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'Call a Moreland Commission and let god sort 'em out'--that seems to be the attitude of Gov. Andrew Cuomo when it comes to dealing with corruption in the legislature.
But John Kaheny of transparency-focused Reinvent Albany says there are some very obvious improvements that could be made to fight corruption right now, without even having to invoke the Moreland Act.
"There are huge opportunities to use technology to radically increase transparency and understanding of the various state spending that serve as quid pro quos," said Kaheny.
For one Kaheny says Cuomo could, "Put all discretionary fund requests, appropriations, and action online in an easy to understand dashboard like Recovery.gov."
Despite the many scandals involving legislators using state discretionary funds to enrich themselves there is no comprehensive list of projects with the names of their political sponor's attached.
Secondly Kaheny suggests insuring that all unspent member items go through a screening process to ensure, "recipients are 100 percent compliant with New York State and IRS tax filings and rules."
Another way to increase transparency on legislative spending would be to better utilize the Statewide Financial System, (an online database that tracks state spending) to allow the public to see who gets what. "The Statewide Financial System has check-level outputs that could be exposed to the public by the executive or comptroller and be combined with political and charitable databases to show who is getting what in a very detailed way," said Kaheny. "The tech is fairly straightforward and not particularly expensive."
State Government Editor of The Gotham Gazette