Bribery and Scandal
Wed June 12, 2013
Cuomo in Syracuse Pushes Public Campaign Financing, Stronger Govt Corruption Laws
Governor Andrew Cuomo continued his push in Syracuse Wednesday for a package of bills he’s touting as “Clean Up New York.”
One of the three areas he wants to address is campaign finance reform…the measure would require disclosure of donations within 48 hours, reduce contribution limits, and create tighter controls on the use of campaign cash. Plus, he says, the public financing provision might reduce the influence of money.
What pressure does it put on elected officials who had to raise all that money. Public financing answers all of that in one move, and it returns the authenticity and the connection of the system to the voters where it belongs. I believe it’s going to strengthen the relationship between the elected official and the citizen…and it will restore the trust.
Another part of the program is called the Public Trust Act…creating several new crimes for things such as even offering a bribe, failing to report bribes and widespread penalties and banning from government contracts for individual or business fraud.
LOCAL SUPPORT FOR POLITICAL CORRUPTION MEASURES
Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says some of the provisions will help him do his job.
Believe it or not, in the State of New York if a public official goes to an elected official and offers that person a bribe, and there isn’t a consummation of that arrangement, I cannot prosecute that under current New York law. This corrects that rather gross loophole. This law also increases the penalties, the prison sentences for people who abuse the public trust.
Another provision makes it a crime for failure to report bribery and stiffer penalties for all corruption. Cuomo notes recent corruption cases among politicians will force his hand if Albany doesn’t.
I believe the legislature needs to do something about it and pass these anti-corruption laws. If they don’t then I as Governor will form my own investigatory committee to investigate wrongdoing in Albany.
The governor can empanel what’s called a Moreland Commission to unilaterally fight corruption. Legislative leaders have expressed support for the Public Trust act, but aren’t ready to vote on campaign finance this session. Cuomo hopes taking the message out to the people might create pressure from voters to get it all acted upon before summer recess.