anti-corruption

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It’s been a week since a federal corruption investigation exploded in New York state, bringing fraud and bribery and charges against developers and state officials for allegedly running a pay-to-play scheme involving upstate economic development projects.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo admits it’s been an emotional time for him personally because one of the accused, Joseph Percoco, is a former top aide and a longtime Cuomo family friend.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

It’s just over three weeks until the legislative session is scheduled to end, and hopes for reform are fading, during an unprecedented level of corruption in state government.

sebastien.barre / Flickr

A study by a reform group finds that if New York were to ban outside income for lawmakers, it would actually effect only a small number of legislators.

azipaybarah / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the current legislative leaders have downplayed efforts for new reforms in Albany following the conviction of the former Assembly Speaker on seven counts of corruption. 

Former Speaker Assembly Silver is now facing up to 20 years in prison for illegally gaining millions of dollars through his outside employment. Former Senate Leader Dean Skelos is in the midst of another federal corruption trial, accused of misusing his influence to gain jobs and money for his son.

Ellory Smith / WHMT

The state legislative session is scheduled to end June 17 and a ranking Senate Democrat says there's a lot to be done. But Sen. Mike Gianaris of New York City says he thinks it's a mistake to end the session without acting on ethics reform -- in a year where both leaders of the legislature have resigned over corruption charges. Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt interviewed Gianaris about the state of ethics in Albany.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Government watch dog groups say the arrest of one of the two most powerful men in the New York legislature on fraud and corruption charges highlights the need for better state laws against wrong doing. Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted that the charges against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are “a bad reflection on government."

Silver faces five federal counts, including bribery and conspiracy. He was released on $200,000 bail Thursday.

Diana Robinson / Flickr

A Quinnipiac University poll shows the race for governor is virtually unchanged since the spring, with incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo far ahead of his Republican and Democratic challengers. 

The favorable ratings for Cuomo come after weeks of negative news stories about the governor’s alleged interference in an ethics panel and an ongoing federal investigation.

The Quinnipiac poll is the third in recent weeks that show the governor’s race in New York remains stagnant, with Cuomo ahead of Republican challenger Rob Astorino by nearly 25 percentage points.

Zack Seward / WXXI

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not held any public appearances since a potentially damaging New York Times story that reported that his top aide interfered in a corruption probe when it focused on Cuomo donors. But on Monday morning, the governor is scheduled to visit the University of Buffalo, where the press will try to ask him questions about the Moreland Act Commission and his office's involvement.

Cuomo’s political challengers leaped on The Times story, that alleges a top aide to Cuomo squelched subpoenas to the governor’s donors and associates.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

New York's top fiscal watchdog says he has been directly involved in fighting political corruption in the state. His opponent for state comptroller in November's election says otherwise.

Will 2014 be the year of reform?

Jan 1, 2014

2013 saw more state lawmakers indicted, jailed, convicted, and even participating in the wire tapping some of their colleagues. The continued corruption spurred Gov. Cuomo to appoint a commission to look into the legislature. Will 2014 be the year Albany finally sees reform?

After a new wave of indictments against state lawmakers in the spring, Cuomo tried to convince the legislature to adopt public financing of campaigns, the closing of loopholes for large donors, and better policing of the laws.

Reform groups are focusing attention on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission’s recommendations to beef up the anemic state Board of Elections, but say they have not given up hope of public campaign financing for state wide races.

The reform groups say the state Board of Elections in its present form is useless and incompetent when it comes to enforcing campaign violations, and needs to be replaced.

Blair Horner is with the New York Public Interest Research Group.

One of the most controversial recommendations in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission report released this week is to enact public financing of campaigns for statewide elections.

The majority of the 25 Moreland Act commissioners say a public campaign finance system modeled on New York City’s matching donor system is the only way to curb the undue influence of big money donors in state government.

Wallyg / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission issued a scathing report Monday evening that criticizes what the commission says is Albany’s culture of corruption and recommends numerous reforms.

The Moreland Act Commissioners describe their report as a blueprint to fix what they say is the pervasive dysfunction in Albany.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A Siena College poll this week shows that most New Yorkers don't know about the Moreland Commission, a panel of district attorneys and law enforcement officials investigating public corruption in Albany.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, says it doesn't bother him that many New Yorkers are unaware of the group's probes into public corruption. But he expects that'll change December 1, when the Moreland Commission releases it's report.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo well positioned to win re-election next year, but there are some weaknesses in his generally positive numbers.

The second public hearing held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commission to probe public corruption featured testimony from long time government reform groups. Many brought more evidence that they say shows potential corruption involving money and politics.

Protesters outside the hearing were advocating for public campaign finance reform, chanting “money out, voters in,” and displaying a wall of shame, featuring pictures and likenesses of dozens of politicians who’ve been indicted, arrested, convicted or jailed in recent years.

The co-chairwoman of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission on public corruption, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, says subpoenas have been sent out and more public hearings are planned.

Rice was at the Capitol for the third private meeting of Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission. She says several subpoenas have been issued, but they have to be kept secret for now so that the ongoing investigations won’t be jeopardized.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a Moreland Act Commission to investigate the legislature is not the first time a governor created a panel to probe state lawmakers. In fact, Cuomo’s own father did it a quarter century ago, with mixed results.

When Andrew Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was governor back in the 1980s, he also called on the powers in the now 100-year-old Moreland Act to appoint a commission to look into government corruption.

File photo/Karen DeWitt/WRVO

Former Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson turned himself in to federal authorities Monday, after being accused in a nine-count indictment of embezzling nearly half a million dollars from mortgage foreclosure accounts, and then trying to cover it up.