Although the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 passed the state Assembly yesterday, Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R-C Chautauqua) stressed that the bill is just the beginning of the process to restore the public’s faith and trust in state government.
“I voted for the ethics reform bill because it increased the disclosure requirements for public officials, provided for the forfeiture of a public pension for a person convicted of a felony related to their official duties, and increased the regulation of lobbyists,” said Mr. Goodell. “These are important ethics reforms.”
It is particularly galling to taxpayers when an elected official is convicted of a felony in connection with his office, but gets to keep a generous pension. In a sense, the official has betrayed the taxpayers and is still rewarded by a handsome pension. This ethics bill addresses that situation and allows a judge to revoke the pension following a felony conviction.
Mr. Goodell emphasized that more ethics work needs to be done. “Unfortunately, this ethics bill does not contain the overarching restrictions on campaign donations that are critical to ending the ‘pay-to-play’ culture in Albany, where lobbyists and special interests make generous campaign contributions to key legislators in order to ‘grease the wheels’ and help ensure the passage of their pet legislation.”
“I strongly support ethics reform to prohibit campaign contributions from special interests that have legislation pending before the Legislature,” said Mr. Goodell. “We need to put a stop to this corrupt, conflict-of-interest situation. I look forward to building on the framework of the new ethics law to bring true accountability to all New Yorkers.”
Mr. Goodell concluded by noting that progress was being made by the new class of Assembly members, set out to change operations in Albany.
“From passing an on-time budget without new taxes to adopting new ethics legislation, we are slowly changing the way Albany does business,” said Mr. Goodell.