July 9, 2014
By Dick Dadey, Citizens Union Executive Director
Albany NY – Ten Unethical Legislators in 2013-14 is Double the previous record of 5 in 2007-2008. Good Legislators’ Inaction on ethics have allows bad legislators to hide in the darkness of corruption. The crime wave of corruption in Albany has reached epic proportions with 26 out of office and 4 more likely to be removed.
With the news that state senator Thomas Libous was charged with lying to FBI investigators about how he got his son a job at an Albany-based law firm, the number of legislators who have left office or been indicted since 2000 has now reached 30 in 15 years. This according to Citizens Union’s Corruption Tracker which monitors corruption in Albany. Two legislators for every year and 10 in just the past eighteen months. This is double the previous high of five who left office in the 2007-2008 session.
It is scandalous that 30 legislators have violated the public trust having been given the opportunity to serve. But it is even more shameful that the good legislators fail to pass effective and stronger ethics legislation that would compel greater disclosure of outside business relationships and a more effective oversight role for our government watchdogs. Legislators through inaction allow the bad ones to hide in the darkness.
New Yorkers have grown weary of the constant parade of elected officials being charged with misconduct. Though stronger ethics laws have been passed, more still needs to be accomplished to change the culture of corruption in Albany. It is critical that independent ethics enforcement take place. Also needed is greater disclosure of outside income and comprehensive campaign finance reform. The farce that is Albany corruption must.