Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C,I-Schaghticoke) today called on legislative leaders to strengthen legislative ethics laws and institute a receipt system for members of the legislature who claim per diems for travel and meal expenses. McLaughlin’s comments come after it was announced today that Assemblyman William Scarborough (D-New York City) will plead guilty to a number of felony counts relating to money he illegally obtained through the Assembly’s per diem system over a period of four years. McLaughlin, citing his perennial fight to clean up Albany’s culture of corruption, criticized the weak ethics package passed by the legislature during this year’s budget cycle.
“Ethics reform has been one of my top priorities since I joined the legislature in 2011,” said McLaughlin. “One of the reasons I ran for office was because I was disgusted at the theft of taxpayer dollars and sea of corruption that has plagued Albany for decades. Almost all solvent businesses and organizations require receipts for employees to be reimbursed for travel expenses and the Assembly should be no exception. The fact that Assemblyman Scarborough was able to steal roughly $40,000 from the state for nearly four years before anyone found out is a glaring example of why we need more stringent ethics reform immediately.
“I sponsor legislation, A.4627, which would reduce the amount a member of the legislature can receive in per diem and make documentation with receipts mandatory. Gov. Cuomo’s ethics package passed in this year’s budget is embarrassing and does little to deter legislators from stealing money or abusing their power. For far too long we have seen legislators disgrace their office and abuse the system. Until we require receipts for per diem reimbursement and more stringent ethics laws overall, do not be surprised to see cases like Assemblyman Scarborough’s continue to besmirch Albany.”
Assemblyman McLaughlin represents the 107th district, which consists of parts of Rensselaer, Columbia and Washington counties. For more information,
please visit Assemblyman McLaughlin’s Official Website