After Biggest Bid-Rigging Scandal in State History, Governor and Legislature Must Act on Clean Contracting in 2019
Despite the conviction of top aides and campaign contributors to the Governor for rigging more than $1B in state economic contracts, Governor Cuomo and the legislature have enacted no substantial Clean Contracting reforms.
In May, an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the State Senate passed the Comptroller’s Procurement Integrity Act (A.6355-A /S.3984) to review contracts before they are executed for state-affiliated nonprofits and a Database of Deals (A.8175-A/ S.6613B) listing all business subsidies received by companies. The bills stalled in the Assembly because Speaker Heastie wanted a three-way agreement.
Since then, in the run-up to his reelection, Governor Cuomo pledged to the Daily News Editorial Board and Citizens Union that he would establish a Database of Deals. He also pledged to ban campaign contributions by vendors doing business with the State, as pointed out by the Times Union Editorial Board. The Governor could do either unilaterally via executive order, but legislation is much stronger and preferable.
Cuomo should honor his campaign commitments and act on clean contracting, a database of deals, and limits on campaign contributions by potential vendors.
Speaker Heastie has indicated a new openness to addressing contracting and business subsidies after preferring a three-way agreement for the last two legislative sessions but never reaching one. The Assembly did put a Database of Deals in its one-house budget resolution in 2018 and 2017 and moved the legislation forward in both years, but not to the floor.