ANNOUNCES 3-PT PLAN TO CLEAN UP ALBANY
Hold Cuomo and all accomplices accountable
Restructure State ethics compliance and enforcement
Term limits for all state lawmakers
Republican candidate for governor and former two-term Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino today announced a three-point plan to clean up Albany corruption. First, he calls for continuing until completion all ongoing federal, state and local investigations into Andrew Cuomo’s role in the 15,000 nursing home deaths and coverup, his $5.1 million book deal and the 11 sexual misconduct allegations against him. Astorino said not only does Cuomo need to be held accountable for any and all crimes, but so to any and all of his accomplices.
“Andrew Cuomo’s long-overdue resignation is a start towards accountability but unless all the investigations are completed and Cuomo and any and all of his accomplices are held accountable, criminally liable if applicable, then the Albany swamp will just get bigger and the corruption stench will grow,” said Astorino. “There needs to be a real deterrence. People need to know, if they are involved in government or political corruption, they won’t be saved by one person resigning.”
Astorino called on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Levine to complete and report on all the investigations they are involved in and to also publicly encourage investigations to continue until completion. Astorino also called on soon-to-be-governor Kathy Hochul to do the same.
Next, Astorino proposes a restructuring of ethics administration in Albany. Essential elements of his plan are aimed at restoring credibility to ethics administration and creating a culture of ethical compliance.
Astorino would replace the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or J-COPE, with a new independent commission whose bipartisan members would elect the chairperson. He proposes eliminating special voting rules which have historically thwarted the majority on the commission from conducting investigations. And he proposes reforming rules of confidentiality to be the minimal necessary to ensure fairness and encourage whistleblowers but not be used to cover up the cover ups, which has been the case in recent years.
Astorino would also combine the new commission with an independent Inspector General appointed by the governor to a 5-year term but who would report to the new ethics commission, not the governor’s office.
“Albany’s history of corruption has festered because there has never been a truly independent Inspector General or ethics administration. Much like when in Cuomo’s first term he disbanded the anti-corruption Moreland Commission when it started getting too close to him and his close allies, many other attempts to root out corruption have been thwarted because of undue political pressure. Under my plan, that becomes less likely,” said Astorino.
And finally, Astorino would enact a term limits law for all state lawmakers — no more than two, 4-year terms for governor and all statewide elected officials and no more than six, 2- year terms for state legislators. Astorino supported and enacted into law term limits in Westchester when he was the county executive there.
Astorino said New York has become even more of a national embarrassment for corruption in the past 10-15 years with the last three governors leaving office under the cloud of scandal and several legislative leaders - from both parties - having been imprisoned for corruption and other crimes.