Good government groups held an event in Albany to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo to act on the recommendations of his corruption-busting Moreland Commission. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman was at the press conference and brings us more.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A coalition of good government groups hope Governor Andrew Cuomo begins a concerted effort to act on recommendations made by his anti-corruption commission earlier this month. And they hope the commission's work finally gets the public fired up about ethics reform as well.
"I would really encourage that the investigations as part of this commission continue so that the public can really have that eye popping sense which the commission members all got which is, this can't be legal," said Barbara Bartoletti, League of Women Voters Legislative Director.
The Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, in a preliminary report, called for tighter anti-bribery laws and the closing of campaign finance loopholes. But on Monday, good government reformers seized on the long sought call to overhaul the state Board of Elections and create a new body that would monitor campaign finance violations.
"Our groups have long called for an independent enforcement entity. Many of the bills proposed last year did not go far enough, but I think the commission's report has really shown why it's needed," said Alex Carmoda of Citizens Union.
The Moreland report found lax enforcement of campaign finance violations at the state Board of Elections.
"Really, the most eye opening part of the report is how they dealt with staff that tried to do a good job. At best they ignored them, at worst they punished them," said NYPRIG Legislative Director Blair Horner.
Good government advocates continue to also push for a new system of publicly financed campaigns, but passage remains in doubt in the narrowly divided Senate. Commission co-chairman William Fitzpatrick backs the creation of a taxpayer funded matching system, but says approving the other recommendations would also be a success.
Fitzpatrick said, "If everything we've put in place with the exception of public financing was put in place, I would consider that a tremendous victory, although I still think based on the evidence I've seen and heard, I believe public finance is a large of what we need to get done to clean up the situation in Albany."
That doesn't sit well with public financing supporters who argue the series of corruption arrests to hit the Capitol make now the best time to change how campaign money is raised.
Horner said, "Failing to do public financing is a missed opportunity to make that happen."