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New York’s newly created ethics commission has its work cut out for it
in a state government that’s often defined by dysfunction and
corruption. Read more
from SII State Reporter David King.
JUN 26, 2012
. Scott Walker survived his recall election. The same cannot be said for the integrity of campaign finance laws in Wisconsin
Incumbents targeted for recall are freed from Wisconsin's normal
fundraising limits, and can collect unlimited contributions from
individual donors. With the election
between Walker and his Democratic opponent, former Milwaukee mayor Tom
Barrett, seen as a battleground for national partisan politics, money
poured in on both sides. But Walker exploited the seemingly infinite
loophole to tremendous advantage: By election day, Walker's campaign had
received more than $30 million in donations, a total that approached
the $37.5 million spent by both sides during the 2010 election,according to the Center for Public Integrity
Wisconsin received a grade of 'C-' from the State Integrity Investigation
for its political financing
laws and practices, with reporter Kate Golden finding proper measures
on limits, enforcement, and transparency, while also documenting
numerous exemptions and back-channels, including the recall election
loophole. But in other states, the potentially polluting influence of
unlimited, and sometimes unsupervised campaign financing is constant and
permanent, borne out of state laws and practices -- or their absence.
JUN 25, 2012
Frustrated with Albany’s tepid reaction to the idea of publicly financed
elections, the Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and his fiancé are
financing a new campaign to press the issue in coordination with Gov.
Andrew M. Cuomo.
The group has also enlisted two former Cuomo aides to help plot its
strategy. The campaign, Protect Our Democracy, will include a 501(c)(4) nonprofit
group and a political action committee.
JUN 11, 2012
The law allows the disclosure of the names and pensions of retired
public workers. But it exempts disclosure of the name of a “beneficiary”
— which has long been interpreted to mean a person receiving the
benefits after a retiree dies.
A state court ruling last year, however, found that a retiree could also
be “beneficiary” and, therefore, could be shielded from disclosure. It
is now up to the State Legislature to undo this ridiculous ruling and
clarify an important law.
JUN 06, 2012
Cuomo administration officials argue that the governor pushed hard for
ethics reform last year that, among other things, would require
501(c)(4) groups to disclose their donors.
Mr. Cuomo does not need to wait for that to happen. He can demonstrate
his commitment to reform by pushing his friends at the committee to
disclose all of its donors right now.
JUN 01, 2012
The government transparency website Project Sunlight has been expanded
by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to include the user friendly New
York Open Government feature. Project Sunlight, which contains a
collection of information compiled by the Attorney General's Office,
will now help voters and government watchdogs hold state government
accountable by offering up-to-date campaign contribution, lobbying and
state contract data.
“Secrecy breeds corruption, while transparency generates confidence,”
Schneiderman said in a statement. “New York Open Government will help
the public keep an eye on what their government is doing in order to
deter corruption and increase confidence in the public sector."