Ethics Reform Agreement Does Not Go Far Enough

January 25, 2007
“As a long time advocate for ethics reform in state government, I am pleased we were able to come to an agreement on this important issue. Many of the initiatives agreed upon are based on ideas the Assembly Minority has fought for, and I am happy they will be enacted into law.

Reforms in the agreement include prohibiting legislators from accepting gifts of more than nominal value from lobbyists, prohibiting non-legislative employees to compel employees to make political contributions, preventing the candidacy of agency heads for a paid elected office, prohibiting candidates and elected officials from appearing in taxpayer funded ads and creating a new thirteen-member state commission on public integrity.

While these are all great reforms, they are not enough. There are a number of critical initiatives that should have been included in this agreement, including prohibiting convicted felons from collecting their state pensions. Ethics reforms like these will make New York state government more accountable; something this state needs.

This is one issue that should have been incorporated into the agreement and I am disappointed it was not. While I am glad we were able to come to an agreement and provide ethics reform, I hope we will consider including important measures that promote accountability in future ethics reform deliberations.”