Ethics Measures Stall in Albany Despite Corruption Convictions

July 18, 2018. With the wave of unprecedented public corruption scandals and criminal convictions in New York State government, it would make sense for a wave of accountability and ethics reform to follow. That is not the case. Governor Cuomo and legislators have failed to adopt any of the ethics reforms called for by government watchdog groups, including toughening oversight of state contracts, eliminating a loophole that allows companies to ignore campaign-contribution limits, and appointing an independent monitor for ethics and election laws. With the recent convictions of ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former SUNY Polytechnic Alain Kaloyeros hovering over state government’s heads, government watchdog groups continue to be concerned and wondering when government leaders will take action.

“One has to wonder: What is the breaking point here in New York?” Ron Deutsch, of the labor-backed Fiscal Policy Institute, said. “How many scandals, how many indictments, how many convictions do we have to get before we get any real reforms?”

His group has pushed for increased oversight of state contracts — which Cuomo loosened in 2011 in the name of reducing red tape, he said then — and a ban on political contributions from a company that wins state grants and contracts. Advocacy groups also have criticized the state ethics commission’s lack of independence and called for reining in companies’ ability to make campaign contributions.

Here is the link to Newsday.

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