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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Paterson Seeks Overhaul to Combat Corruption

Paterson Seeks Overhaul to Combat Corruption
The New York Times by NICHOLAS CONFESSORE - January 5, 2010

ALBANY, NY — Gov. David A. Paterson on Wednesday will unveil a set of sweeping proposals to rein in political corruption in state government, including vastly expanded ethics oversight, term limits for all state officeholders and a system of public campaign financing modeled on New York City’s, administration officials said on Monday. Under the proposed legislation, which Mr. Paterson will make a centerpiece of his State of the State address on Wednesday, New York would for the first time provide matching funds to candidates for state office, limit lobbyists to contributions no larger than $250 and ban corporate contributions entirely. The maximum contribution for any candidate for state office, including the governor, would fall to $1,000 from $55,900, and the limits would apply to candidates who opt out of public financing. Mr. Paterson is also proposing to sharply limit contributions to each party’s so-called housekeeping accounts, where special interests may now deposit five- and six-figure checks with few restrictions, and ban bundling — the practice by which lobbyists and others collect contributions on behalf of a candidate. While bills to create public financing have passed the Assembly many times, the expanded ethics oversight and term limits are expected to be a difficult sell in both houses of the Legislature, which has been slow to consider tougher ethics laws. And the governor’s relationship with lawmakers has deteriorated as he publicly blamed them for failing to take action on the state budget shortfall.

The legislation would effectively dismantle Albany’s existing campaign finance system, in which corporations and labor unions deposit millions of dollars into central housekeeping accounts controlled by party leaders, who then use that money to finance individual candidates, making rank-and-file lawmakers dependent on the leaders. Perhaps most controversially, Mr. Paterson will propose limiting statewide officials — the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and comptroller — to two four-year terms each, while members of the Legislature would be permitted six two-year terms. Such a change would require an amendment to the State Constitution. Mr. Paterson is also including in his package a proposal he made last year to centralize ethics enforcement in Albany with a single independent commission charged with enforcing the state’s ethics and campaign finance laws. The new commission would also have the legal authority to refer criminal and civil cases to the attorney general, who, under current law, has limited jurisdiction over political corruption cases. Taken together, the proposals amount to the most ambitious ever suggested by a sitting governor in New York, where ethics enforcement has historically been weak and limits on campaign cash are among the least stringent in the nation. “It’s everything,” said Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a government watchdog organization. “It’s the kitchen sink and the stopper.”

Mr. Paterson first suggested a revamped ethics commission last May, but the idea failed to generate support from legislators, who, under current law, are policed by an oversight board appointed by Assembly and Senate leaders. But that was before the failed State Senate coup in June, the defeat of several high-profile elected officials in November and the conviction in December of Joseph L. Bruno, the former Senate majority leader, for corruption. Mr. Paterson and his aides say that with the public’s opinion of the Legislature at a historic low, and anti-incumbent sentiment running high, lawmakers will agree to support at least some portions of the governor’s proposal, if only out of self-preservation. “There needs to be change,” said one administration official involved in devising the proposal, who insisted on anonymity because the full package has not been finalized. “Big money rules Albany now. Our campaign finance laws are a joke. And I think the public wants this.” But Mr. Paterson is pushing for the overhaul at a time when his efforts to guide New York through its worst fiscal crisis in generations have been thwarted by a powerful and well-financed alliance of state lawmakers, public employee unions and health care interests.

The very breadth of Mr. Paterson’s proposal suggests how depleted his political capital is: With difficulty raising money for his own election campaign and many lawmakers balking at his budget proposals, the governor has little to lose by calling for big changes. As currently drafted, Mr. Paterson’s package does not address one major problem that was highlighted during Mr. Bruno’s trial: the lack of disclosure from lawmakers, who technically work part time, about their outside business arrangements. (Mr. Bruno was convicted of deceiving the public about payments he received from a businessman who was seeking contracts and other aid from the state.) Administration officials said that the final proposal would touch on the issue, but they declined to provide further details on Monday. While praising the breadth of Mr. Paterson’s proposals, Mr. Horner said that the true test for the governor was what he could actually get passed. Some elements of Mr. Paterson’s plan may earn a warmer welcome in the Legislature. There is already significant support among Democratic lawmakers for public financing of campaigns. Mr. Paterson previously opposed such legislation on the grounds that New York could not afford it — advocates put the cost at about $30 million a year — during a fiscal crisis. To address that concern, the governor would phase in public financing in 2012.


Anonymous said...

Saint Andrew, Patron Saint of Crooked Lawyers and Judges, clarion call to his beneficiaries; send more money to his campaign. Paterson is a desperate man without the backbone to rake in wealth the way Saint Andrew does. Saint Andrew knows how hard you worked to extract your money and he'll not let a loser's populism take it away.

Anonymous said...

Paterson doesn't know how corrupt the bastards are and for anyone who has a heart it is difficult to believe,
Rake in the wealth, just pay off some law suit and then that lawyer will contribute a small percentage to contributions............
The only hope Paterson has is to expose the bastards,
Hey Paterson, we want you on TV, telling the public how corrupt the system is and how you are going to change it.........
Governor holds press conferences and insites the public to make the necessary changes in NY!

Where are the outraged press conferences to denounce gross abuses of public trust? Where is rush of proposals to ban private businesses from gov't offices to require full disclosure of legislators outside incomes, to finally create a truly tough, truly independent ethic watchdog in Albany? WHERE IS JOE'S LAW?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that the NYS legislature is considered part-time. That is probably the reason outside employment is allowed.

Why shouldn't the position be considered full-time or prohibit outside employment?

They get enought money and perks without this obvious conflict of interest

Anonymous said...

The atty general has limited jurisdiction over political corruption cases...means what?

OCA is fighting federal lawsuits that allege civil and criminal corruption charges with the help of the ATTY GENERAL AND THEIR OWN OCA'S COUNSEL'S OFFICE...and the advice of thousands of attys and judges in NY STATE...while the poor sole pltf who bring the action is left totally unrepresented , with case delays for months and years without anyone to assist them in functioning around the "thousands" of other legal minds solicited to keep federal court from dispensing justice!

Justice delayed, as that phrase justice denied!

So....the AG'S office does have jurisdiction over political corruption cases...but only to defend the politicians and judges from exposure of said corruption. So...why not just lay it out the way it really is.....the NY.. AG... takes our money for their salaries to work very hard to then rape us of every right we are guaranteed...under the state and federal constitution.

Why can't OCA use their counsel's office exclusively...and not solicite the AG to fight these battles with they are doing now.... against one single citizen...who should be represented by the AG?

OCA is a coward beating up on ethical sole individuals...where they believe that they are somehow displaying potentcy and power
...without realizing that these abuses are the weakness that will be their demise!

Anonymous said...

Paterson here is an inside BERNADETTE E. LUPINETTI.ESQ. a true danger to public safety and a danger to children and families...ask the AG office why she has escaped investigations for her crimes and if he has something to do with her husband..She is a fixer upper truly mentally disturbed.

Anonymous said...

why would the State AG investigate and charge the State with crimes,
if the State is committing crimes why doesn't a Federal Agency Investigate and charge the State.....

Anonymous said...

they would think twice about those "consulting fees" and other payoffs..............

Anonymous said...

the AG has limited ability to investigate political corruption case means........
the second you mention felonies or fraud being committed by lawyer, judge, public officials or Attorney Grievance etc they will not investigate..........
just perform "favors" for any of the above and you will have rights!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many favors did the Lupinetti's do for the AG's Office..

Anonymous said...

keep on Luinetti back and I'll return the favors to George...
"what works for the" low lifes "is holding them accountable and publically critizing them, you can send a message...that we are not satified with the crumbs off the table they're giving us"
almost a direct quote from George, returning the favor!

Anonymous said...

Paterson, we the Citizens have been requesting a Family Tree of Employees in Maziarz Distirct,Maziarz friends sometimes also called as the Friends & Family Plan aka Friends & Felony Plan
so a tree would be appropriate to be filed by May 15 also and all disbursements should be fully disclosed, even on the net!

Anonymous said...

When a state employee sues a state agency, as in the OCA, the AG represents the employer usually in any lawsuit...but if it as I have stated..employee versus the state employer, and the AG automatically chooses the do I know what law is in place to condone and support this!

OCA has it's own atty pool that is handling this federal lawsuit...but they are working as co-counsel with the AG ....against the single now attyless employee...besides every other legal force they can muster.

The employee is then denied due process....all around.

As far as charging OCA officially with I just did 4 months ago, in a signed, litigation discovery mode and atty distributed to the AG...I FIND MY FEDERAL COURT CASE STALLED...... WITH FEDERAL COURT IGNORING MY WRITTEN INQUIRIES AS TO STATUS AND TIMELINESS!

My atty went into a state government job a few days after the service of these criminal alllegation affidavits, so I have no representation to guide any future requests for status or information, as to whether the feds will be investigating my allegations of criminal conduct by OCA employees. So who knows why the federal level is not concerned about my charges, that have non court employees as witnesses and more affidavits to come...charging even more serious crimes, which I may have to serve pro se.

I feel that because I have officially charged OCA with crimes in the 5th year of litigation the direction of the local FBI...that I AM now part do we clean this up from here...from both courts...and that is creating the stall process.


Anonymous said...

To 10:03,

Why isn't the FBI investigating and only directing you? It is there function to investigate. They supposedly have a division for public corruption.

I know that the office in NYC has ignored complaints (at least they did two years ago when I spoke to the agent in charge).

I also have a case pending in NYSD which seems to be the netherworld of the court.

Anonymous said...

The FBI contacted me in 2006 about court corruption and seemed very interested at first..but their comment to me was...your particular case we are not interested in..even though I showed them my damaged car, phone calls and the altered transcript, etc...and the male agent would not allow the female agent..just like real look further at the 2 transcripts I presented to her..even though she agreed with me that the transcripts I had appeared to be from 2 different sources with definite alterations!

The FBI said that if I was concerned about OCA and criminal activities they were doing against me at my personal home with my family present.... then my only solution was to have....the FEDERAL COURT JUDGE INVESTIGATE.

So...I had to wait until the discovery process was employed 3 yrs later...which OCA cancelled many times and at the last minute.

OCA and THE FBI believe that I have incriminating evidense and therefore the FBI scrammed and OCA scammed...and stalled!


OCA is keeping me from that oath under penalties of perjury..because we both know that what OCA participated in was a "conspiracy and a conspiracy to commit perjury"...investigated fact!

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
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