Albany, NY - January 30, 2017 - The New York Senate passed legislation today co-sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky to amend the State Constitution so that corrupt public officials can be denied taxpayer-funded pensions. The law, S418, permits courts to reduce or revoke the public pension of public officers convicted of a felony.
“After I successfully prosecuted corrupt politicians as an assistant United States Attorney, I was always astonished and disappointed that these criminals were allowed to keep their pensions under State law,” Senator Todd Kaminsky said. “I'm proud to have voted for this final legislative step, and look forward to giving the people of New York an opportunity to exact justice and vote to strip corrupt officials of their taxpayer-funded pensions."
While New York State passed the Public Integrity Reform Act in 2011 to reduce benefits for public officials who abuse their power (Chapter 399 of 2011), it only applied to officials who entered into the state pension system after it became law. The legislation passed today amends the State Constitution so that any corrupt official, regardless of when they took office, will know that they risk losing their taxpayer-funded pension. Before the State Constitution is mended, the public will weigh in through a referendum that determines whether the constitutional amendment becomes law.
Kaminsky has led the way on ethics reform in the New York legislature, demanding real action. As an Assemblyman, he also co-sponsored legislation to strip pensions from corrupt officials convicted of a felony, and has advocated for reducing conflicts of interest by banning or severely limiting legislators’ outside income.
Before entering the New York legislature, Senator Kaminsky was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, representing Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens. As acting deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section, Kaminsky took down corrupt elected officials who used taxpayer dollars to fund lavish lifestyles, as well as drug kingpins and other major felons. His successful prosecutions include State Senate Majority Leader, Jr., Assemblyman Jimmy Meng and notorious gangster James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond.