Best Of

Best Mostly Symbolic, Incremental, but Still Something Anti-Corruption Measure


The New York State legislature is basically a pothead high school sophomore: Every year it dicks around for three months and then pulls a panicked, Monster Energy–fueled all-nighter and passes several hundred bills in one day. Among the many, many bills Albany legislators half-assed this year was a (comically watered-down) ethics reform package. In a year when Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, the former leaders of both of New York’s legislative chambers, were sent to the hoosegow on corruption charges, we might have expected something more than a vague gesture toward shutting down the never-ending Albany party. But the final legislation is not all bad: It includes some new financial disclosure requirements for consultants, ensures that crooked pols will be stripped of their pensions, and strengthens rules that keep politicians from coordinating spending with outside groups. These are baby steps, but they are, technically, steps. And while the whole thing can be read as a cynical sop to good-government groups, the fact that the legislature felt the need to produce something — anything — might be a sign that further reforms will gain more traction. Then again, this is New York, so we’re probably doomed.