Gaughran Calls For Real Ethics Reforms To Clean Up Albany
(Huntington, NY) Jim Gaughran today unveiled a comprehensive ethics reform plan which, when passed, will take meaningful steps to clean up Albany and restore the public’s trust in state government. Despite overwhelming public support for real ethics reforms, current Senator Carl Marcellino has repeatedly blocked efforts to end Albany corruption and has even exploited loopholes to benefit himself and line his own pockets.
“Long Island voters are tired of the corruption and scandals that have rocked state government and yet Senator Marcellino has ignored his constituents and has actually benefitted from the corrupt state quo in Albany,” Jim Gaughran said. “Our communities deserve new leadership and a State Senator who will work to clean up corruption, not be part of the problem. Carl Marcellino has proven that he will not fix our broken political system or take any real steps to reform state government, and Long Island families deserve better from our State Senator.”
Jim announced his support for a series of ethics reform measures that will fight corruption, increase transparency, hold elected officials more accountable and take meaningful steps to finally restore New Yorkers’ trust in state government. The ethics reform measures supported by Jim Gaughran include:
• Tough Restrictions On Campaign Account Spending: Under Jim’s common sense plan, politicians would no longer be able to use campaign accounts as personal ATMs. Too many officials, especially Senator Carl Marcellino, have used campaign funds for personal gain or to line their own pockets. Jim’s plan would require more specific disclosures on how campaign accounts are spent and restrict them from being used for personal gain or frivolous expenses. This proposal was part of the Moreland Commission’s recommendations to clean up Albany, but Senator Marcellino has continued to block this important reform from being passed.
• Barring the Use of Campaign Money for Criminal Defense: This common sense protection would outlaw campaign funds from being used for attorney’s fees or any costs for defending against criminal or civil prosecution for alleged violations of any state or federal law. Despite being overwhelmingly supported by Long Island voters, Carl Marcellino fought against implementing this ethics reform into law.
• Recall Elections For Officials Whose Corrupt Actions Harm Taxpayers: This ambitious initiative would allow New Yorkers to petition to recall elected leaders if a municipality’s bond rating were lowered to ‘junk status’ due to corruption. Residents would also be able to petition for the recall of local elected officials who were aware of the corruption and refused to take action. Citizens would file a petition with a State Supreme Court Justice who would then determine if the official’s action or failure to act led to the drop in bond rating. If the judge determines wrongdoing was committed, citizens would then be empowered to file a recall petition with the appropriate Board of Elections. This step would protect against frivolous or retaliatory recall efforts, and ensure that any recall petitions be carefully reviewed and considered before elections are authorized.
• Closing Campaign Finance Loopholes: This initiative will close a loophole that currently allows wealthy individuals to circumvent the cap on campaign giving and unduly influence elections by using limited liability companies (LLCs) to donate massive amounts of money to candidates. This loophole helped contribute to the Dean Skelos corruption scandal, and closing it would help ensure such breaches of the public trust don’t happen again.
Poll after poll has found that New Yorkers remain deeply disappointed with the corruption crisis in Albany, with more than 80% of voters calling the need to pass ethics reforms “very important.” Despite these facts and the overwhelming will of the Long Island voters, Senator Carl Marcellino has repeatedly voted against ethics reform bills and has actually benefitted from the lax campaign account regulations. The fact that Carl Marcellino continues to block efforts to clean up Albany and increase transparency on how campaign funds are spent simply adds insult to injury.
“Elected officials are supposed to put the public’s need first, not exploit loopholes to line their pockets and enrich themselves. Unfortunately, Senator Marcellino has proven over his twenty plus years in Albany that his is more interested in benefitting from the corrupt status quo than in cleaning up state government and restoring the public’s trust. By lining his pockets with tax dollars to pay for campaign expenses, Carl Marcellino simply proves that no real ethics reforms will ever be passed in Albany so long as he’s our State Senator,” Jim Gaughran concluded.