Restoring Public Trust
For far too long, Albany’s reputation had been tarnished by scandal and corruption. During his first year in office, Governor Cuomo led the effort to enact the comprehensive Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, which helped bring accountability, transparency, and integrity back to New York State government. Among its many reforms, the new law requires state officials to make unprecedented disclosure of their income, assets, and outside clients/customers to whom they have provided services or acted to refer or solicit for their firm. The legislation also creates a public database of all lobbyists, strengthens lobbying restrictions, and ensures pension forfeiture for public officials who are convicted of a felony related to their office. It also establishes a new Joint Commission on Public Ethics to oversee the Executive branch, the Legislative branch, and lobbyists.
In 2014, as part of the budget agreement, the Governor ensured the enactment of tough new anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws, a test of public financing of elections at the state level dedicated to the 2014 Comptroller’s race, the establishment of an independent enforcement counsel at the Board of Elections, increased transparency of political contributors to independent expenditure committees, and disclosure of the outside clients or customers of State Legislators who had been referred by registered lobbyists.
To lessen the impact of politics on redistricting, the Governor worked to put in place a process to amend the New York State Constitution to eliminate partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts.