The Brennan Center for Justice hailed the agreement announced today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders on overhauling ethics oversight and enforcement in Albany as a long-awaited first step to reforming state government.
The proposed legislation will create a unified ethics commission to conduct investigations of all executive and legislative branch officials and lobbyists. The agreement also calls for meaningful disclosure of outside income for all public officials, including officials who hold part-time jobs as attorneys or business consultants, closing yawning loopholes in New York’s laws that have long been abused.
The following statement can be attributed to Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center:
"The Brennan Center applauds the Governor and the Legislature for reaching this important agreement to bring needed reform to the state’s ethics laws. Among many positive changes, the agreement announced today will bring unprecedented transparency to Albany, including much fuller disclosure of public officials’ outside income. Loopholes in existing laws in this area have been abused by some unethical officials. We are especially pleased that these gaps will be closed.
"We look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to help put this proposed legislation on the books, and we encourage full public hearings on the proposal as soon as possible, so that experts and the public can review and comment on the legislation.
“Today’s agreement lays the foundation for the renewal of New York’s government. We look forward to working just as hard with Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders on the next crucial elements in changing Albany: rebuilding our campaign finance system and establishing a voluntary public funding system to end the domination of New York politics by special interests.”
For more information or speak to Brennan Center attorneys on these issues, please contact Andrew Goldston, 646.292.8372.