Through its recent decision in Ognibene v. Parkes, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a constitutional challenge of New York City’s political contribution limits on “lobbyists” and others having business dealings with the City (a/k/a the “pay-to-play” rules), finding that such limits do not violate First Amendment free speech rights.
Having apparently abandoned all hope of reforming New York’s Congressional delegation, Governor Cuomo has concluded that it’s time to focus on New York State ethics and disclosure. This week, Governor Cuomo announced that he, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had reached a three-way agreement on a substantial ethics reform package. The “Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011″ proposes sweeping changes across a number of ethical disciplines.
New York State Attorney General and Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo has announced additional settlements in his investigation of “pay-to-play” practices and conflicts of interest at public pension funds. Veteran Albany lobbyist Patricia Lynch Associates, Inc. will pay a $500,000 fine and be banned for a period of five years from appearing before the State Comptroller’s Office. The State Comptroller is the sole trustee of New York State’s approximately $133 billion Common Retirement Fund (CRF).
Recently, New York’s Attorney General filed legal pleadings rebutting the assertion that there is nothing inherently wrong with using political connections and favors to secure state contracts because “everybody does it”.
The failure of the New York Assembly to override Governor Patterson’s veto of its much-publicized ethics package highlights the pitfalls facing state legislators seeking to implement less than comprehensive reform.
Governor David Paterson has announced his plans to combat corruption and ethics violations through the “Reform Albany Act,” which calls for numerous changes in reporting and oversight.
The latest in New York pay-to-play includes Elliott Broidy, chairman of Markstone Capital Group, pleading guilty to a felony charge of rewarding official misconduct as well as the Attorney General’s investigation implicating former state Comptroller Hevesi.
New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has ordered dozens of charities to take back illegal political contributions, or risk losing their tax-exempt status, [the New York Post has reported]. Cuomo has uncovered improper campaign contributions by not-for-profit organizations to New York State lawmakers and New York City council members. Federal and state laws… Continue Reading
The pay-to-play probe related to U.S. public pension systems led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department has claimed another victim. Bloomberg reports today that New Mexico’s chief investment officer has resigned after being drawn into the nationwide investigation.
New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has announced guilty pleas by Raymond Harding, former Chair of the New York State Liberal Party, and Saul Meyer, a founding partner of Aldus Equity, with respect to pay-to-play schemes involving the New York State Common Retirement Fund ("CRF"). Harding admitted to participating in a scheme to corrupt… Continue Reading
The contentious upcoming criminal trial of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik represents an increasingly common willingness among federal and state prosecutors to use criminal “honest services” and corruption statutes to address alleged “pay to play” violations. This case, and others like it, represent the culmination of a conscious decision among the prosecutors and… Continue Reading
On September 23, 2009, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced a ban on pay-to-play practices related to the $116.5 billion dollar New York State Common Retirement Fund (the “CRF”). The Comptroller issued an Executive Order and Interim Policy that prohibits the CRF from doing business with any outside Investment Adviser within two years… Continue Reading