Thursday, June 3, 2010

SD-46: Breslin STILL Refuses Ethical Disclosure Despite Calls from Martland, Cuomo

A full month after Luke Martland called on Senator Neil Breslin to fully disclose his list of clients, citing numerous credible sources, the Senator continues his refusal to confirm that there is no conflict of interest in his being an of counsel attorney at a union-busting and insurance-lobby law firm while the Senator sits as Chairman of the Insurance Committee in the Senate.

Today, Luke Martland adds gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo to his list of sources to bolster his argument:


Andrew Cuomo Called for Full Disclosure in Acceptance Speech

June 3, 2010

(Albany) – Thirty days have passed since Senate candidate and former prosecutor Luke Martland called on 14-year incumbent Neil Breslin to release his tax records, law firm client list and salary. Martland released his own state and federal tax records to the press on Monday, May 3, 2010.
“It has been a month since I called on Neil Breslin to release his tax records, law firm client list and salary,” said Martland. “If Breslin has nothing to hide, why doesn’t he simply disclose this information,” questioned Martland.

Martland’s call for Breslin to release this information has been echoed by the Attorney General, the press, a large bar association and a federal judge.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo called for full disclosure of outside sources of income for lawmakers at his nomination acceptance speech last week.
Despite these calls for full disclosure, Breslin has repeatedly refused to divulge his law firm client list and law firm salary.

For the record, Cuomo's statement reads as such, from the transcript of his campaign announcement video:

My Clean Up Albany Plan will enact strict new ethics laws, require full disclosure of all legislators' outside income, and have a real independent monitor, because self-policing is an oxymoron.

I'm assuming Sen. Breslin is supporting the future Governor's election. But will he actually take action and reveal his client list, or will he prove Cuomo's axiom that "self-policing is an oxymoron" is true? A recent interview in the Legislative Gazette by Faith Burkins-Gizmet reveals Breslin's arrogance:

Martland recently called on Breslin to release his 2009 tax forms, including income from the law firm where Breslin is of counsel, Hiscock and Barclay.

Breslin maintains he has already done that, providing the documents to the Albany Times Union in January after the newspaper asked all lawmakers to disclose their finances.

Martland also demanded that Breslin release a list of his law firm's clients, citing that the public has a right to know if there is a possible conflict of interest.

Breslin said he finds this argument "absurd." He said none of his clients have any business with the Legislature, and they are guaranteed confidentiality by law. He said it would be an ethical violation if he were to disclose his clients' names.

There's nothing to be read from this except arrogance. Breslin seems to believe if he keeps on ignoring these calls that they'll simply go away. How he sees this stubborness helping his campaign is something I simply can't fathom. If he would only reveal the client list as Martland and Cuomo are saying, his challenger and this blogger would have to find something else to write about, right?

As it stands, without a list of names to confirm there is no conflict of interest, there's no proof there is none. But there is proof that, as Cuomo said, self-policing is an oxymoron:

Breslin's continued refusal to provide full disclosure. And that's only one of the reasons Senator Breslin needs to be offerred a retirement package in September's Democratic primary.

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1 comment:

Arthur Welser said...

On this issue, Breslin is absolutely correct, well sort of! Breslin, Sheldon Silver, numerous State Assemblyman-attorneys and 19 of Breslin's fellow NYS Bar members have to stop practicing law while they are in office.
Joe Bruno was just the tip of the ice burg. The real Pandoras Box lies beneath the surface, hidden by client priivilege among all of the attorneys that continue to practice law in office.