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Make Ethics Reform a Top End-of-Session Priority
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For Immediate Release,
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Contact:
Brennan Center: Lawrence Norden, 646-292-8326
Citizens Union: Dick Dadey, 917-709-2896
Common Cause: Susan Lerner, 917-670-5670
League of Women Voters of NYS,
Barbara Bartoletti, 518-469-8905
NYPIRG: Blair Horner, 518-727-4506
Reinvent Albany, John Kaehny, 917-941-9865

Reformers Urge Governor Cuomo, Legislative Leaders, Don’t Let Session End without Moving Meaningful Ethics Forward

New York's leading reform organizations today urged Governor Cuomo and the legislative leaders to make ethics reform a top end-of-session priority.  The groups expressed their disappointment that during the last leaders' meeting, ethics reform was not on the list.  They urged the governor to make ethics a top priority, since it was he who promised to cleanup Albany as a central plank of his 2010 candidacy.
 
The groups noted that 10 days after the arrest of then-Assembly Speaker Silver, the governor unveiled a package of ethics reforms in a speech at NYU's School of Law.  Ultimately, a tepid ethics reform package was included in the budget package passed earlier this year. However, since criminal charges were filed against former Senate Majority Leader Skelos on May 4th, the governor has neglected to use his bully pulpit to speak to the need for further and more comprehensive ethics reforms.
 
In their letter to the state's leaders calling for comprehensive reform, the groups argued that "there can be no doubt that the state’s ethics laws are currently inadequate." The groups noted that the most recent criminal complaint identifies, once again:
  1. The problems that arise from allowing elected officials to have outside employment; 
  2. How the state’s LLC “loophole” is used to funnel massive amounts of money by magnifying NY’s already generous campaign contributions in a way that also masks the true identities of the donors; and  
  3. How some individuals apparently circumvent the state’s lobbying disclosure requirements.
 
The groups urged full scale reform, including implementation of the remaining Moreland Commission proposals. They argued that any reform package must include:
  1. strengthening the state ethics watchdogs to bolster their independence and public accountability;
  2. considering limits on lawmakers’ outside employment; 
  3. closing the LLC loophole created by the Board of Elections, and other critical campaign finance reforms; and 
  4. implementing a small donor public financing system for all state elected officials. 
Copyright © 2015 Citizens Union, All rights reserved.


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