YEAR OF “ALBANY ON TRIAL” STARTS WITH FORMER TOP AIDE TO GOVERNOR CUOMO AND BIG POLITICAL DONORS FACING BRIBERY AND EXTORTION CHARGES
GROUPS CALL FOR STRONG ANTI-CORRUPTION MEASURES AS FEDS SHINE HARSH SPOTLIGHT ON ALBANY’S PAY TO PLAY CULTURE
A series of major government corruption trials begin today with former executive deputy secretary to Governor Cuomo, Joseph Percoco and top political contributors to the governor facing bribery and extortion charges. The case alleges that Percoco received more than $300,000 worth of bribes from companies that had business before the state. Charges include conspiracy to commit extortion and solicitation of bribes and gratuities.
This is the first of six trials that will play out during this year’s legislative session. In response to the corruption risks revealed by the trials, government watchdog groups have called on the Governor and Legislature to finally act on major reforms that would increase the transparency and oversight of state contracting, business subsidies and reduce the risk of corruption by restricting campaign contributions from people doing business with the state and strengthening government oversight agencies.
The groups have also called for closing the “LLC Loophole” which allows for essentially unlimited contributions through Limited Liability Companies and full transparency for discretionary “lump sum” spending, which the groups say are much bigger, more secretive and a greater corruption risk than member items.
RESTORE PUBLIC TRUST
Restore public trust with strict new accountability measures resulting in an open, ethical, and efficient way to award government contracts appropriations, an area which was identified as a key problem in the indictments of the governor’s top aides.
Real Budget Transparency.
Restore public trust with strict new accountability measures resulting in an open, ethical, and efficient way to award government contracts appropriations, an area identified as a key problem in the indictments of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aides.
Ban “Pay to Play.”
Restore public trust with strict “pay to play” restrictions on state vendors. The U.S. Attorney’s charges that $800m in state contracts were rigged to benefit campaign contributors to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo underscores the need to strictly limit contributions from those seeking state contracts.
Close the “LLC Loophole.”
Restore public trust by banning unlimited campaign contributions via Limited Liability Companies. LLCs have been at the heart of some of Albany’s largest scandals.
Strict Limits on Outside Income.
Restore public trust by bringing real limits on the outside income for legislators and the executive branch. Moonlighting by top legislative leaders and top members of the executive branch has triggered indictments by the federal prosecutors.
To restore public trust, New Yorkers need truly independent, effective, and well-resourced, ethics enforcement agencies. Models include the New York State Joint Committee on Public Ethics and others.