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Gotham Gazette

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Citizens Union
 

Ethics Reform

Ethics Reform

  • senatechamberalbany2

    (Photo via Wiki Commons)


    Statewide elected officials, legislators and agency heads are slated to get pay raises next year following recommendations issued Thursday by a four-member panel that was created in this year’s state budget.

    The New York State Compensation Committee voted on Thursday to raise the salaries of legislators for the first time in nearly twenty years, as well as for the four statewide offices and for executive agency commissioners. The committee will publicly release a report and deliver it to Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature on Monday

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  • mnn agenda ep2

    (photo: @MNN59)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    mnn59 agenda ep2As part of Agenda 2019, the project from Gotham Gazette and City Limits, hosts Ben Max and Jarrett Murphy were joined on Manhattan Neighborhood Network by State Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, and Susan Lerner, executive

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  • Cuomo democracy protection

    Gov. Cuomo signs legislation (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    The 2018 election cycle in New York laid bare the myriad failings of the state’s political system that advocates and reform-minded elected officials have long recognized. Several candidates, many in it for the first time, ran competitive races on the backs of small dollar donors while

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  • flanagan via nysenate

    Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and colleagues (photo: @nysenate)


    The Republican-led New York State Senate, which for years had a collaborative working relationship with Governor Andrew Cuomo, passed a slew of government transparency and accountability bills on Wednesday that further highlighted the GOP majority’s recent split with the governor.

    The package of 11 bills, covering everything from campaign contributions to state contracting processes, made its way through the chamber and was sent for approval to the Assembly, which is controlled

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  • marc molinaro speaking

    Marc Molinaro (photo: @marcmolinaro)


    When he formally launched his run for governor earlier this month, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said that “all New Yorkers are paying a corruption tax.” It is a tax, Molinaro explained, that is the result of both legal and illegal malfeasance, of wasteful, ineffective, and corrupt government. In his initial remarks that day, at events in Tivoli and Albany, and during multiple exchanges with journalists, Molinaro has outlined elements of a reform agenda that, he says, will help restore faith in government

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  • Cuomo Long Island flag

    (photo: The Governor's Office)


    New York’s leading government reform groups reacted to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State agenda on Thursday in Albany, holding a press conference to urge the governor and legislative leaders to adopt a package of reforms to help restore public confidence in state government.

    Despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that Cuomo failed to pass any of the reforms he promised in the wake of the alleged bid-rigging schemes associated with his signature economic development programs, government ethics

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  • ag schneiderman via schneiderman

    AG Eric Schneiderman (photo: @Schneiderman)


    New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has quickly become one of President Donald Trump’s leading opponents, using the levers of his office to litigate against Trump’s policies, and has put New York at the forefront of efforts to resist the new Republican administration’s agenda.

    Speaking at a Tuesday breakfast event hosted by the Association For A Better New York (ABNY), Schneiderman, a second-term Democrat, discussed his role in the Trump era, which has made his focus

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  • rob ortt

    State Sen. Rob Ortt (photo: @SenatorOrtt)


    Corruption charges brought against a member of the state Senate Republican majority Wednesday have provided an opportunity for Democrats to jumpstart the seemingly dormant conversation on government ethics as state budget negotiations enter their final week.

    Senator Rob Ortt, of Niagara County, pleaded not guilty in Albany County Court Thursday morning, following his indictment on three felony counts of filing a false instrument, ...

  • Cuomo policy book Albany

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office, flickr)


    For the second year in a row, in his January State of the State, Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out an ambitious ethics reform agenda that touched on a variety of issues and aimed at restoring public trust in New York State’s scandal-plagued government. But, also for a second year in a row, Cuomo has not followed up with any discernible public push to rally support for that

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  • heastie cuomo flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    In one-house budgets passed this week, the state Legislature showed little evidence that new government ethics, voting, and campaign finance reform measures will be passed in Albany any time soon. This, despite persistent issues with public corruption, antiquated election laws, and the ongoing ability for wealthy interests to donate virtually unlimited sums to politicians.

    Through his January State of the State tour, 2017 policy book, and executive budget, Governor

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  • silver skelos cuomo sampson

    Sheldon Silver & others in 2011 (photo: The Governor's Office)


    This November, New York voters will get to decide whether state officials who are convicted of public corruption can be stripped of their pensions.

    A government ethics reform bill, jointly passed by the state Legislature Monday for a second time, amends the state constitution and allows the state to reduce or revoke the pension of a public officer that has been convicted of a crime related to his or her official duties.

    Under the measure, a public officer convicted of a crime

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  • Cuomo State of the State Excelsior booklet

    Gov. Cuomo (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo concluded his three-day, six-stop State of the State tour in Albany Wednesday, though not at the State Capitol, where he and previous governors have typically held a single event. In contrast to previous addresses, most state legislators were not in attendance to hear the governor lay out his agenda for the year.

    Throughout the week, Cuomo released 35 proposals, many of them aimed at lifting the middle class, including tuition-free city and state college for

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  • al smith dinner 1

    The 2016 Al Smith Dinner


    Public trust in Washington began diminishing under President Lyndon Johnson over the course of the 1964 presidential election and the escalation of war in Vietnam. Watergate ushered in a new era of distrust in government in the United States as the country’s top elected office was compromised. By 1974, public trust in government dipped below 40 percent for the first time since such records had been kept. 

    As with

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  • Kaminsky1

    Sen. Todd Kaminsky, the author (photo: @toddkaminsky)


    The headline is the same. The names are interchangeable.

    And yet, the laws and attitudes stay the same.

    The most recent indictment of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto should serve as a wakeup call to elected officials and taxpayers alike. The corruption within our governments is pervasive and isn’t going anywhere until we implement comprehensive ethics reform. No one is above the law.

    Having put away both corrupt Democrats and Republicans as a former

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  • AD65 panel Li mic

    AD65 candidates at a debate (photo: @FilAmDems)


    In a world where U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hadn’t turned his eye toward public corruption in state government, Sheldon Silver would likely be running for his 21st term in the Assembly and easily extending by another two years his 40-year reign over Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District.

    In the real world, Silver, who had already resigned the powerful Assembly speakership he held for almost 20 years, was automatically stripped of

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  • Cuomo 2016 State of the State side stage

    Gov. Cuomo (photo via The Governor's Office on Flickr)


    Can legal restrictions halt corruption in the state Legislature? History suggests that they are necessary but limited.

    A new ethics law, more of the same
    Several state legislators have been charged with corrupt practices in recent years and the leaders of both houses of the Legislature found guilty of violating federal laws. Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos are headed to prison unless their appeals succeed. The

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  • mario cuomo campaign for economic justice bus capitol

    photos via The Governor's Office on Flickr


    Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo successfully advocated for the passage of a $15 minimum wage plan with the help of major labor unions and a nonprofit they created called The Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice. Teaming with 1199-SEIU, the health care workers union, and 32BJ-SEIU, the buildings workers union, Cuomo made campaign stops in an RV paid for by the nonprofit, which was funded largely by unions.

    In a complicated confluence of relationships,

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  • cuomo state of the state ethics podium

    Gov. Cuomo during his 2016 State of the State (via The Governor's Office)


    After nearly two months, Governor Andrew Cuomo requested on Friday that the Legislature send him an ethics reform package he personally designed and pushed the Legislature to pass in June with the assistance of a message of necessity he issued to speed the process. The governor now has 10 days to sign it, which he is expected to do.

    Announced by Cuomo late in the legislative session, the actual bill was then a mystery for days before being

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  • capitol building rally

    The Capitol Building (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders finished protracted and messy end-of-session negotiations on Friday night -- one day after the scheduled end of legislative session -- not with the traditional celebratory press conference, but with a series of press releases. Sent to reporters as bills were still being negotiated, printed, and voted upon Friday night, Cuomo’s public schedule for Saturday put him in the New York City area with no events.

    A press release

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  • hall cuomo address

    photo via The Governor's Office


    After spending most of what was scheduled to be the last day of legislative session in stop-and-start negotiations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders appeared on Thursday to reach a framework deal on several big-ticket items, though legislators will continue to negotiate, debate, and vote on Friday.

    After a few issues had been decided on Wednesday, concept agreements emerged Thursday on the process of stripping corrupt lawmakers of their pensions; extending mayoral control of New York City schools for

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  • albany leaders cuomo heastie flanagan et al

    Albany leaders (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    The pace has picked up dramatically in Albany, where lawmakers had avoided any major legislative decisions since passing the budget in April. With three days left in session, dozens upon dozens of bills are being introduced, amended, and passed at a fever pace. And while a couple of deals among the governor and legislative leaders have been announced on somewhat high-profile matters, thornier issues still remain unsettled and many bills are likely to only

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  • cuomo fordham law ethics speech

    Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin, Governor's Office)


    Last year, with ten days remaining in legislative session and confronted with a major ethics reform proposal from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters, "Let me make this as a blanket statement: It is late in the day for anything.”

    On Wednesday, with only four days remaining of this

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  • cuomo silver et al 2013

    Silver, Cuomo, and others (photo via The Governor's Office, 2013)


    Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was perceived by many to be an institution of state government. Having served at the head of the Democrat-controlled Assembly for over a decade, Silver’s rule was iron-fisted and opaque - he could end a political career on a whim, kill a major policy initiative with a quiet grumble, and maneuver millions of dollars in state cash to recipients of his choice.

    That all ended last year when Silver was indicted by the U.S. Attorney on multiple

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  • kaminsky voting april 2016

    Todd Kaminsky votes for himself Tuesday (photo via @toddkaminsky)


    The polls may be closed but the heated race to replace convicted former Republican Senator Dean Skelos is far from over. Late Tuesday night Assemblymember Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat, declared victory while Republican candidate Chris McGrath refused to concede, saying the race would be decided by absentee ballots. Only 780 votes separate Kaminsky from McGrath and there are over 2,000 outstanding ballots to be counted. Regardless of the results the pair may face off again in November when the

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  • albany

    Rally in the capital


    For the past two weeks state legislators have been preoccupied by the New York presidential primary. They’ve been charmed by candidates like Hillary Clinton and John Kasich who’ve come to the capital to pitch their campaigns and ask for support; and by Donald Trump and Ted Cruz who’ve invited them to attend large rallies.

    Legislators have been so distracted that the first two weeks of post-budget session have slipped by without much real legislative action, despite the fact that there is a long list of high-profile issues unsettled in the budget.

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