Tags: Eric Schneiderman | new york | attorney general silverman | corruption

NY Attorney General: Time to End Our Part-Time Legislature

Image: NY Attorney General: Time to End Our Part-Time Legislature
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (Louis Lanzano/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 07:38 AM

New York state needs a full-time legislature whose lawmakers are barred from earning outside income, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the Citizens Union, The New York Times reported.

New Yorkers have been buffeted by a series of corruption charges against their elected officials.

The powerful Democratic speaker of the state Assembly, Sheldon Silver, was indicted in January for taking millions of dollars in bribes. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under investigation by the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara. Also in January, state Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was convicted of taking bribes. In 2013, state Sen. John Sampson was charged with embezzlement.

Besides state politicians, corruption charges have been made against local lawmakers, including a Staten Island congressman.

Schneiderman, a Democrat, said New York state had become "the nation's most consistent epicenter of public corruption," leaving its citizens "living in a golden age of graft."

Earlier promises to rid the state of corruption have turned out to be empty.

"Sadly, every time incremental reforms have been called 'sweeping' or 'groundbreaking' — billed as a solution to the problem — those words have been proven false," Schneiderman said. "In fact, the primary impact of many highly touted, marginal reforms has been to allow business as usual."

He outlined an ethics plan that would extend legislative terms from two to four years.

Schneiderman would raise lawmakers' part-time salaries from the current $79,500, plus a $172 per diem payment, to about $94,500 a year, and offer them automatic cost-of-living increases and reimbursement for itemized travel expenses, the Times reported.

"It is impossible to avoid conflicts — or the appearance of conflicts — if legislators have outside employment," he said. "The time has come to end it."

He also called for campaign reforms, including public financing. The upper chamber of the legislature is controlled by Republicans, who have historically been against using public funds for elections, according to the Times.

Schneiderman urged lawmakers "to set aside the instinct to defend the system. You are not being attacked. It's the system that's being attacked," he told the Citizens Union.

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New York State needs a full-time legislature whose lawmakers are barred from earning outside income as a way of ending the state's ongoing corruption scandals, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, The New York Times reported.
Eric Schneiderman, new york, attorney general silverman, corruption
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2015-38-17
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2015 07:38 AM
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