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Report Highlights Needed Reforms to Toughen Enforcement of State’s Ethics Laws And Improve Public Trust
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For Immediate Release,
Monday, November 2, 2015
Contact:
Dick Dadey, 917-709-2896
Chelsea Schuster, 561-843-0197

CITIZENS UNION WELCOMES NEW YORK ETHICS REVIEW COMMISSION’S REPORT

HIGHLIGHTS NEEDED REFORMS TO TOUGHEN ENFORCEMENT OF STATE’S ETHICS LAWS AND IMPROVE PUBLIC TRUST



 

On the Day Former Assembly Speaker’s Trial Begins, Recommendations Ring True on Why Oversight and Enforcement of State’s Public Ethics Need to Be Strengthened
 

 

Statement by Dick Dadey, Executive Director

Citizens Union applauds the New York Ethics Review Commission for its delivery of a reflective report on the state of New York’s ethics oversight system and points out the coincidence of its release on the day former Speaker Sheldon Silver’s trail begins on federal corruption charges.

The Ethics Review Commission conducted an evaluation of the current system of oversight and produced some needed recommendations to improve the roles and work of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and the Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC). It is now the responsibility of the governor, state legislature, and JCOPE to act on these recommendations.

Citizens Union was engaged in the creation of JCOPE in 2011 and has been a vocal advocate for many of the recommendations put forth by the Ethics Review Commission, such as: requiring a simple majority of JCOPE commissioners votes regarding whether to conduct substantial basis reports and investigations, and to publish such tallies; establishing internal governance and hiring policies, to be published on its website; and improving the website and technology used to collect and report on lobbying activities, including eliminating the current practice of submitting duplicate and triplicate filings. At the very least, these reforms cry out for attention and enactment because New Yorkers want to know that the crime wave of corruption in Albany is being addressed with stronger action by the state.

The Ethics Review Commission members were tasked with issuing their report in an unimaginably truncated period of time – 5 months. Though the Commission was overdue in its appointment (the original legislation creating JCOPE called for its formation in June 2014 and a report released by March 2015) Citizens Union is particularly appreciative of the commission members’ dedication to concluding its work by the updated deadline of November 1st, and producing its well-documented report.

All that is now needed is for JCOPE, the governor and the legislature to seize upon these recommendations and enact them as soon as possible.  New Yorkers only need to look at the two trials of Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to know why these recommendations need immediate action.
Copyright © 2015 Citizens Union, All rights reserved.


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