CONVICTION OF SILVER TURNING POINT IN ALBANY, GOP ETHICS REFORMS WAITING ON DECK

            “The conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on all seven counts yesterday signals a shift in the way business is done in Albany. Corruption and quid pro quos have been an unfortunate reality of New York’s culture for decades, and Silver’s conviction may be the beginning of the end of tolerating these types of abuses. For years, members of the Assembly Majority blindly re-elected Silver as Speaker and voted yes on his hand-picked legislation in exchange for campaign donations, district pet projects and political protection. My hope is that the powerful, entrenched autocrats who once controlled the state’s political process are a thing of the past and the Assembly finally embraces real ethics reform.

            “The Assembly Minority Conference has led the charge on meaningful ethics reform for years. While others, including the governor, have touted watered-down reforms and passed useless one-house bills, we are the only conference to champion the strongest anti-corruption package in state history. The Public Officers Accountability Act would restrict campaign spending, make it a crime for failing to report corruption, and institute term limits for legislative leaders. Furthermore, we have introduced a bill that would strip corrupt public officials of their pension and retirement benefits. Unfortunately, both of these bills were defeated in committee by the Assembly Majority. Unless true ethics reforms are passed in Albany, we run the risk of further corruption as we have seen far too often over the past several years.”

 

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