capitolsummerFrom the Morning Memo:

When he first ran for governor in 2010, Andrew Cuomo pledged to reform Albany’s reputation for dysfunction and corruption, but the image of a cleaned-up state Capitol has been tarnished by twin corruption scandals involving the state’s formerly most powerful legislators.

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption trial began this week, while the trial of former Majority Leader Dean Skelos begins later in November.

The cases are shining a light on Albany’s reputation for self-dealing and enrichment, but Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul says Cuomo has indeed won ethics reforms, despite the long odds with the Legislature.

“He’s pushed reforms through the Legislature with a lot of resistance,” said Hochul. “I think the image of Albany has taken a few hits but that’s why the governor’s done so much, more than any governor in our history, to clean up Albany.”

Those reforms include requiring lawmakers to reveal more information on their outside legal clients and income. New anti-bribery measures have been approved and an independent enforcement counsel has been installed at the Board of Elections.

“People are overlooking all this that there has been a transformation for the good, that the governor has led the way since he’s been in office, the last few years, the we clean up Albany and that there are consequences,” Hochul said.

Other lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, believe the reputational hit on Albany doesn’t help anyone associated with state government.

“I think it’s always a challenge. You don’t want to see people get in harm’s way. I’m not talking about partisan stuff. Republican, Democrat, Assembly, Senate, executive employees. That’s not good for anybody,” said Flanagan, a Suffolk County Republican.

Flanagan was elevated to the top post in his chamber after Skelos’s arrest in May. He says the vast majority of public officials try to do the right thing, and it’s small minority that’s lead to state government’s poor image.

“I think members in both houses, in both parties, try extraordinarily hard to be in the right place,” Flanagan said, “not get in harm’s way and do the right thing by the people they represent.”