Governor David Patterson’s proposal to dismantle the Commission on Public Integrity and replace it with a smaller panel structured in a way to minimize political influence, with jurisdiction over legislators and expanded powers, would fill some of the voids in ethics oversight in New York State government, but more would be accomplished if Albany chose to open this process to scrutiny and debate.
In January 2007, newly-elected Governor Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders announced the first major overhaul of
Should ethics reform be a business-as-usual behind-closed-doors kind of thing? Like spring flowers, reforms aimed at corruption and undue influence have been happening all around us: though far from perfect, legislators in Connecticut, North Carolina, Alaska, Illinois and several other states have passed various reforms that merit scrutiny and comparison, a buffet of alternatives for New York State. An open discussion (and vote?) would air alternatives and might result in innovative change based on tested systems.
Kelly Williams serves as Counsel in the Brennan Center's Finance and Operations Department.