Commission on Public Integrity Issues Annual Report

Commission on Public Integrity Issues Annual Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2011
CONTACT: Walter C. Ayres
                     518-474-4418

ALBANY - The New York State Commission on Public Integrity today issued its annual report for 2010, a year in which ethics and ethics reform were a major topic in New York State. This was due to several ethical lapses at the highest levels of State government and a subsequent public outcry for ethics reform.

In addition, the amount of money spent on lobbying continued to grow, passing the $200 million mark for the first time. In 2010, $213.4 million was spent, up from $197.8 million the previous year. One of the largest increases came in the area of advertising. Clients reported spending $29,804,878 for advertising in 2010, compared to $6,167,701 in 2009.

There were 6,659 lobbyists representing 4,091 clients, compared to 5,887 lobbyists in 2009 representing 3,499 clients.

As the Legislature considered various proposals for ethics reform, the Commission provided comments that would improve the proposed legislation. The Commission also provided its own legislative proposals, such as creating a new and expanded definition of what constitutes lobbying and reducing the number of State employees who have to submit statements of financial disclosure to focus scarce resources where they will have the greatest impact. Ethics reform continues to be an area of legislative interest; the Commission intends to be a part of that discussion.

The firm of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP, reported the highest lobbyist compensation and reimbursed expenses, totaling $10.6 million in 2010. This is the fourteenth year that the firm has been ranked number one in that category. The firm also reported 161 clients. It was followed by Patricia Lynch Associates, Inc. with $8.1 million and 183 clients.

Health and mental hygiene organizations again reported the highest expenditures by special interest groups, spending $31.1 million, an increase from $30.6 the previous year. Real estate and construction reported $21 million, down from $22.6 million in 2009. Education also reported a decrease -- $13.3 million in 2010 compared to $13.9 million the previous year.

One of the Commission’s main functions is to advise State officers and employees on the application of the ethics laws and regulations. In 2010, the Commission issued more than 180 formal and informal opinions clarifying and applying the law.

The annual report is available on-line at http://www.nyintegrity.org/pubs/index.html