By Lindsey Bullock, Marketing –
The voters of New York have spoken in a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. And what did they have to say? An overwhelming majority (89 percent) indicated they were seriously concerned with their states’ political corruption.
The results of the survey indicate New York voters strongly disapprove of the way Gov. Andrew Cuomo is dealing with corruption. Fifty-four percent of voters voiced their disapproval of Cuomo’s ethics in government, and more than 64 percent argued the total earnings of legislators and their spouses should be made public knowledge.
The poll results aren’t very surprising. The debate over whether legislators and their spouses ought to be forced to disclose their income has been escalating since January, when former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on corruption charges. Charged with taking kickbacks from law firms that indirectly profited from grants he approved, it was estimated Silver accepted approximately $4 million from the firm. Not only do voters believe legislators’ incomes should be public knowledge, but they also demand to know the sources of their incomes as well.
Calling For a Change
Whether legislators agree with voters on this issue, it appears they are attempting to limit corruption with an ethics reform package. Presented by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gov. Cuomo, the package requires lawmakers to divulge any outside earnings exceeding $1,000. Additionally, it mandates lawyers working in the Legislature to openly identify clients paying more than $5,000. This proposal has yet to receive approval.
It has been proposed by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that the legislators’ current pay of $79,500 be raised to a minimum of $112,500, which is the annual salary for New York City Council members. He argues legislators’ ought to be making as much as $174,000 — the current annual salary for Congress members.
Senate Democrats are attempting to fix the corruption problem as well by proposing stronger restrictions on legislative moonlighting. If their proposal is approved by the Legislature, it would limit lawmakers to making no more than 15 percent of their salary from outside income.
One potential method to address concerns over corruption would be to implement a routine lie detection test for our legislators. EyeDetect® is the first lie detector to measure eye behavior to determine deception. Using this technology can help create a culture of honesty and integrity with pre-employment screening and routine employee evaluations to check for illegal or improper activities such as theft, bribes, drug use, document fraud, counterfeiting and identity theft. If EyeDetect is used in conjunction with the polygraph, the combined accuracy rate is 98 percent.