On Same Day Silver Corruption Trial Begins Anew, Assembly Majority Blocks Ethics Reform

Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I,Ref-Canandaigua) yesterday assailed the Majority members of the Governmental Operations Committee for blocking a package of ethics reform bills. The vote to reject Minority-sponsored anti-corruption measures comes on the same day that former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s second corruption trial begins in federal court.     
 
“As his public corruption re-trial gets under way, Sheldon Silver can take comfort knowing that his former colleagues are still protecting Albany’s dysfunctional status quo,” Leader Kolb said. “It is beyond insulting that these overdue, common-sense ethics reforms, aimed at restoring the public’s trust, were denied by the Majority. It’s been three years since Sheldon Silver left the Assembly, and not nearly enough has changed during that time.”  
 
The Assembly Governmental Operations Committee blocked the Public Officers Accountability Act (A.5864), which includes provisions to: 

  • Enact term limits for legislative leaders and committee chairs;
  • Create an independent ethics panel to replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics; and
  • Create a new crime of failure to report corruption. 

“Despite repeated calls for reform, year after year, the Assembly Majority has stood in the way of the most basic efforts to fix a woefully broken system,” Leader Kolb said. “It’s clear that Albany is unwilling to police itself, and Gov. Cuomo has done next to nothing to change a corrupt culture. Until we see real ethics reform, hard-working New York taxpayers will be forced to settle for a system that doesn’t protect their money or their interests.”

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