Cuomo: No Special Session For Ethics Reform
A special session to consider a package of new ethics measures isn’t on the table, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in an interview Thursday, despite the ongoing corruption cases and conviction of a top-ranking lawmaker.
“A special session to do what? I mean, we’ve proposed every ethics law imaginable,” Cuomo said in an interview on The Capitol Pressroom. “We’ve proposed and accomplished unprecedented disclosure.”
Good-government groups this week are once again pressing for ethics measure after Republican Sen. Tom Libous was convicted of lying to the FBI in a case stemming from his son receiving a job at a law firm with political connections in Westchester County.
Meanwhile, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as well as ex-Majority Leader Dean Skelos, face corruption charges in separate cases following their arrests this year.
Nevertheless, calls for reforming Albany have fallen on deaf ears. Cuomo himself indicated passing new laws won’t curtail corruption.
“We have passed the most aggressive ethics reform legislation that has ever existed and we’ve done it every year and surpassed the bar that was set the year before,” Cuomo said. “At one point you can’t legislate morality and you can’t legislate intelligence. People in power, access to money and power … we have thousands of politicians in this state, some of them are going to do the wrong thing.”
That the ethics legislation approved during Cuomo’s first term is the most sweeping is debatable, according to good-government groups who have been pressing for measures such as curtailing giving by limited liability companies and the public financing of political campaigns.
Cuomo did press and win new disclosure requirements for lawmakers’ outside income and, earlier this year, requirements that the legal clients of lawmakers, albeit with exemptions that can be sought in sensitive cases.
The governor, too, has come under fire for an aggressive push on ethics and anti-corruption measures. He formed a subpoena-empowered commission to investigate the Legislature and shuttered the panel after lawmakers agreed to a package of reform measures.
The circumstances of the commission’s closure as well as its investigations is being probed by the U.S. attorney’s office.
“Calling them back to redo a vote that they did several weeks ago I don’t think is going to change anyone’s opinion,” Cuomo said. “I think don’t think anything has changed that will change their opinion.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo sounded sympathetic of Libous’s plight.
The Binghamton lawmaker, who lost his seat following the conviction, continues to battle cancer and has been on friendly terms with Cuomo.
Cuomo himself attended the wedding of Matthew Libous, who will be sentenced on tax evasion charges this year.
“This is a man who was a quality public servant for a lot of years,” Cuomo said of the elder Libous. :He represented his district, he’s a hero in his district, he’s been battling cancer and showing up for work and showed a courage that I found, frankly, admirable.”
Cuomo indicated he hopes the judge considers Libous’s health during sentencing.
“I’ll leave that to the judge,” he said of the sentencing. “I’m sure that’s a factor that the judge will take into consideration.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on July 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm, and is filed under Andrew Cuomo. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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