The following was written by Jim Carr, Chair of the Chemung County Democratic Committee
Ethics reform is a hot topic in Albany, yet our local legislators have not expressed publicly their positions. The key local player is Senator Tom O’Mara. He is a majority member in the Senate whereas his Assembly colleagues are powerless minority members of their house.
Much of the proposed reform would require public officials (legislators) to disclose the nature of each source of outside compensation in excess of $1000. “Lawyers, real estate agents and certain other professionals must provide a description of services for which they received compensation and the source of that compensation,” as proposed by the Governor.
When elected to the Assembly in 2006, O’Mara’s law firm was listed as a lobbyist for the Distributors of the wine products produced by his constituents-an apparent conflict. Will he disclose if that relationship continues and how much does he make from the lobbying?
What other organizations does his firm lobby for?
Senator O’Mara is also the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) attorney. It is unclear how he gets paid and who pays him for negotiations related to tax relief and incentives for prospective investors in Chemung Co. Do these negotiations conflict with his role protecting the interests of his constituency?
His Democratic colleagues in the Senate have proposed that, “all state elected officials disclose the source and nature of all income and report all clients of or referrals to, a firm, or practice the elected official works at.” Will Senator O’Mara support that proposal? Regardless of ethics reform, will Senator O’Mara fully disclose his IDA responsibilities and compensation?