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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Eric Friedman
(212) 382-6754
Kathryn Inman
212-382-6656

About the Association

The New York City Bar Association (www.nycbar.org) was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.

REFORMING NEW YORK STATE ETHICS LAWS THE RIGHT WAY

New York , March 5, 2010 – In a new report sent to lawmakers in Albany, the New York City Bar Association urges the Legislature to come together to enact truly comprehensive and effective ethics reform measures. While acknowledging that “…the prospects for ethics reform during this legislative session are now unclear at best,” the report, entitled “Reforming New York State Ethics Laws the Right Way,” emphasizes five core principles that the City Bar’s Government Ethics and State Affairs Committees consider key to reform:

  • Creating a single independent ethics agency that would be principally responsible for overseeing and enforcing ethics laws for the executive branch, the Legislature and lobbyists alike
  • Safeguarding the independence and integrity of the ethics agency by designating a commission to appoint it, with input from multiple elected officials; only appointing former elected officials or lobbyists after a substantial cooling-off period; appointing agency officials for fixed terms longer than the governor’s term; and ensuring due process for individuals investigated by the agency
  • Safeguarding the strength and effectiveness of the agency by giving the agency powers to subpoena, impose civil sanctions, make criminal referrals, audit, and issue advisory opinions
  • Providing for full and meaningful disclosure of legislators’ outside income, including that of legislators who are also attorneys, with limited exceptions; full disclosure of such income on the web; and express forbiddance of the use of public resources for private endeavors
  • Assuring that Senators and Assembly Members are no longer the principal police of their own ethics, by assigning that role to the independent ethics agency

The report states, “The Association appreciates that the principles outlined above go beyond the bill recently passed by the Legislature but vetoed by the Governor. We also appreciate that the perfect should never be the enemy of the good….The current momentum and political capital for ethics reform should be spent on getting it right.”

About the Association

The New York City Bar Association (www.nycbar.org) was founded in 1870, and since then has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the profession, promoting reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.