Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Ethics

Ethics

  • bdb remarks class

    (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    “In some ways, we are all victims of corruption,” Huguette Labelle told attendees of the Global Cities III conference Thursday morning, giving opening remarks at the two-day event organized by Columbia University’s Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity. The event brings together leaders and ethics officials from major cities across the world, including New York City and Barcelona.

    Labelle was the board chair of Transparency International, a non-governmental organization with the mission of combating

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  • mayor commissioner exec

    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/ Mayoral Photography Office)


    In January, the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a governmental watchdog agency, revealed that it had held a closed-door vote on a potential ethics investigation into a former top aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo. The aide, Joe Percoco, was convicted on federal corruption charges in a highly publicized trial that also laid bare work he had done from his executive chamber office while on leave to work

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    February 7, 2019 - Max & Murphy Podcast: State Senator Alessandra Biaggi

    alessandra biaggi 150Alessandra Biaggi shocked the New York political world when she defeated then-State Senator Jeff Klein in last September's primary. After hitting the ground running upon taking office in January, State Senator Biaggi joined

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  • parker aoc cm

    Senator Parker, left, with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins (photo: @SenatorParker)


    The newly-seated Democratic majority in the state Senate does not seem inclined to take any formal action against one of its members, Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn, for an inappropriate Twitter outburst last month, directed at a Republican Senate staffer, or his apparent misuse of his official parking placard.

    In tweets on December 18, GOP spokesperson Candice Giove had highlighted what seemed to be Parker’s inappropriate use of his parking placard. Parker responded with a

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  • comprehensive reform gov

    (photo via the Governor's Office)


    As the state Legislature returns to session on Wednesday with Democrats in control of both chambers for the first time in a decade, State Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan and Assemblymember Robert Carroll from Brooklyn are set to introduce a resolution that would amend the state constitution, adding new provisions to prevent and combat public corruption.

    The resolution, first introduced late in last year’s

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  • ethics reform announc

    Skelos, Cuomo & Silver in 2011 (photo via the Governor's office)


    This year’s elections in New York saw the issues of public corruption and government ethics reform take centerstage in several campaigns. Insurgent Democratic candidates, some who succeeded and others who did not, challenged incumbent elected officials on their parts in the broken system of corruption prevention and ethics enforcement at the state level that has allowed -- some say encouraged -- rampant corruption and self-enrichment.

    Much criticism has been levelled at the state’s Joint Commission

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  • stephanie miner podcast

    Stephanie Miner (photo: Ben Max/Gotham Gazette)


    She describes herself as a “romantic about government,” but former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner sees a lot wrong with how it is currently being practiced in New York.

    “When I think about what motivates me to be in government, it’s making change and impacting public policy,” Miner said on a recent episode of the Max & Murphy podcast from Gotham Gazette and City Limits, adding

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  • Cuomo State of the State reforms

    Gov. Cuomo at his 2018 State of the State (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor's Office)


    During his 2018 State of the State speech on Wednesday in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo spent little time on government ethics reform, but did address at somewhat greater length his proposals to increase access to the ballot box and change state campaign finance law.

    In sum, the “reform” portion of Cuomo’s remarks were relatively brief, though the governor did expand more on his proposals to change voting, campaign financing,

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  • Mayor de Blasio Chirlane McCray City Hall Reelection Parade

    Mayor Bill de Blasio & First Lady Chirlane McCray (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    As Mayor Bill de Blasio, a first-term Democrat, seeks reelection this fall, a close examination of his record is essential. De Blasio came into power promising to address inequlality in a variety of forms, including income, educational, policing, racial, and opportunity inequities he identified during his 2013 campaign. In this year's election de Blasio is running in part on his record, which is headlined by the

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  • Carl Heastie Assembly

    Carl Heastie (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    When ethics expert Jane Feldman’s departure from the New York State Assembly, and her appraisal of the experience as “as waste of money,” was first reported by the Times Union last week, many saw it as another blow to reform efforts in Albany.

    Feldman ...

  • Mayor de Blasio City Hall

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    This article is part of a series on Mayor de Blasio's first term record as he seeks reelection this fall, in partnership with WNYC radio and City Limits. Find all pieces of the series here.

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  • Cuomo Silver Skelos ethics reform

    (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Albany ended the legislative session without any government ethics reform and without any voting reform. Although there have been fewer arrests for corruption this session than last, no legislator should take this as a sign of improvement. And New York State voters should accept the truth that the Legislature itself will never seriously vote against its members’ self-interest to make progress on ethics or electoral reform.

    The only opportunity for New Yorkers for real reform is on the ballot on November

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  • Cuomo Mujica David budget

    Gov. Cuomo, middle, with two top aides (photo: Philip Kamrass/Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo forgot about government ethics reform. At a press conference Wednesday, the governor explained to reporters that state budget talks had fallen apart over a few core issues. He pointed out with pride, though, that virtually everything he had proposed earlier this year he had gotten the Legislature to agree on, other than two major sticking points related to criminal justice and affordable housing. Cuomo had to be reminded by his budget

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  • gianaris state senate site

    Sen. Gianaris (photo: State Senate)


    New York state government has had no shortage of ethics scandals, but has had a deficiency in active, effective bodies to prevent, punish, and root out bad behavior among elected and appointed officials.

    When the new legislative session began in Albany earlier this month, there was an immediate shake-up of the long-dormant state Senate ethics committee, throwing the always-simmering chamber to a quick boil.

    The Senate ethics committee, as well as a parallel

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  • Keith Wright Governor Cuomo

    Keith Wright, left, & Gov. Cuomo photo: (Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    A Democratic power broker from Harlem has been hired by a prominent lobbying firm to join its efforts to influence city and state government. Formerly state Democratic Party chair and a member of the state Assembly, Keith Wright is joining Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, but under state law he must avoid matters before both chambers of the state Legislature for two years after leaving office.

    Wright, who has been involved in New

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    City Council chambers (Sofie Hecht for Gotham Gazette)


    Hundreds of times a year, City Council members vote on pieces of legislation, including the city’s budget, land use matters, and a wide variety of bills and resolutions. Members almost always vote “yes” or “no.” But sometimes, Council members choose to abstain, actively deciding not to declare they are for or against what is in front of them, and in the 51-seat City Council, abstentions are used by members to widely varying degrees.

    In the New York State Assembly,

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  • cuomo budget mujica

    Gov. Cuomo & his budget director, Robert Mujica (photo: The Governor's Office)


    Gov. Andrew Cuomo appears to have given up on the state Legislature taking action to close the notorious LLC loophole, which allows wealthy donors to subvert campaign finance laws by creating multiple limited liability corporations that can each give more than $60,000 to a candidate’s campaign.

    According to The New York Times, Cuomo said this weekend that it would be up to the public to close the loophole through a constitutional convention.

    In

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  • de blasio prek visit green

    Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday said he would take another look at funding of the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) for the fiscal year 2017 budget. At its March City Council preliminary budget hearing, COIB representatives explained underfunding of the agency resulting in its inability to carry out its mandated training of city employees around conflict of interest rules and its inability to retain employees. They also said that the city’s budget office had denied repeated requests for

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  • cuomo buffalo billion

    Gov. Cuomo in Buffalo (photo via The Governor's Office)


    As U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office issues a storm of subpoenas to the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo and his close associates in relation to the state’s Buffalo Billion economic development program, the governor and his aides have delivered a consistent message: the investigation targets the dealings of a few bad apples, the governor wasn’t aware of any wrongdoing and he wants to get to the bottom of the situation as quickly as possible.

    “I’ve said to all my people, and I’ve said to

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  • vance de blasio bratton presser

    Cy Vance (front) and Bill de Blasio (photo via The Mayor's Office on flickr)


    Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance finds himself in a unique situation as he takes on the investigation of efforts led by Mayor Bill de Blasio to win control of the state Senate for Democrats in 2014.

    Vance has a longstanding political relationship with de Blasio and both share a number of donors. Like de Blasio, Vance is an elected Democrat. They’ve stood together for several policy announcements over the past two-plus years since de Blasio took office as

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  • de blasio podium

    De Blasio (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The revelation that it was Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chosen enforcement counsel at the Board of Elections who sparked an investigation into Mayor BIll de Blasio’s fundraising activities, in the mayor’s 2014 effort to flip control of the state Senate, has raised a number of questions about motivation and independence.

    De Blasio has asserted his innocence, saying that he and his associates followed the letter of the law. He and his lawyer have used Risa Sugarman, the BOE enforcement counsel who used

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  • cuomo desk legislation signing

    Cuomo signs legislation (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    In terms of the state’s nearly $150 billion budget, $1 million isn’t a lot of money. But for reform advocates the $1 million Gov. Andrew Cuomo had committed in his executive budget plan for a commission to prepare for a constitutional convention was both functionally and symbolically crucial to their belief that the governor and the Legislature would actually commit to reforming state government - or at least giving “the people” an opportunity to do so.

    The funding

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  • BdB speech arm reaching

    De Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    News recently broke of a long-running federal corruption investigation involving two businesspeople with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, including to a much-criticized nonprofit group established to push the mayor’s agenda. The wide-ranging investigation, which also involves high-ranking NYPD officials, has again placed a spotlight on the mayor’s fund-raising and his relationships with donors, especially those with business before the city, as allegations of a pay-to-play culture

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  • cuomo budget paid leave pic

    Gov. Cuomo announces the budget deal (photo via The Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea of extending state government's legislative session this year to tackle ethics reform during an appearance in Binghamton on Wednesday. "We have a relatively light agenda because we did so much work in the budget," the governor said. "We passed the minimum wage increase, we passed paid family leave, we passed a great package for the middle class, we passed a great package for upstate New York, more education

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  • three men at a table

    Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan (l-r) (photo via The Governor's Office)


    "Top of my agenda is going to be ethics reform," said Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaking on NY1 on Jan. 3. "We have done a lot in Albany, but we haven't done enough. And I'm going to push the legislature very hard to adopt more aggressive ethics legislation, more disclosure, more enforcement, etcetera."

    While the governor

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