libous1From the Morning Memo:

Add Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan to the list of state officials who do not think it is likely lawmakers will approve new ethics legislation in the wake of two convictions in the Legislature.

“I don’t think it’s tolerated right now,” Flanagan said while in Cooperstown on Wednesday. “You see people who are getting prosecuted, who are getting indicted, who are getting convicted. Frankly, it’s bad for everybody.”

Last week, both Republican Tom Libous and Democrat John Sampson were convicted in separate in corruption cases, forcing their ouster from the Senate.

Republicans are pushing to retain Libous’s seat in the Southern Tier, while Flanagan acknowledged that winning Sampson’s Brooklyn district would be a “very, very, very uphill climb.”

But the convictions also renewed calls by good-government advocates to hold a special session and approve new ethics and campaign finance law changes.

In particular the good-government groups are seeking an end to the so-called “LLC loophole” that allows for unlimited contributions through web of limited liability companies as well as tighter restrictions on outside income.

But Flanagan, who met with the business group Associated General Contractors of New York State on Wednesday while in Cooperstown, said it was a matter of passing measures that have a positive impact on voters — and that’s not necessarily ethics and campaign finance reform.

“In my estimation the greatest way we can do that is first of all, listen to the people we represent and second of all, follow through on things that are important to them,” he said. “As long as we focus on doing that — maintaining the property tax cap, giving property tax rebates, potentially property taxes — I think that goes just as far if not farther than anything else we can do.”

As for the convictions themselves, Flanagan said he wanted to restore trust to state government.

“People need to trust their government, people need to have faith in their government and they need to trust their own representatives,” he said.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, meanwhile, was on his own tour of the upstate region this week, reiterating in Ithaca what he said in a Capital Tonight interview on Tuesday: New ethics legislation won’t necessarily curb immoral behavior.

“I don’t know what the legislative fix would be,” Heastie said. “One was obstruction of justice, one was lying to the FBI. So, I don’t know what a fix could do. That’s not to say we shy away from ethics or concerns on ethics, but sometimes it comes down to morality and individuals.”

Pressure for calling a special session of the Legislature has always come down to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has the power to call lawmakers back to Albany, but can’t force them to take up a preferred package of legislative changes.

“The Legislature just left town a few weeks ago,” Cuomo said this week. “I don’t see any reason to believe there’s going to be a different outcome than there was a few weeks ago.”