Gaughran Calls For Real Ethics Reforms To Clean Up Albany
(Huntington, NY) Jim Gaughran today unveiled a series of common sense ethics reform proposals that will combat corruption in state government and help rebuild the public’s trust. Jim rolled out these initiatives in response to the State Senate’s refusal to take any meaningful steps to address ethics reform or end the corrupt status quo in Albany.
“Our State government has been rocked by scandal after scandal, and yet elected officials like Carl Marcellino are doing nothing to address this crisis,” Jim Gaughran said. “Long Islanders deserve to know that their elected officials work for the voters, and aren’t simply using their positions to enrich themselves. We deserve a State Senator who will clean up Albany, not be part of the problem.”
The ethics reforms highlighted by Jim Gaughran are specifically designed to clean up the corrupt practices and unethical behavior which have led to the ongoing corruption crisis plaguing state government. These initiatives will ensure elected officials’ priority is serving their constituents, end the practice of using campaign accounts for personal expenses and reform how campaigns are funded. When enacted, these proposals will help rebuild the public’s trust in state government and ensure Long Islanders are more confident in their elected officials.
The ethics reform measures supported by Jim Gaughran include:
· Ban the Use of Campaign Funds for Personal Expenses: Currently, New York’s election law allows candidate to spend campaign funds for “any lawful purpose,” which effectively allows politicians to treat campaign accounts as personal ATMs. These guidelines are amongst the most lax in the nation, and must be reformed to ensure candidates use these funds for campaigns, and not personal reasons.
· Closing Campaign Finance Loopholes: This initiative will close a loophole that currently allows wealthy individuals to circumvent the cap on campaign giving and unduly influence elections by using limited liability companies (LLCs) to donate massive amounts of money to candidates. This loophole helped contribute to the Dean Skelos corruption scandal, and closing it would help ensure such breaches of the public trust don’t happen again.
· Barring the Use of Campaign Money for Criminal Defense: This common sense protection would outlaw campaign funds from being used for attorneys fees or any costs for defending against criminal or civil prosecution for alleged violations of any state or federal law.
· Prohibiting the Taxpayer Reimbursement of Campaign and Legal Defense Fund Accounts for legal fees in Criminal Cases: This initiative will prohibit any state reimbursement to a campaign account or legal defense account for attorneys fees and litigation expenses to a public official after an acquittal or dismissal.
· Restricting Legislators’ Outside Professions to Avoid Conflicts of Interest: New Yorkers should be confident that their elected officials do not use their public office for personal gain. Politicians who simultaneously held outside positions with business before the state helped contribute to the ethics crisis in Albany, and that is why Jim is working to ban those conflicts of interest.
A recent Siena Poll found that the top issue New Yorkers want addressed by the State Legislature is the ongoing corruption crisis with over 80% of voters calling it “very important.” Another poll found that a plurality of voters said ethics reforms were their top priority for the 2016 Legislative Session. Despite these facts, Senator Carl Marcellino has repeatedly voted against ethics reform measures and blocked efforts to enact meaningful changes to how Albany operates.
“Long Islanders are tired of Carl Marcellino turning a blind eye to the corruption crisis plaguing our state government. Senator Marcellino has benefited from the status quo in Albany, and that is clearly why he is so hostile to cleaning up state government or reforming New York’s laughable ethics laws. If the voters are ever going to regain confidence in state government, we are going to need a new Senator who is committed to reform and public service,” Jim Gaughran concluded.