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Paterson vetoes ethics bill, wants stronger measures

ALBANY - Gov. David A. Paterson yesterday vetoed an ethics bill approved by the legislature to police itself, but which Paterson said was too weak for an Albany long mired in ethical muck.

"While there are positive aspects of this legislation, it does not go far enough in addressing the corrosive effects of outside influence and internal decay that have caused the people of New York to lose faith and trust in their government," Paterson said.

The veto created the latest and most heated conflict in several months of stormy relations between Paterson and the legislature, which sought the ethics win going into this year's elections.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the "measure would be a crucial first step in restoring the people's faith in their government." He wouldn't say if he would try to negotiate a compromise with Paterson.

Lawmakers said they would try to negotiate a compromise with the Democratic governor, despite months of conflicts with him. But the Senate's Democratic majority was ready for an override attempt, even though Republicans needed for the two-thirds vote said they wanted to work on a stronger measure.

The bill would require lawmakers to disclose more of their outside business interests and require them to say broadly how much outside income they earned. It also would force greater disclosure by lobbyists, including naming which lawmakers they are courting, and would create an enforcer of campaign finance laws.

But Paterson said he wants term limits, disclosure of legislators' law clients to avoid conflicts of interest, and a method that avoids direct appointment of enforcement boards by the officials the boards would police.

Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, said he was disappointed by Paterson's veto. He said the measure, which had overwhelming bipartisan support "would have significantly strengthened ethics laws."

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