Cuomo, Assembly Announce Ethics Deal, Pressure On Senate

ALBANY (AP) -

Lawmakers would have to disclose their outside income and swipe an electronic card to prove they’re on the job to claim travel reimbursements under a new ethics reform proposal from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

The plan announced Wednesday, which does not yet have Senate support, would require lawmakers to report all outside income over $1,000 and make lawyers serving in the Legislature identify clients who pay more than $5,000. It would prohibit lawmakers from using campaign money for personal expenses, and a corruption conviction would mean the loss of the lawmaker’s pension.

“We have been plagued with a series of ethical violations,” Cuomo told reporters. “We need to be able to say there is a system in place that is designed to prevent such actions, detect actions if they occur and then punish them if they do.”

The Senate’s Republican majority discussed the plan on Wednesday. Cuomo wants a deal before lawmakers pass the state budget by April 1.

Cuomo faces his own ethical questions. Last summer his administration hired a criminal defense attorney after questions arose about whether a top aide pressured an anti-corruption commission not to investigate groups linked to the governor.