While the new ethics legislation is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough. This bill is especially timely considering the ethical missteps of some elected officials in recent years. Still, we missed an opportunity to get this right. New York’s taxpayers deserve to know that their elected officials are working for them and not being influenced by outside income paid to them by special interests.
This bill does call for more fair and balanced practices regarding ethical investigations, but there are still many gaping holes related to gifts, pension forfeiture, and financial disclosure. There should have been more sunlight in this discussion rather than forging a bill with three men in the back room. Transparency and accountability must be re-established in order to regain the public’s trust in their government.
This legislation does, however, make more information available to voters, journalists and watchdog groups. Hopefully, the brighter spotlight on public officials and lobbyists will help to deter future unethical behavior which has plagued Albany for far too long.