- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York’s attorney general soon plans to submit broad and detailed legislation aimed at ending public corruption in Albany, which he said lawmakers need to enact during a year when their leaders were both arrested on federal charges.

The Legislature is scheduled to end its session on June 17.

“It’s time to end the parade of prosecutions,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “New Yorkers have had enough of so-called ethics reform that tinkers around the edges.”

His bill would ban outside income by legislators while raising their pay, extending their terms from two to four years and require they document travel expenses instead of getting daily allowances. It would lower legal campaign contributions and also close the loopholes for limited liability companies and political party housekeeping accounts. It would also establish a public financing option for state candidates.

It would bar lobbyists from soliciting political contributions that benefit either a public official or party committee.

On the prosecution side, it would give the state attorney general’s office permanent jurisdiction to investigate official bribery and fraud. It would make it easier to prosecute people who pay bribes, requiring only proving they intended to influence officials’ decisions, and not that the official had the same understanding.

The attorney general’s office under Schneiderman claims it has brought more than 60 cases against state and local officials and cronies, including convictions of a state senator and assemblyman. Many followed the state comptroller’s audits of public funds, with referrals the attorney general needs for prosecutions.

A spokesman confirmed there are currently several ongoing investigations into state and local public corruption by the attorney general’s office but declined to say more.

Federal prosecutors charged Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos with helping pass legislation continuing valuable tax breaks for New York City developers in return for their own personal benefit from money channeled indirectly to themselves or relatives. Both have denied wrongdoing but lost their leadership posts and face trials this year.

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