Kathy Hochul’s lame ethical reforms miss the point
Governor Kathy Hochul’s grand proposals for “ethical reform” are strangely irrelevant, as if she wanted to Something but has no idea how to approach New York’s real corruption issues.
As a key part of her first state of state speech on Wednesday, her staff said she would be proposing term limits and a ban on outside income for state officials: what a joke.
Yes, the ban on external income is addressed to the disgraced ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo’s $ 5.1 million accounting windfall. But this is the only such abuse by a governor, state attorney general, or registered comptroller, and is unlikely to be repeated even without a ban. State officials who earn a lot of money on the outside have long been lawmakers, and these incomes have already been limited recently.
Regarding tenure limits: while some governments, MAs, and controllers may have passed their welcome, no one is suggesting that the problem is a major driver of mass state government dysfunction, let alone a serious ethical problem. Once again, endless “service” is a far greater source of corruption when it comes to the legislature.
“With these bold reforms, we will ensure that New Yorkers know their leaders are working for them and focused on serving the people of this state,” Hochul said in a statement on Monday. Since reforms are anything corn bold, they are nothing more than a cover for business as usual.
If Hochul Wednesday doesn’t at least come up with a serious plan to replace the State Joint Commission on Public Ethics with a real watchdog, you can mark her as part of the problem.