Tedisco: Smash Legislative Leaders’ Slush Fund Piggy Banks
With Total Transparency in Spending and Budget Allocations
Assemblyman is 1st Capital Region Lawmaker to sign “Clean Conscience Pledge”; introduces new legislation to seek full disclosure in how legislative leaders allocate tax dollars
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today announced he will be introducing new anti-corruption legislation to require legislative leaders fully disclose how any public funds they allocate are spent and where the money came from. Tedisco’s bill would require all legislative earmarks to be clearly outlined within the state budget for members, the public and media to review before being voted on and that they be notified when the funds are distributed.
This would allow legislators, the public and media to weigh-in on the appropriateness of these allocations before the budget is passed to better engage citizens in this representative democracy.
Tedisco also became the first Capital Region lawmaker to sign the “Clean Conscience Pledge” (photo attached) sponsored by Common Cause NY to support real ethics reform that includes closing the LLC Loophole for campaign finance reform, full disclosure in how legislative leaders spend tax dollars, and limiting outside income for legislators to reduce conflicts of interest.
“The taxpayer’s dollars and the state budget is not the leader’s own personal piggy bank. This truth in spending law is the hammer to smash open that piggy bank and create total transparency to see where the money comes from as allocated in the state budget and how it’s being spent. When it comes to legislative earmarks, taxpayers have a right to be able to follow the money and know who ordered the pork,” said Tedisco.
The legislation, which is being drafted, is a response to the numerous public corruption scandals that have rocked the state Capitol to its core over recent months. In November 2015, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted of 7 felony counts of federal corruption charges in a kick-back scheme where he gave $500,000 in state lump sum tax dollars to a physician who would refer patients to the Speaker’s law firm where he would get referral fees.
Tedisco’s bill requires all member items, discretionary funds, and so-called “lump sum payments”, which are controlled by the Speaker of the Assembly, Senate Majority Leader and Governor and negotiated in many instances behind closed doors, be made public and fully transparent within the state budget. The proposed budget should detail the purpose of the earmarks, who will receive the money, which legislative districts are impacted, and who authorized the monies. Rank and file legislators also should be notified in a report that’s publicly available as to how the funds were distributed.