Only one of five Empire Page readers who voted on the poll question for the week of January 25 gave any love to the Legislative Ethics Commission — the body that is supposed to investigate claims of impropriety of NY legislators. In light of the charges of public corruption levied against the former majority leader of the State Senate Joe Bruno, 65 percent of those who took the poll agree that his indictment is by extension an indictment of the notion that a legislative ethics body has merit. Another 15 percent think that’s probably the case.
According to its website the legislative ethics commission “was created by the Public Employees Ethics Reform Act of 2007 (Chap. 14, L. 2007) which was signed into law on March 26, 2007.”
What is it charged with? “The Legislative Ethics Commission’s duties include administration and enforcement of the provisions of Public Officers Law §§ 73, 73-a and 74 for members and employees of the legislature and candidates for state legislative office. The Commission is authorized to issue advisory opinions and adjudicate complaints on violations of these laws.”
Without casting aspertion on the members of the current commission or its staff, the question is whether the public can count on the legislators to police themselves? Given the number of legislators who in recent times have violated the public trust in one way or another, culminating in Senator Bruno’s indictment, it seems fair to say that the public does not rest any easier because the commission is on duty.