Governor proposes new anti-bribery laws


This afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled the Public Trust Act, a legislative package that would "establish a new class of public corruption crimes and expand the current definitions of public corruption offenses," according to a press release.

In some cases, the legislation would bring state statutes in line with federal laws. That would be the case with a charge of bribing a public servant. The press release from Cuomo's office says that under existing state law, prosecutors have to "prove that there was a corrupt agreement or understanding between the person paying the bribe and the person receiving the bribe." Under the federal law, the prosecutor only has to show that the person doing the bribing intended to influence a public official.

The press release says that the legislation would also create the crimes of corrupting the government — a felony for essentially defrauding a state or local government — and failing to report public corruption, a misdemeanor. And it would add three new felony levels of official misconduct.

Convictions on any of the crimes would bar offenders from holding public office, working for the government, receiving public contracts, and even barring them from certain tax credits.

Though Cuomo doesn't say so in his release, the legislation comes on the heels of two separate alleged bribery cases involving state legislators.

The governor's press release is available here. In it, various district attorneys from across the state, including Monroe County DA Sandra Doorley, offered support for the legislation.