On Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo and Speaker Heastie announced that they have reached an agreement on “groundbreaking” ethics reforms. Gov. Cuomo said that the proposal is an “unprecedented” effort to rein in Albany corruption.
The Senate is not a party to the agreement, and the sense is that this agreement was announced in order to pressure the Senate into agreeing to ethics reform.
The agreement covers the five topics that Gov. Cuomo said would be linked to his approval of the state budget:
- Lawmakers would be required to disclose all outside earned income they receive, from whom they receive it, and the actual services they performed in exchange for the income;
- Approval of a constitutional amendment to apply the state’s pension forfeiture law to all public officials who are convicted of public corruption;
- Reform of the legislative per diem system;
- Strengthening the ban on the personal use of campaign funds by including a specific list of prohibited uses of such funds; and
- Greater disclosure of independent campaign expenditures.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said that his conference believes that nay ethics reforms should also apply to the Executive Branch as well as the Legislature.
Good-government groups said that while the agreement is a step forward, it does not go far enough. They want hard limits on lawmaker’s outside earnings, the LLC loophole to be closed, and the better enforcement from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE).