COMMISSION ON PUBLIC INTEGRITY CHARGES LOBBYING ENTITIES WITH GIVING ILLEGAL GIFTS

COMMISSION ON PUBLIC INTEGRITY CHARGES LOBBYING ENTITIES WITH GIVING ILLEGAL GIFTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2009
CONTACT: Walter C. Ayres
                    518-474-4418

ALBANY — The State Commission on Public Integrity today announced that it has charged three lobbying entities with violating the gift ban contained in the lobbying law when they held receptions for public officials and provided food and refreshments in excess of nominal value.

The three entities are the Association of PBAs (Police Benevolent Associations), the State Trial Lawyers Association, and the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

The Public Employee Ethics Reform Act of 2007 significantly changed the law by prohibiting public officials and State officers and employees from accepting gifts of more than nominal value, which the Commission has determined to be no more than the cost of an ordinary cup of coffee. Previously, gifts of $75 or less were allowed, and receptions such as these often were permissible and common.

Barry Ginsberg, Acting Executive Director of the Commission, said, “We are seeking the names of all public officials and State officers and employees who may have attended these events and will take appropriate further action.”

Copies of the Notices of Reasonable Cause are available on-line at http://www.nyintegrity.org/enforcement/norc.html