State Senator Jeff Klein leaves law firm ahead of plan’s consideration
Albany, NY – The Independent Democratic Conference unveiled a four-point ethics plan which includes banning all outside income and an overhaul of the per diem reimbursement system on Tuesday. In advance of consideration by the legislature, IDC Leader State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) announced he is divesting from his small, private law firm in the Bronx.
“The public expects and deserves the highest standards from public officials. The current climate in Albany has left us with a simple choice: serve the public full-time or collect a full-time salary out of office,” said Senator Klein.
“The choice is clear to me. I notified my law partners that I am immediately divesting from our firm,” Klein added.
The IDC ethics plan includes:
· BANNING OUTSIDE INCOME – No state lawmaker would be permitted to earn an outside income, including advances for books. Any violation of this law, if passed, would result in prosecution as a class-A misdemeanor and an up to $50,000 fine issued by JCOPE. Only military service would be exempted.
· BLIND TRUSTS FOR ASSETS – Like Congress, the IDC proposes that all income earning assets be placed in a blind trust overseen by a JCOPE approved trustee.
· CLOSING THE DISCLOSURE LOOPHOLE – Every legislator who serves must file a financial disclosure form – even if his or her term concludes before the May 15 filing deadline.
· PER DIEM LIMITS and ACCOUNTABILITY – Public officials may only collect per diems on session days, budget hearing days and committee hearing days when attendance is taken. Lawmakers could also receive reimbursements for an additional 14 days of to visit staff in Albany, but must check-in with the Secretary of the Senate or the Assembly Clerk as proof of attendance.