Silver's conviction renews call for ethics reform

The conviction of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is renewing the call for more far-reaching ethics reform in Albany. Some government watchdog groups think lawmakers will have no choice

News 12 Staff

Dec 2, 2015, 3:21 AM

Updated 3,118 days ago

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The conviction of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is renewing the call for more far-reaching ethics reform in Albany.
Some government watchdog groups think lawmakers will have no choice but to pass new laws to try and restore the public's trust.
"I think we have reached a tipping point. I think that there is real momentum. I think the public has moved from disgust to outrage and anger," says Susan Lerner, of Common Cause.
So far, there's no indication that a new ethics bill will be proposed when lawmakers reconvene in January. Legislators did pass an ethics bill earlier this year that, among other things, sheds more light on the outside income of lawmakers. Legislative leaders have said they need time to see how effective that law becomes.
State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky (D - Long Beach) - a former federal prosecutor - says new laws are needed now. Among other things, he thinks the pensions of elected officials convicted of certain crimes should be revoked.
"If anything has been made clear, it's that if we don't do it ourselves, outside forces -- i.e. federal prosecutors -- are going to come and do it for us.
Silver was found guilty of using his political office to earn nearly $5 million in kickbacks and bribes. His convictions carry a combined maximum prison term of 130 years.
His attorneys are planning to appeal Silver's conviction.
 


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