Astorino Unveils Ethics Package
Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino on Monday unveiled a 10-point ethics package, his first major policy push since announcing his campaign.
Broadly, the plan would seek to upend the current structure of state government through a shortened legislative session as well as term limits on statewide elected officials as well as members of the Senate and Assembly.
At the same time, Astorino wants to strengthen the state’s Freedom of Information laws, create a new, less generous pension system for incoming state lawmakers and overhaul campaign-finance laws by restricting the peronsal use of funds.
The package was first reported this morning by The New York Post.
Astorino’s proposal would also scrap the per-diem system used by state lawmakers in exchange for a receipt system.
The current ethics panel known as the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, created in 2011, would be replaced by the Independent State Commission on Public Ethics. ISCOPE would be appointed by the judiciary and have an independent budget.
“The corruption by government officials in New York has reached a staggering level of embarrassment,” Astorino said in a statement. “The culture of corruption does not just affect the perpetrators, but average New Yorkers end up paying a stealth corruption tax as a result of these insider deals. Andrew Cuomo–who is a lifelong Albany insider–not only failed to keep his promise to clean up Albany, but his handling of the Moreland Commission makes him a direct contributor to New York’s status as the most corrupt state in the nation.”
The full plan is after the jump.
- Term Limits – Limit statewide elected officials to two terms (8 years) and state legislators to four terms
- (8 years).
- Limit Legislative Session – Convene regular session the first week in January and end on April 1, when the budget is due; Special session throughout the year can be called by a petition request from two-thirds vote of both legislative houses or by the Governor as defined in the State Constitution.
- Independent State Commission on Public Ethics (I-SCOPE) to replace J-COPE. Five members appointed by judiciary with independent budget to receive and investigate complaints of official misconduct, including sexual harassment and assault.
- Strengthen FOIL – Require proactive online posting of records and information required for release under FOIL requests; Information would be posted on single statewide database managed by State Comptroller.
- Defined Contribution Plan for Newly Elected – Require all newly elected officials to join SUNY’s Defined Contribution Plan instead of the existing pension system.
- Pension Strip -Loss of taxpayer-funded pension for any elected official convicted of public corruption.
- Prohibit Personal Use of Campaign Money – Establish clear guidelines to limit donations solely to election-related activities.
- Ban Conflict of Interest Member Items – No “member items” to any non-profit or business affiliated with a state elected official or an immediate family member.
- Replace Per-Diem System and require receipts for travel, lodge and food.
- End Taxpayer-funded Vanity – Prohibit any building, facility or capital project that was paid for with taxpayer money to be named for any current elected official.
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