The challenge for Albany reformers is that the most important reforms are almost impossible to win because they are perceived by the powers that be as an existential threat. In the last five years, major pushes for the creation of a statewide small donor matching program like New York City’s and for a less politicized redistricting process have failed.
In the aftermath of Sheldon Silver’s arrest, reform groups and editorial boards are trying to determine what changes to the law and legislative rules are both winnable and will actually help create more honest government. This weekend, the Times editorial board weighed in with their three favorite fixes:
1. Cap Outside Income at 15% of Legislative Salary, per congress.
2. Close the “LLC” Loophole, which allows an individual to make an essentially unlimited number of political contributions via the Limited Liability Companies they control — a common tactic of real estate moguls.
Create Strong Ethics Police: Currently, Albany has three very weak ethics and campaign finance enforcement agencies: Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Legislative Ethics Commission, and the enforcement arm of the Board of Elections. In contrast, New York City has a strong Campaign Finance Board and a strong Department of Investigation.
We like all of the Time’s fixes and hope to win at least one of the three in the next few months. However, as the Time’s notes, it will take these and more to really drain Albany’s Caldron of Corruption.”