Roundup of Albany Ethics Reforms


The Albany Times-Union’s Rick Karlin and Matthew Hamilton have compiled a list of the various ethics proposals kicking around Albany. We’ve reprinted it below.

The ethics package outlined by the governor and Assembly speaker Wednesday incorporates just some of this year’s the ethics reform proposals. Here’s a look at what various lawmakers and groups are seeking:

Cuomo-Heastie plan

  • Requires detailed disclosure on sources of outside income including the naming of clients for payments about $5,000. Includes lawyers with some exceptions.
  • Verification required for per diem travel expenses. May involve a swipe card for lawmakers to document their whereabouts.
  • Constitutional amendment to go to voters which would strip wrongdoers of government pensions.
  • Limits on use of campaign funds. No country club membership, mortgage payments or other similar uses.
  • Mandatory disclosure of soft money, or independent expenditures which are not officially coordinated by candidates but which can support their platforms.

Senate Republicans

  • Bill by Senators Carl Marcellino and Pat Gallivan would mandate public listing of executive chamber and state agency officials pay and their expenses. The data is already kept by the comptroller but this would put it on a dedicated website.
  • Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
  • A complete ban on outside income for lawmakers, accompanied by a salary hike to at least $112,500 compared to the current $79,500 base pay.
  • A cap on reimbursements for legislative travel.
  • More equitable division of funding among legislators.
  • Giving legislators more individual power to move a proposal to a floor vote.
  • Increase terms of lawmakers from two years to four years.

Good-government groups

  • Make Limited Liability Corporations, or LLCs subject to the same political campaign contribution limits that apply to individuals and other types of corporations.
  • Keep all state agency and executive branch emails for seven years rather than purging non-critical ones after 90 days.
  • Grant more authority to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and breaking some of its ties to the executive branch.
  • Establish outside income limits similar to Congress, which limits income to 15 percent of a lawmaker’s salary.