New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today his support for important ethics and campaign finance changes proposed by Common Cause New York and other public interest allies in the wake of the arrest of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Governor Cuomo endorsed five key reforms:
- Total disclosure of outside income of legislators, including who is paying the legislator, what the payment is for, and what connections it has to legislature/government business
- A constitutional amendment that requires public officials convicted of corruption to forfeit their public pensions
- Require legislative per diems be used only for actual or necessary cost, or have fixed amount maximums a legislator may receive
- Require campaign funds be used only for campaigning and not for personal use
- Update campaign finance laws and enact the strongest campaign finance disclosure laws in the nation, including public financing of elections, closing LLC and housekeeping account loopholes, and increased frequency and detail of Independent Expenditure Committee filings
Governor Cuomo also announced that he will not sign a budget unless it has a strong ethics plan in it, urging lawmakers that their public service is an honor and a privilege, and such ethics reforms are a sacrifice they must make.
In response, Common Cause New York Executive Director Susan Lerner said, “We are pleased to see the Governor advocating for many of the common sense suggestions on ethics reforms that we have recommended. We look forward to working with the Governor and both houses of the Legislature to fill in the details of these urgent ethics, income disclosure and campaign finance reform proposals so that the resulting laws are robust and effective. These proposals must be fully debated and passed this session without fail.
While Governor Cuomo has made promises before, Common Cause New York members will be sure to hold the governor accountable to these promises because New Yorkers can’t wait any longer for the open and accountable government they deserve.