Fighting Corruption

With the recent convictions of Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Democratic Speaker Sheldon Silver it’s clear we have a corruption problem in New York.

Chris McCreight wants the Democratic Party to take the lead in rooting out corruption on all levels.

Here are ten reform positions he believes are key to cleaning up our system and putting the people back in charge of their government at all levels:

1)  Full-time legislature. We must end second jobs and outside income for legislators. Being an elected official is an honor, not a way to get rich.

2)  Ending corporate donations on the state level. Corporations are not allowed to give to candidates on the federal or local level, but on the state level, they can not only give but give much more than individuals.

3)  Banning lobbyists from donating to campaigns. Lobbyists already have too much influence over elected officials. They should not be able to donate or bundle donations in order to influence a campaign as well.

4)  Close the LLC loophole on the state level. Until we entirely ban corporate donations, we must close the LLC loophole that allows individuals to donate $60,000 through intentionally opaque LLCs. When ordinary individuals usually give $100 and the superrich can donate $60,000, our democracy is at risk.

5)  Repeal Citizens United. The United States needs a constitutional amendment to end the influence of dark money and Super PACs on campaigns.

6)  Term limits for leaders on the state level. There should be term limits for committee chairs and legislative leaders like Speaker and Senate Majority Leader.  As we just saw, too much unchecked centralized power breeds corruption. We need new leaders who bring new ideas and who do not become obsessed with wielding power over working for the people.

7)  Individuals who do business with the state and the city should not be allowed to donate to political campaigns. This is pretty obvious yet millions of dollars each year flow into campaign accounts in return for tax-breaks and beneficial legislation. We must end this practice of legalized bribery.

8)  Convicted lawmakers should lose their pensions. On the day Sheldon Silver was convicted on 7 counts of corruption, he filed for “retirement” so that he could start receiving a pension valued at around $90,000 per year. This practice of rewarding criminal behavior is outrageous and must be stopped.

9)  Public financing of campaigns. We must end elected officials' dependence on wealthy campaign donors. Whether it is a voucher system like Seattle or a system similar to New York City’s (but stronger) the goal is to limit the outside influence of campaign donations, which are often just legalized forms of bribery.

10)  Lobbying transparency. Lobbyists and elected officials should disclose, within 24 hours, any meeting that takes place to influence legislation. Further, the nature of the meeting should be disclosed including any potential legislation discussed and who is paying the lobbyist.