Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Diaz is Right

Earlier today, Senator Reuben Diaz said that it is “not fair” that lawyers and members of other “protected professions” will be exempted from fully disclosing their sources of outside income under the new ethics bill.

Diaz is right. In fact, although we haven’t seen the legislation yet, it looks like it is actually a backwards step – rather than not forcing lawyers to disclose outside income as is now the case, the new bill would explicitly exempt lawyers and others from certain reporting requirements.

Requiring lawyers to disclose outside income, which we’ve advocated recently, is nothing new. Legal ethics experts agree such disclosure is not only possible, but desirable. There are a number of states, including California, Alaska, Washington, and Louisiana that require such disclosure. The procedures adopted in these states make it clear that exceptions can be made for the rare cases where identity of a client should be kept confidential. Given the recent corruption scandals in our state, New Yorkers deserve access to at least as much information about our legislators’ outside income as the citizens of these states.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They'll become clergy, and do their communicating with special interests under the priest-penitent privilege in return for what's often called "stole money." There's always a way. The real reform is for the government to do less ... less government means less means and opportunity to do harm to an industry, or a particularized good to a particularized person or firm.