Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Groundhog Day

It has been reported that "Albany Andy" emerged from his mansion in Albany and saw his shadow so we will have 6 more years of corruption in our state government.

That was going to be the start of a blog that did a takeoff on the Bill Murray classic "Groundhog Day" but when I googled Albany ethics reform to get some juicy quotes I was laughing so hard I couldn't write a word.

So lets play a game I'll list some quotes below and you tell me are they editorials? statements from elected officials? or statements from good government groups?

If you think you are right then guess if they were made pre 2010? 2011 to 2014? or After Shelly's arrest?

Get more than half right and you win a "ALBANY GOT CORRUPTION? tee shirt.  Let's try a sample:

"What makes it even worse is that the Legislature’s rules on reporting outside income are so weak that the public had no way of recognizing a scam like this one. As State Senator Daniel Squadron, a Manhattan Democrat, puts it simply: “Nobody’s minding the candy store.”

We are not suggesting that Mr. Silver has done anything illegal. But without robust disclosure requirements, it is impossible for the public to know whether a lawmaker is maintaining an unbreachable wall between his or her private practice and public service."
That's from a New York Times editorial from 2009 . . . 2009 for Christ's sake!!!!  Do you think in the six years after they wrote that editorial the crack investigator's at the Times might have been able to figure out if "Mr. Silver has done anything illegal"?
OK if you got that one right try this one:
"At some point, New Yorkers have to ask themselves whether they want lawmakers with outside jobs. But there is a lot that needs to be fixed right now, including limits on whose money legislators can accept and rigorous public reporting requirements for all outside income.
The corruption in Albany has to end."
Give up?  has to be a googoo or an elected in the last week right?   NOPE same editorial in the Times from 2009.
See what I mean about laughing so hard you cry.
Here's an easy one
"But Cuomo’s inclusion of the reform proposals in the budget raises the stakes, said XXXXXXXX, executive director of the advocacy group XXXXXXXX.
“This is big news,” she said. XXXX had high praise for Cuomo’s campaign finance proposals"
Fill in the blanks are usually easy  This one was Susan Lerner fro  wait for it . . . I'm not going to tell you do your own Google search
Here's a harder one:
"“What ethics reform says to the people of this state is, ‘I get it. I get that that’s wrong,’” he said"
along with:
XXXX said he wanted to leverage the current scandals to pressure lawmakers to pass the reforms quickly.
"I want to strike while the iron is hot," he said. “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."
Don't worry Governor in Albany there is always another ethics crisis right around the corner Now the tough part was this leverage Moreland? or a pay raise or a refusal to pass the budget?
And my personal favorite:
"While no legislation can prevent someone from committing a corrupt act, using one's public office for personal gain is never acceptable," he said in a statement. "In light of the charges brought last week by the U.S. Attorney against members of the Legislature, we must redouble our efforts to create a government New Yorkers can be proud of."
I'll give you the author it was "Albany Andy" the tricky part was which year?  Lets make this multiple choice 2011 or 2013 or 2014 or 2015?   It's like an ethics SAT test.
Correct answer  2013
Try another
"We'll be getting ethics reform one way or the other," Cuomo said.
Correct answer  2011
And this Preet gem is from ?
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who has been involved in previous prosecutions of state lawmakers, said a mouthful: "Every single time we arrest a state senator or assemblyman, it should be a jarring wake-up call. Instead, it seems that no matter how many times the alarm goes off, Albany just hits the snooze button."
See how the Bill Murray movie would have been perfect hit the snooze button and tomorrow will be the same as today  LOLOLOLOL  the year? 2011
I'll leave you with my favorite quotes below   they are from the governors press release in 2011 do you think any of the people quoted should be taken seriously in the future on ethics?
Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY said, "The ethics reform proposal that the Governor and the legislative leaders have hammered out announces significant, long-awaited changes in the framework of New York's ethics laws. It addresses challenging ethics issues such as disclosure of legislators' outside income and external review of legislative and executive conduct and includes important new provisions such as regulating independent campaign expenditures and providing the public with relevant information about who is paying for certain groups' lobbying activities. Common Cause/NY commends the Governor, Speaker Silver, and Temporary President Skelos for their perseverance in unraveling what has for decades been the Gordian knot of ethics reform. We look forward to working with them to accomplish the remainder of the Governor's reform agenda - campaign finance reform and fair redistricting."
Steve Younger, Former President of the New York Bar Association said, "This is an historic moment for all New Yorkers. This new measure will enhance transparency in our government and ensure both independent and fair enforcement of our ethics laws. Today's agreement on comprehensive ethics reform is a tribute to Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Skelos and Assembly Speaker Silver."
Dick Dadey, Executive Director of Citizens Union said, "Today's announcement on a far-reaching ethics deal is welcomed and significant. It is an important and much needed achievement because it brings about several historic actions such as the first-ever client and rainmaker disclosure by legislators, narrower bands of income disclosure, publicly available financial disclosure statements, outside investigatory authority of legislative ethics, pension forfeiture options, as well as a reconfiguration of the state ethics panel resulting in no one elected official controlling a majority of the appointments. Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Dean Skelos deserve praise and our appreciation for reaching agreement on a remarkable milestone in the effort to restore public confidence in the way in which business is conducted in Albany. Hopefully now with stronger disclosure, and more effective oversight and enforcement of state ethics, winning back the public's trust in our state government will be possible."
Russ Haven, Executive Director of the New York State Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), said, "These ethics reforms for the first time will open a huge window on the outside work and pay of state lawmakers. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and these disclosures will allow New Yorkers to judge whether a legislator's private job creates a conflict with their responsibilities to the public. The legislation also ensures that no one political leader controls the state's ethics and lobbying oversight commission, a substantial change from the current system that gives the governor the majority of votes, a longstanding issue of concern to government watchdogs. And since democracy is a work in progress and it is impossible to fully anticipate the technical, legal and political changes that occur in government at an ever-increasing pace, this legislation wisely incorporates an independent review process that will require a 'look back' at the features and performance of the law after it's been up and running for a while."
Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director of the Brennan Center for Justice's Democracy Program at NYU School of Law, said, "The Brennan Center applauds the Governor and the Legislature for reaching this important agreement to bring needed reform to the state's ethics laws. Among many positive changes, the agreement announced today will bring unprecedented transparency to Albany, including much fuller disclosure of public officials' outside income. Loopholes in existing laws in this area have been abused by some unethical officials. We are especially pleased that these gaps will be closed. We look forward to working with Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to help put this proposed legislation on the books, and we encourage full public hearings on the proposal as soon as possible, so that experts and the public can review and comment on the legislation. Today's agreement lays the foundation for the renewal of New York's government. We look forward to working just as hard with Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders on the next crucial elements in changing Albany: rebuilding our campaign finance system and establishing a voluntary public funding system to end the domination of New York politics by special interests."
Sally Robinson, Issues and Advocacy Vice President of the League of Women Voters of New York State said, "The League of Women Voters of New York State applauds Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver, and Majority Leader Skelos for coming together to complete this historic ethics agreement which will strengthen oversight protections and achieve significantly greater transparency in our state government. For the first time there will be an external investigatory body for the state legislature and disclosure of outside income. This ethics legislation will begin the journey toward restoring public trust in the integrity of state government. We look forward to working with the Governor and the legislative leaders next session to complete the remaining parts of the League's reform agenda."
For thirteen months, I've traveled the state calling on our government to take action on the three basic, fundamental reforms our government needs, including meaningful Ethics Reform, said Former New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch. Standing in Buffalo, I called for outside income disclosure; in Long Island I called for disclosure of client lists; and in Albany I called for a state ethics commission with teeth. Today, I'm proud to congratulate Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislative leaders for reaching an agreement on a proposal that will accomplish these goals. Thanks to them, the 138 Legislators who signed the three New York Uprising pledges will be able to honor the ethics portion by casting a vote on the bill described today, and I will be asking them to do so.

No comments:

Post a Comment