this anomalous experiment in government of, for and by its people, vocabulary has been an essential ingredient; the distillate of how things are accomplished. Out of its need, grew the absolutely necessary First Constitutional Amendment that ensured freedom of expression. Today, that freedom is an endangered species. An explicit word, once a cornerstone of the experiment, has been banned. The word is: “ETHICS.” As an act of civil disobedience, this commentator will now repeat it: