Bill Introduced to Tackle Public Official Corruption

May 6, 2010 Updated: May 7, 2010

New legislation introduced this week seeks to eliminate corruption among New York state officials through expanding ethics laws.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who authored the bill that was introduced by state Sen. Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday, said it's high time for a bill of this scale that addresses official corruption.

The bill, if passed, seeks to hold public officials accountable for their actions by expanding on existing laws and creating a new criminal charge: “Scheme to Defraud the Government in the First and Second Degrees.”

Vance's bill would change bribery penalties to “ensure that bribery offers are punished as seriously as completed bribes” for public officials. Stricter penalties would be placed on “member items” or community projects grants and there would be tougher oversight on financial disclosures and strengthened campaign finance rules.

“In recent years, New Yorkers have experienced unacceptable incidents of dishonesty at all levels of government,” said Vance.