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Cuomo Threatens Nuclear Option on Ethics
May 11th, 2011

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is laying down the law on ethics reform today. He released a video scolding the legislature for not moving on ethics legislation and when asked said he would empanel a “Moreland Commission” to investigate corruption in both houses of the legislature if no bill is passed by the end of session. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said last month that he had a deal on ethics reform with Cuomo but the Senate was not on board. It isn’t clear if that is the current situation. Cuomo told reporters:

“I said to the people of the state, If you elect me, we will clean up Albany. There are two ways to do that: One is, the Legislature passes ethics reform; if the Legislature does not pass meaningful ethics reform, and we end this Legislative session and there has been no ethics reform legislation passed, and then the people of the state of New York are looking at yet another year where nothing happened, another year when everyone came and said I support ethics reform I really really do, I support it, and nothing happens, and you have a new governor who came and said Im going to get ethics reform done, and nothing happens, that is avoidable, and that would be, I believe, a total failure of elected service in this state. So if they dont pass ethics reform which I dont believe is going to happen, but if that happened then I would appoint a Moreland Commission.

Here is the transcript of Cuomo’s video statement:

“The New York State government – it was at one time the best in the nation. Our capitol was a national symbol of integrity and performance. We led the way and other states followed our example. We lost that standard and I ran for governor of New York to get it back – to clean up Albany, to get our government working and to get our economy running once again.

But if we are to move forward as a state we need to repair the relationship between our citizens and our state government. The foundation of that relationship is trust. Albany has done much to erode that trust over the recent years. Scandal after scandal. Corrupt politician after corrupt politician. I know how bad it is. As Attorney General I fought the corruption, and I put guilty officials and politicians in jail. Now, I want to reform the system to prevent the corruption from happening in the first place.

To clean up the government and restore trust we need to pass a new ethics law that mandates transparency and full disclosure. No more secrets. People need to see their government in the light of a new day if they are going to trust once again. We also need a real independent monitor, because the legislatures so called, self policing, obviously, hasn’t worked. Our state legislature is by our constitution a part time legislature. Meaning they have other jobs and occupations. That’s the law. But the question is whether there is a conflict of interest with their other jobs and clients and that we can only know if they will disclose who they are.

I wear a pin that says “I work for the people. The question is, who do your legislators work for. You have a right to know.

I want sweeping ethics reform that will require disclosure of clients that legislators represent before the state; and disclosure of how much they get paid. Not surprisingly, the legislature doesn’t want to pass real ethics reform. It will take the people of this state to speak up and insist.

Democracy works when the people make their voice heard. Its your government. Take control. Tell your legislators to pass ethics reform and pass it this year. Let’s make New York State government one that we can be proud of once again. Its time the people of the Empire State strike back and tell their politicians that enough is enough its time to clean up Albany. Together we will do just that.”

By on May 11, 2011, 1:42 pm
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