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AG race: Schneiderman promises office to fight L.I. corruption

 Without mentioning (at least off the bat) the law-enforcement role of his rival for the Democratic nomination for AG, Nassau D.A. Kathleen Rice, Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan) issued this interesting announcement today:


NEW YORK – As part of his sweeping reform plan to restore trust in government, Eric Schneiderman today called for the placement of a public integrity officer in the Attorney General’s Long Island offices, as well as the other regional offices across the state to police local government corruption.

These officers will give local citizens a place to take complaints where they know they can and will be examined without the fear that local politics might influence the outcome. Local governments in New York operate with little oversight and few ethical rules and yet handle billions of taxpayer dollars.

“When it comes to rooting out local public corruption, the people of Long Island need a full-time cop on the beat. Having a public integrity officer here will go a long way to cleaning up corruption and addressing the concerns of local taxpayers. As Attorney General, I will bring both a 'top down' and 'bottom-up' approach to reforming our state and give taxpayers the government they deserve. We cannot clean house in Albany, while leaving corruption hidden in the nooks and crannies of local governments and special districts,” said Eric Schneiderman.

In addition to the aforementioned plan to add a local Public Integrity officer to key regions throughout the state, Schneiderman just unveiled a sweeping 22,500-word legal, legislative and administrative plan that is by far the most comprehensive set of reform proposals released by any candidate in this race.

The components of Schneiderman's plan to restore trust in government include:

Using longstanding AG powers to investigate businesses that illegally conspire with public officials; dramatically expanding the use of the 2007 New York State False Claims Act as a weapon to promote public integrity and fight public corruption; assigning prosecutors who are public integrity specialists to assist in prosecutions by district attorneys; and expanding Attorney General Cuomo’s “Project Sunlight” to ensure greater transparency in government;

Requesting that the Governor use existing law to grant the Attorney General universal authority to investigate and prosecute political corruption cases under Executive Law. He will then work to have this grant of authority written permanently into law.

Fighting for broad legislative reform, including: creating a full-time legislature to reduce conflicts of interest; strengthening notoriously weak ethics and campaign finance laws; providing full public financing for campaigns; mandating fair and impartial redistricting; removing sole control of pension investments from the Comptroller; and mandating automatic expulsion from the Legislature upon a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence.

“Eric has worked with Citizen Action for campaign reform for more than a decade, first as a lawyer and now as a lawmaker. We've seen first hand that Eric’s commitment and track record as a progressive reformer are unparalleled in this race. As Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman will usher in a new era of reform that will make New York and its government a national model, rather than a disgrace,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York.

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