Lupardo Announces Agreement on Ethics Reform Package

Legislation would crack down on gifts from lobbyists

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) announced that the Assembly, Senate and governor have reached agreement on a landmark ethics reform package that will curtail gifts from lobbyists to legislators, and create a comprehensive watchdog agency to ensure the integrity of state government. Lupardo is one of the sponsors of the legislation (A.3736) in the Assembly.

The agreement would:

  • create a permanent watchdog on ethics issues by merging the Temporary State Commission on Lobbying and the State Ethics Commission into a new entity, the Commission on Public Integrity;
  • ban virtually all gifts of more than a nominal value from registered lobbyists to public officials, and expand the gift ban so that lobbyists who appear before boards that include unpaid board members cannot give gifts to those unpaid board members;
  • strictly limit lobbyists from paying or reimbursing travel and accommodation expenses of a public official;
  • increases penalties for violations of the lobbying law and public officers law;
  • strengthen the revolving door provisions that apply to legislative employees by prohibiting them from lobbying the Legislature for two years;
  • prohibit public officials from being paid for speeches;
  • prohibit elected officials and candidates for elected local, state or federal office from appearing in taxpayer-funded advertisements;
  • prohibit gifts from the spouses or children of lobbyists to the spouses or children of public officials in order to gain influence; and,
  • require lobbyists to list their actions seeking grants on their lobbying reports.

“The reforms agreed upon by the Legislature and Governor Spitzer will close loopholes, reduce the influence of lobbyists on our democratic process and help restore public confidence in state government,” Lupardo said. “I will continue working for more ways to make state government more open, efficient and accountable.”