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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Citizens Union
 

Ethics Reform

Ethics Reform

  • heastie inauguration

    Carl Heastie (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    In a major departure from his predecessor, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie publicly laid out his conference's proposals for government ethics reform during a wide-ranging speech and interview Friday morning. At a breakfast event hosted by Crain's New York Business, Heastie explained the proposals for preventing government corruption that will be contained in the Assembly's one-house budget, the release of which is key to intensifying negotiations with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority

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  • bharara

    Preet Bharara (photo: Buck Ennis)


    Asked how he can spur legislators to enact major ethics reforms during his visit to Albany on Monday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said he has a "particularly blunt incentive...the avoidance of prison." The reminder from Bharara comes as legislative leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are quietly discussing possible ethics reforms behind closed doors--reforms none of them have appeared interested in discussing publicly since Cuomo outlined his platform in his State of the State address last month.

    Speaking before a captive audience, Bharara

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  • teachout fracktivists

    Zephyr Teachout, in yellow, with "fractivists" (photo: @zephyrteachout)


    In her zeal to attach herself to Barack Obama at the recent Democratic debate in Charleston, Hillary Clinton at one point issued a somewhat unexpected line of attack. In advance of the 2012 campaign, Clinton charged, Bernie Sanders had "publicly sought someone to run in a primary against President Obama." 

    There's no disputing that Sanders did in fact express such a position, based on his concern that Obama was moving to the right during his first term. But during

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  • cuomo church sots

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


    Governor Cuomo is going big. Decrying a state that has lost its ambition for transformative projects like the Erie Canal, the governor has spent the past week traveling the state and announcing major infrastructure, transportation, and economic development plans. Cuomo has also revealed new pieces of his $15 minimum wage campaign and criminal justice reform policies, among others, as he sets his agenda for 2016 and frames budget negotiations in Albany.

    So far, Cuomo has outlined 14

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  • kolb malliotakis

    Assembly Minority Leader Kolb and colleagues (photo via @NMalliotakis)


    A majority of Democrats in the New York State Assembly voted down a series of 13 rules changes proposed by their Republican counterparts designed to make the chamber more equitable and allow members of the minority to get their bills to a vote.

    While a push for rules changes led by Republican Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and their defeat by Assembly Democrats has become an annual Albany

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  • cuomo parade banner

    The governor's office, on the march (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    The 2011 law that created the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) to be the top ethics watchdog in the state contained a proviso that the body would be periodically reviewed to find ways to improve its functioning. That mandate fell upon the New York Ethics Review Commission, more commonly known as the JCOPE review commission, which held its first-ever public hearing on Wednesday at New York Law School in downtown Manhattan.

    The forum was sparsely attended with barely 20 people

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  • BdB parade august

    Mayor de Blasio along the parade route (photo: @BilldeBlasio)


    What should the mayor of New York City be paid each year? How much should City Council members be paid? Do elected officials deserve incremental raises each year?

    Or, maybe elected officials are overpaid as it is?

    Some, like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, think higher government salaries would entice “better” people into public service, meaning smarter and more honest officials.

    A host of questions have

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  • Cuomo Heastie Flanagan

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (L-R) (photo: Governor's Office via flickr)


    In the Democrat-controlled Assembly, it was 122-13; in the Republican-controlled Senate, 47-12. With those votes and a Governor Andrew Cuomo signature, a final policy package brought an underwhelming end to a tumultuous 2015 legislative session in New York's capital. 

    Look at ...

  • AG

    AG Schneiderman (photo via AG's flickr account)


    Scandal fatigue hit Attorney General Eric Schneiderman differently than it hit Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the state legislature.

    Conventional wisdom is that the arrest and indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver earlier this year sent shockwaves through Albany. And yet as far as ethics reforms go, the result of the indictment of the man many saw as the most powerful man in "the room," a man who controlled the Assembly for over two decades, was

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  • Cuomo Nolan

    Gov. Cuomo & AM Nolan shake on an ethics deal (photo: the Governor's Office via flickr)


    The arrest of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was supposed to spark the moment for true reform in Albany. It felt to many a simultaneously shocking and galvanizing event, strong enough to splinter, if not destroy the dam, allowing the flow of real discussion about regulating lawyer-legislators, loopholes allowing unlimited LLC donations to candidates, and conflicts of interest. It was a time for bold

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  • heastie

    Assembly Speaker Heastie (photo: Karen DeWitt)


    Legislative leaders from both houses appear set to test Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s promise that he will sacrifice an on-time budget to get a set of ethics reforms he laid out in February, not long after the arrest of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on corruption charges.

    Last week, the State Senate and State Assembly each passed its one-house budget, marking stark differences from the governor and from each

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  • Schneiderman
    AG Schneiderman speaking Monday night (photo: Ben Max)


    NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday inserted himself squarely in the debate on ethics reforms by proposing a slate of measures that would tackle the culture of corruption in Albany.

    "Corruption has been a feature of government in the Empire State for a long time," said Schneiderman at a forum hosted at New York Law School by good government group Citizens Union. Speaking to an auditorium of about 200 people and others watching a livestream, the

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