N.Y. AG-hopeful would create new unit

Jessica M. Karmasek Aug. 23, 2010, 1:00pm


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - Sean Coffey, a Democratic candidate for New York attorney general, wants lawmakers to voluntarily fill out forms detailing any possible conflicts with nonprofits in an effort to crack down on abuses in how state lawmakers dole out funds.

Under the plan unveiled on Monday by Coffey, a special unit would be created and would operate out of the attorney general's public integrity bureau. Lawmakers would voluntarily file disclosure forms detailing all possible conflicts with nonprofit groups eligible for state funding.

Coffey, one of five Democratic candidates for attorney general, wants lawmakers to spell out any nonprofit connections, including those of family members, staff or individuals who share residences or office space with the groups.

The disclosure, he said, would help weed out potential problems before the grants -- otherwise known as legislative member items -- are approved in the state budget.

Those who don't voluntarily disclose the information would face increased scrutiny over the projects they fund and legal action when violations of public trust are discovered, Coffey warned.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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