From the Times Union:
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance stood beside Eric Schneiderman and a group of senators to unveil yet another piece of legislation to beef up New York's ethics laws.
The bill would require public officials to abide a "duty of faithful public service" -- a broad and hopefully less onerous standard for prosecutors to enforce -- as well as tightening laws against bribing a public official.
"It's time for local prosecutors such as myself to play a primary role in addressing public corruption," said Vance, who took office earlier this year. The new language is similar to the federal "honest services" language which led to the conviction last year of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick.
Bruno, who faces up to 8 years in prison when sentenced Thursday, has said he will appeal the conviction.
But Vance said the new language is more narrowly construed than the federal statute, which is under constitutional challenge before the U.S. Supreme Count. He and others believe it is a necessary tool to add to prosecutors' war chests as legislators say "bad apples" have fueled an overall perception of corruption. Recent cases resulting in convictions include Bruno and former Queens Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, who received a 6-year federal term, were pursued by federal prosecutors. The state Attorney General's Office is pursuing two civil cases against Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., who is also under federal investigation.
"This is 2010. We are not living in the Boss Tweed era anymore, and yet there is seemingly a tide of graft and corruption scandals that flood out of New York, scandals which reinforce New Yorkers' perception that all of us lawmakers are crooks or clowns," said Assemblyman Micah Kellner, D-Manhattan, who is carrying the bill in the Assembly. Schneiderman is the measure's prime sponsor in the Senate.
"People who want to go into public service for the right reasons are deterred by some bad apples, and this will hopefully help out the good apples," said Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Bethlehem.