Kaminsky’s ‘clean conscience’ pledge

Race for Skelos’s Senate seat heats up

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Amid criticism from Republicans who have called him a “faux reformer” in his bid for the State Senate, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky on Monday signed a pledge circulated by good-government groups vowing to clean up Albany — and called out his opponent, attorney Chris McGrath, for not supporting the measure.

Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach and a former federal prosecutor who has touted his anti-corruption credentials during the campaign, announced that he had signed the “Clean Conscience Pledge,” a measure recently launched by Common Cause New York, Citizens Union and the New York Public Interest Research Group calling on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would limit their outside income, close the LLC loophole and increase transparency to eliminate conflicts of interest in discretionary spending.

Kaminsky and McGrath, a Hewlett Harbor resident, are running in a special election, set for April 19, for the 9th Senate District seat vacated by former Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was convicted of bribery, extortion and conspiracy in December. With Skelos gone, the Senate is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, although the GOP still controls a narrow majority because some Democrats caucus with them.

Ethics reform has become a major issue in a hotly contested election, and advocates say that the convictions of Skelos and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — who was convicted in November on federal corruption charges — have added a sense of urgency to the reform push.

To date, Kaminsky said, 17 senators and nine Assembly members have signed the three-point pledge. He said that his signature is in keeping with his broader initiative to implement ethics reforms and fight government corruption, with efforts including banning outside income, increasing oversight of local government contracting, imposing criminal penalties for corrupt politicians, and making it illegal to lie to a district attorney investigator.

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