Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
Loopholes and lax government enforcement leave New York’s statehouse ripe for misdeeds, according to a new report that measures state’s risk of corruption.
The state scored an overall 65 or a grade of D, according to a report done by Center for Public Integrity, Public Radio International and Global Integrity released Monday.
Redistricting, ethics law enforcement and the management of the state’s pension fund were all areas where the state received low marks.
“That actually surprises me that it’s [the grade] quite that high”, said Barbara Bartoletti Legislative Director for the New York State League of Women Voters.
Bartoletti pointed to other problems and said investigations into potential campaign finance violations often never go forward because of gridlock within the state’s Board of Elections.
The report gave New York a 60 when it came to political financing.
“It’s appalling how badly enforced our campaign finance laws are,” Artoletti said.
The report relied on reporters to research 330 indicators of risk that fell within broad categories.
A spokesman for Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed the governor’s predecessors for opacity in government.
“For over a decade, New York fell short on many fronts related to ethical, transparent government, a fact which is largely reflected in this report,” said Matt Wing, a spokesman for Cuomo, “but it does not take into account the historic reforms Governor Cuomo has achieved since taking office just 14 months ago.”
Wing pointed to a new ethics reform law passed by the governor as well as the recent redistricting changes resolved last week.
Russ Haven from NYPIRG said taking these reforms into account would not change New York’s score because it was too early to tell whether either will have a substantive impact.
The report also gave scores based strictly on what laws were in place. New York scored an 81 under this legal framework category. But the score fell to a 53 when it came to what impact the laws had in practice
Only 14 states had a greater risk of corruption than New York. According to the report, New Jersey had the least risk.
The State Integrity Investigation graded each state on more than 300 indicators of accountability, transparency, and corruption risk. The indicators are divided into 14 categories, which appear on the report card. Click on each category to see its individual indicators. Or follow the link on the report card to read an overview of what your state is doing well - and not so well - when it comes to government integrity."