25 February 2015

Ethics for Thee but not for Me

It appears that the indictment of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has provided some impetus to make changes to the ethics laws in New York state.

Andrew Cuomo has a proposal, and to no-one's surprise, the proposal specifically excludes the Governor's office:
State legislators say they are willing to enact a number of new ethics reforms, but they argue Gov. Cuomo should subject himself to more public disclosure as well.

Republican and Democratic legislative sources say that while Cuomo has attacked lawmakers on the issue of outside income, the governor is making as much as $900,000 from HarperCollins for his recent memoir, which only sold a few thousand copies.

They also say that perhaps there should be a ban on governors giving paid outside speeches. While Cuomo during his first four years has not given such speeches, former Govs. Mario Cuomo and George Pataki did.

New Jersey bars governors from receiving “directly or indirectly” any compensation, salary, honorarium, fee or any other form of income on top of their regular taxpayer-funded salary.

An official in the New York Legislature argued there should be more public disclosure on what guests, if any, are staying at the governor’s Albany mansion.

And, in perhaps the most contentious suggestion, a number of legislative sources say Cuomo’s longtime live-in celebrity chef girlfriend, Sandra Lee, should be required to publicly disclose her income, investments and other financial information that the spouses of public officials are already mandated to reveal.

“A final negotiated package shouldn’t be just all about the Legislature,” said one high-ranking legislative official. “If you want to do something comprehensive on ethics, it should include the governor as well.”
Of course it should include the governor as well.

It's only a problem if you are Andrew Cuomo.

Here is hoping that US Attorney Preet Bharara is going to indict him.


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