Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Assembly Ethics Committee to Meet

The Assembly Ethics Committee will reportedly meet today. Since the proceedings are cloaked in secrecy the could be talking about a number of things. As the WXXI story points out, unlike other legislative standing committees, the Ethics Committee is not required to deliberate in public and neither their deliberations or finding are made public.

This isn't the Manhattan Project; these are our elected representatives and the public has a right to know about the work of the committee.

In fact, the legislative ethics committees, not to be confused with the similarly secretive Legislative Ethics Commission, rarely holds meetings. This stands in stark contrast to the recently created Commission on Public Integrity, which oversees the executive branch and lobbyists. The CPI holds regular public hearings and releases its opinions.

Since all four members of the legislature who either stand accused of corruption, plead guilty, await sentencing or face a trial all hail from New York City, here's an idea for a new Manhattan Project: hold public hearings on the various models for ethics reform.

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