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New York Leaders Agree On 5-Point Ethics Reform Plan

The state capitol in Albany
Dave Lucas

Hours before the close of the 2016 legislative session early Saturday morning, lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday reached an agreement on a 5-point ethics reform plan.

Leaders say the package will toughen election, lobbying, and ethics enforcement laws.

The 5-point plan includes independent expenditure reforms that would prevent independent spending groups to be formed or run by a candidate’s family members and the public disclosure of anyone in control of a group.

If finalized by a constitutional amendment, any public official convicted on corruption charges would be prohibited from collecting a pension earned during public service.

New disclosure requirements would be established for political consultants.

Lobbying disclosure and issue advocacy reforms are also included in the plan.

Good government groups are saying the measures is a step in the right direction, but that the plan does not go far enough.

In a statement, Barb Bartoletti, legislative director for the League of Women Voters said, “the legislature has left Albany following its 'Watergate moment' by avoiding the most critical reforms such as closure of the LLC loophole, increased disclosure of discretionary funding and removing the pay to play culture by lowering contribution limits. Shame on them!"

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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