AUBURN, AL- Last week, we took a by the numbers look at the problems in New York- one of the greatest growth states in lobbying around the country.
Sadly, the numbers do not even tell the full story.
In the coming days, we will have information on the New York LLC loophole that we have discussed previously. However, there are far more issues in the Empire State.
Loose laws in the state are driving increasing criticism that public officials are using their positions to get rich. While former Speaker Sheldon Silver, who took $4 million in kickbacks from two law firms and defended himself by saying it was “politics as usual in Albany,” is the prominent example, others, including State Senator Michael Nozello who was paid by a law firm working for approval for a new casino are being increasingly scrutinized.
Whether politicians like Nozello or others are doing wrong or not, the public is quickly losing trust.
Moreover, both sides of the aisle employed well-funded dark money entities to drive the debate in the battle for the State Senate in 2014. Both charter school advocates and teachers’ unions spent $4 million on either side- mostly in untraceable independent expenditures.
This is emblematic of a campaign finance system in the state that has historically opened numerous doors for corruption.
Opportunities for self-enrichment, campaign financing loopholes, and a massive lobbying industry, are all combining to fuel one of the nation’s most corrupt governments.
Since 2000, 40 lawmakers, 10 Republicans and 30 Democrats, have faced ethical charges.
At Take Back Our Republic, we are continually finding that where opportunity for corruption exists in one area, that establishes a comprehensively corrupt culture. That’s why this series on state lobbying has become a focus. We will continue a focus on negative states in the coming weeks before we look at what is going right elsewhere.
What do you think about the lobbying growth and spending in New York and the corrupt culture there? We would love to hear from you. Join the conversation HERE and continue to check Take Back.org for the latest thoughts on reform.