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Ethics reform deal calls for greater transparency in Albany

Cuomo

Cuomo Photo Credit: Getty

Groundbreaking legislation could be unveiled as soon as today that will force greater transparency for Albany lawmakers and seek to prevent ethical lapses that have plagued the Capitol.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with bipartisan support from Senate and Assembly leaders, announced Friday that an ethics reform deal was reached, calling it the “Clean Up Albany Act of 2011.”

While more details will be released when the bill is introduced, supporters said it would require legislators to disclose ranges of their outside income and clients they have who do business with the state.

To create even more oversight of the Legislature, a new Joint Commission on Public Ethics would have the ability to investigate illicit dealings of members and the governor.

Additionally, any state employee convicted of a crime could be stripped of their pension or lose some of it under new civil forfeiture proceedings.

Last year, then-Gov. David Paterson vetoed an ethics bill for lacking teeth. Cuomo, who ran on a promise of “cleaning up Albany,” said the latest measure “is the tough and aggressive approach we need.” Public advocacy groups have hailed the proposal.

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