ALBANY – We’re No. 1 – in corruption. No other state has more legislators forced out of office by ethical or criminal issues than New York, according to a study released on Monday.
In fact, the state set a national record for the number of lawmakers kicked out, or chased out of office since, 2012, the Center for Public Integrity, a good government group, found in a new study.
We’re talking about a gold medal-winning corruption performance by New York.
– John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany
The tally of 14 lawmakers does not include former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is on trial for corruption, or his counterpart in the state Senate, former Majority Leader Dean Skelos, whose trial is scheduled for later this month.
The reported noted that Skelos is the fifth straight Senate leader to be charged with using his office illegally for personal gain.
Overall, the state received a grade of D Minus and ranked 30th in the nation — tied with Florida — for measures it has put in place for transparency and accountability.
“We’re talking about a gold medal-winning corruption performance by New York,” said John Kaehny, executive director Reinvent Albany, an advocacy group. “It’s a pretty bleak moment for public governance.”
Albany’s secretive budgeting process, commonly referred to as “three men in a room,” landed it dead last in the budgeting category, with a grade of F.
Nevertheless, the Empire State fared better than other states. Eleven received the lowest grade of F.
Alaska walked off with the highest overall grade, but that was just a C.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s independent audits earned a B+, highest in the nation in that category, helping lift the state from its dismal rating of 37th in 2012, which was the last time the survey was conducted.
The report said that DiNapoli’s office is effective “because of its robustly-funded” office, “which is headed by an elected official who is largely protected from interference by the governor or Legislature.”
“The office issues an annual report, which is publicly available and has shown little hesitation to go after state agencies, such as in a recent audit that identified $500 million in waste in the state’s Medicaid program,” the study said.
The study measured 245 “indicators” divided into 13 categories: public access to information, political financing, electoral oversight, executive accountability, legislative accountability, judicial accountability, state budget processes, state civil service management, procurement, internal auditing, lobbying disclosure, state pension fund management and ethics enforcement agencies.
SOURCE :: NYPost.com