Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Spitzer moves ahead on ethics Legislators should follow his lead

Newsday Editorial

"When it comes to how politicians operate, it's always wise to pay more attention to what they do than to what they say. On that basis, Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer is off to an encouraging start. During the campaign, Spitzer said all the right things about establishing new ethical standards for state government. Now he has taken steps to turn those words into action. For instance, Spitzer announced last week that as governor he will not accept fees for speaking engagements or appear in taxpayer-funded advertisements promoting the state. That's a sharp contrast with Gov. George Pataki's practices during the past 12 years. Spitzer also said that he will limit individual gifts to his campaign to $10,000 (the current limit is $50,000), place more stringent limits on lobbying by appointees who leave the governor's office, and eliminate fund-raising events in Albany during the legislative session. And he said he will not accept contributions from members of his administration whom he can hire and fire, so as to avoid the perception that they have to make donations to keep their jobs. Now the trick will be to convince the leaders of the State Legislature to pass laws applying Spitzer's rules to the legislators as well as the executive branch. Already Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) is scoffing at the limit on fund-raisers on days the legislature is in session. Ethics reform always has been a game of cat and mouse in Albany. As soon as new regulations are passed, Albany insiders begin to look for ways through, around and over them. If Spitzer is serious, this is the beginning of the game, not the end. "

Eliot is serious.....this is just a glimpse of Day One............andy

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