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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Editorial: NY Ethics Groups 'Miserable Failures'

Wake up the watchdogs
EDITORIAL - The New York Daily News - April 13, 2008

There's a crime wave going on in Albany, and the ethics cops are nowhere to be found. The governor's office, until last month, was in the hands of a dissembler who cavorted with prostitutes. Aides covered for their boss. Legislators have been indicted at the rate of one every few months. And none of this was exposed by the two agencies established last year in a vaunted ethics crackdown. The Public Integrity Commission and the Legislative Ethics Commission have been utter, miserable failures.

Consider the record of the Public Integrity Commission, which is charged with watching over the governor's office and executive agencies. Its Troopergate probe has dragged on for eight months, with no visible result. Meanwhile, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo completed an investigation into the roles played by Spitzer aides and, at Gov. Paterson's request, began an inquiry into potential misconduct by the State Police.

The commission's inaction has destroyed its credibility. And its pronounced lack of aggressiveness raises serious question as to whether a panel dominated by gubernatorial appointees can be independent. Worse is the Legislative Ethics Commission, which is said to monitor the Assembly and Senate for conflicts of interest and other breaches. But hasn't been heard from since before Noah.

As part of last year's reforms, lawmakers expanded the panel to include members from outside the Legislature. But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno cared so little about enforcement, they didn't fill one of the new seats. And the commission failed to meet the minimal requirements of the law, such as posting ethics advice on the Internet. Of course, no legislators were found to have done anything wrong.

Reform must begin anew. Having proven their unworthiness, the 13 members of the Public Integrity Commission should voluntarily resign. Paterson and the Legislature would then be able to appoint high-caliber replacements without being accused of undue interference. The new commissioners could then beef up the staff with seasoned prosecutors. Longer term, the law should be rewritten to make the panel more independent - by giving the governor fewer seats - and to require release of fuller information about its probes.

As for the Legislature, Bruno and Silver should try complying with the law they wrote last year. Then go further by making the panel an independent enforcement agency. They should also enact full financial disclosure to reveal who pays lawmakers how much. And begin to live up to a standard followed by Congress and the City Council: On indictment, members should lose perks and privileges until vindicated. Albany's stables need a thorough cleaning - and fast.

12 comments:

former ethics committee member said...

The misconception is that "watchdogs" are supposed to clean up corruption. In fact, "watchdogs" are put in their position to further cover up dirty deeds by cronies, and to protect at all costs the corrupt bums that put them in that position in the first place.

manny from the bronx said...

Ethics oversight a failure in New York ?!?

Biggest understatement of the day, and possibly of the year!

albany resident said...

Manny's right what ETHICS oversight? It's been in name only. The foxes have always been in charge of the hen house. This must be changed. A Federal Independent Panel made up of Non-Lawyers should oversee all ETHICS matters in the State of New York including but not limited to the Judiciary.

Anonymous said...

Bring in the feds. The State of New York is broken.

white plains attorney said...

there are still some honest attorneys. But most people say who cares. There are no watchdogs, they're all pussycats.

Louise Uccio said...

former ethics committee member said...
"The misconception is that "watchdogs" are supposed to clean up corruption. In fact, "watchdogs" are put in their position to further cover up dirty deeds by cronies, and to protect at all costs the corrupt bums that put them in that position in the first place." I believe that is 100 % true, the more I complained with details the more those details suddenly disapeared from the records.

Anonymous said...

Crooks Crooks Crooks

Anonymous said...

any member of the Judiciary that engages in this Kaye law suit should have their licenses to practice law revoked immediately. These guys & gals can't be Judges without their law licenses. Take'em away!

Anonymous said...

ELIOT SPITZER AND HIS PUBLIC INTEGRITY WATCHDOGS GO BACK TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE. THESE WATCHDOG'S ARE AIDING AND ABETTING THESE CRIMINALS, AND THEIR CRIMES. NOW THE WATCH DOGS ARE BEING WATCHED. I HOPE TO SEE THEM ALL VERY SOON WITH PINSTRIPE JAIL ATTIRE, AND MEETING UP WITH BIG BAD BRUTIS, BE SURE TO BRING YOUR SOAP AND A ROPE GUYS AND GALS.

letters said...

Eliot Spitzer did "dirty" business with certain Organized Crime families at the same time that he was a Federal and State prosecutor putting different prostitution ring competitors out of business. The New Yorker magazine quoted a former prostitution ring operator as saying someone like Spitzer would always get free service, "comped", for the obvious "get out of jail free" benefit to the operator. Spitzer only would have had to pay if he started using the services so much that additional freebies were not worth it for the operator. The media is missing is the obvious. How many different wings of how many organized crime families was Spitzer protecting? Is it a coincidence that Spitzer buried the recording of the death threat made against the whistle-blower to the MCI - Worldcom fraud when he received a copy of the recording as NY State Attorney General? Noone would be surprised to find out that certain bankruptcy Rings were associated with the organized crime families which Spitzer protected. Only an appointed Federal Special Prosecutor has any chance at uncovering the full Spitzer connection to Organized Crime.

a fly on the wall said...

dis-organized crime is the scandal and the fact that the Judiciary is a large part of it is a crime. The average citizens have no protection, it's all one big criminal enterprise. There are no laws.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Gisella Weisshaus has also filed a suit in Southern District against Cahill, et al., relating to failure in 1998 to take action on her grievance against Edward Fagan? Presumably this involves the situation in which former DDC Counsel Hal Lieberman, r+2 mos after going into private practice and being succeeded by Cahill, represented Fagan in responding to Mrs. Weisshaus's grievance to the 1st Dept DDC, the grounds for which were the same as those which were primary basis for New Jersey Master's recommendation that Fagan be disbarred.

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:


               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
         
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2