The Committee to Reform the State Constitution to target corruption and the pay-to-play culture in Albany has issued a report of legislators supporting their efforts and Assemblyman Joe DeStefano said he is proud to be one of them.
The Anti-Corruption Amendment to the Constitution would replace the state’s weak and politically-controlled ethics boards with a single independent body with broad sanctioning power. “This would provide a real watchdog over Albany and go a long way toward reducing the outrageous taxes and fees we are forced to pay due to government corruption,” Assemblyman DeStefano said.
To see just how badly compromised state government really is, you need only look at the convictions of the leaders of both the senate and assembly, as well as one of Gov. Cuomo’s top aides, on corruption charges.
“Fighting corruption in state government is one of my top priorities and I will help lead the campaign for the Anti-Corruption Amendment,” DeStefano promised.
According to the Committee to Reform the State Constitution, “The cornerstone of the proposal is an enforcement body sufficiently independent to be above political pressure. The current structure for enforcing the State Code of Ethics is just the opposite. As few as two of the governor’s appointments to the 14-member Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) can veto an investigation or adverse determination. A JCOPE commissioner recently resigned because of a breakdown of a rule designed to insulate commissioners from political pressure and JCOPE’s failure to determine accountability for that failure.”
In Albany, JCOPE is known as J-Joke. It is an embarrassment to the state and rather than increasing public confidence in government, it actually reduces it. “I believe that establishing independent and effective ethics enforcement is a vital first step to restoring public trust in government and enforcing the principle that no one, not even powerful politicians, are above the law. Real ethics enforcement is our first line of defense against political corruption and an effective way to strengthen the voice of the people by reducing the conflicting power of special interests,” DeStefano said.
“I am urging my colleagues, as well as public officials and citizens across the state, to fight for the Constitutional Amendment to bring about real ethics reform in our state. It may be our only hope to clean up Albany and end its abusive pay-to-play culture.”
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