NY State Bar President Stephen P. Younger Creates Government Ethics Task Force

Monday, August 2, 2010 - 00:00

A panel of experts will examine key questions relating to government ethics such as Does New York need an anti-corruption law?; What entity is best equipped to patrol government ethics?; What is the appropriate level of disclosure for attorneys who work or volunteer in government?; What due process protections should be afforded to those charged with ethics violations?; and What reforms are necessary with respect to local government ethics?

With the public rapidly losing confidence in government and other public institutions, and in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision narrowing the federal law often used to prosecute government corruption, NYSBA president Stephen P. Younger of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, LLP, announced the formation of a new Task Force on Government Ethics. The panel, comprising independent experts drawn from diverse backgrounds, including government ethics experts, current and former prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers, academics, and local government practitioners, will undertake a systematic review of public sector ethics issues that impact the legal profession.

"Despite the many positive contributions made by public servants, New York's citizens have lost confidence in the integrity of their government institutions," said Younger. "To regain their trust, we need comprehensive ethics proposals that will restore New Yorkers' confidence in government.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision making it less likely that government officials can be prosecuted under the 'theft of honest services' law makes it particularly important that we review the entire area of government ethics and the statutes that allow for enforcement," added Younger.