Albany – Yesterday, bipartisan legislation was introduced in both houses of the state legislature to reform ethics and campaign finance law. The legislation, announced jointly by Senate Majority Conference Leader John Sampson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, would create an autonomous body to monitor legislative ethics as well as a unit within the state’s Board of Elections to enforce strengthened campaign finance rules. If enacted, the proposed reforms would begin taking effect on July 31, 2010.
Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee, proclaimed, “I am proud to have played a role in crafting this legislation, which will help clean up Albany. These sweeping campaign finance reforms will create stiffer penalties for violators and bring much-needed transparency to the electoral process. These reforms are our first step towards regaining the public’s trust.”
The ethics and campaign finance reform also requires:
- Information regarding the sources of legislators’ outside income
- Full disclosure from registered lobbyists
- Increased and additional penalties for violating campaign finance law
- Expanded jurisdiction of the newly created Board of Elections enforcement unit
- Greater transparency of campaign finance information
- An additional filing during the legislative session
- All votes by Board of Elections Commissioners to stop an investigation or act on recommendations of the enforcement counsel be made public.