ALBANY - Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Tuesday that there’s no appetite in the Legislature to prohibit lawmakers from having outside jobs even as the body’s former leaders are being tried on corruption charges related to private-sector income and their public-sector work.
“I think whatever happens as the result of the trial is not relevant,” said Heastie (D-Bronx) before a pre-session meeting with the Assembly’s Democratic majority. “If you have outside income you should disclose it and have no conflicts of interests.”
Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) is on trial over fees he collected as a private attorney. Silver had reported in his required ethics filings that he made at least $650,000 a year working for a law firm part-time, but he is accused of using his leadership post to collect millions of dollars in fees in exchange for official actions.
Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) is on trial and accused of helping arrange a job for his son, Adam, in exchange for the senator’s official actions. Federal prosecutors also said Skelos didn’t practice law for his outside income of up to $250,000 a year, but instead used his leadership position to attract clients, including those doing business with the state.
Heastie said the greater disclosure requirements adopted in April haven’t yet fully taken effect and officials want to see how effective they are before taking more action.
“We should see where that goes,” Heastie said. “If it gets to the point of ‘no outside income’ -- I don’t think we’re there yet. I don’t think the Senate is there yet.”