Friday, January 19, 2007

Eliot considers ethics czar to police state pols

New York Daily News Joe Mahoney

More "Day 1" changes coming up folks........andy

ALBANY - Gov. Spitzer has quietly begun to push for a new ethics enforcer over state lawmakers, Capitol insiders said yesterday.
"People are not comfortable with the idea of legislators policing themselves, which is the way things are being done now," a source familiar with the governor's proposals told the Daily News.
The current legislative ethics committees, made up solely of lawmakers, has been criticized by government watchdogs for taking a "hear no evil, see no evil" approach to their task and failing to impose sanctions on rule-breaking legislators.
Aides to Spitzer have also begun floating the idea of merging the state Lobbying Commission, which regulates lobbyists, with the state Ethics Commission, which oversees the conduct of those working for the executive branch and state agencies.
Spitzer also wants to ban all gifts to lawmakers and stop them from spending campaign funds on what they say are expenses associated with their office.
Under current rules, lawmakers are allowed to accept gifts valued under $75.

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