ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed for ethics reform on Wednesday – a day after former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arraigned on federal corruption charges in Manhattan.
Cuomo wants to ensure that New Yorkers know how much money lawmakers are making and how much they’re spending, especially when it comes to situations like travel.
The governor is turning up the pressure on the legislature to pass his ethics reform package by including it in the budget.
Sheldon Silver is the latest in a string of arrests at the Capitol. State lawmakers were elected by New York residents for representation, but a few had been padding their own pockets. And now Cuomo is seizing the moment.
Under his latest proposal, Cuomo is calling for new disclosure requirements that would require all public officials to disclose outside compensation that’s over $1,000. It would also mean that no member could receive compensation in connection with a pending bill.
Thirdly, it would require lawyers, real estate agents and other professionals to detail the services they provide. It would also include pension forfeiture for public officials convicted of corruption.
Finally, per diem reform meaning legislators would have to submit receipts for travel expenses and be reimbursed after.
Some legislators do not agree with Cuomo’s push to include the reform package in the budget. They stated that Cuomo himself isn’t included in the provisions.
“Because you don’t have the opportunity for conflict,” Cuomo said. “None of the people around this table have outside income from clients. An elected official can do it.”
Cuomo was also asked if he’d been contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Their investigation into public corruption is ongoing. He said no but couldn’t say whether or not anyone in his administration had.