Albany Oxymoron


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That would be: “ethics legislation.”

There’s an old saying that a camel is “a horse created by committee.” If that’s true, what is an ethics commission created by our Legislature?  Whatever it is, it ain’t a thing of beauty. The TU reports:

More than a year after state leaders passed what they called “landmark” ethics legislation, the commission that is supposed to make sure legislators aren’t breaking the law is itself not following the law.

Under the terms of the ethics reform agreement, all nine appointments were supposed to be made within 30 days of the bill’s passage on April 26, 2007. None of the appointments were made within the deadline.

The law also said the commission must launch a Web site within 120 days of the bill’s passage. A bare-bones Web site was launched in late March, nine months after the deadline. It included only an annual report but no advisory opinions…

The law mandates that the commission publish generic advisory opinions on the Web site, answering ethics questions frequently asked by legislators…

The commission hasn’t started working on the generic opinions. “We haven’t discussed it yet, but we will be addressing it very soon,” [Commission Executive Director Melissa] Ryan said.

O.K. So it’s up and running a bit slowly. But they’re doing something, are they not? Well,

In several instances the commission never took action against lawmakers who had been accused or convicted of crimes:

Assemblywoman Diane Gordon, D-Brooklyn, who was convicted Tuesday of trying to have a private developer build her a $500,000 home for a dollar in exchange for arranging a $2 million land deal.

Sen. Efrain Gonzalez, D-Bronx, who is awaiting trial on federal charges that he funneled nearly half a million taxpayer dollars through a charity to finance his cigar company, buy Yankees tickets and pay his daughter’s tuition.

Former Sen. Guy Velella, R-Bronx, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for steering public works contracts to favored bidders for kickbacks.

I’d love to see this commission’s annual report.

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