A proposal by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to strengthen the state Ethics Commission is due to be introduced Tuesday.
An enhanced ethics oversight has not always been a priority for Mattiello. The speaker’s office declined to provide details about Mattiello’s ethics proposal prior to its introduction. But Mattiello’s interest in the issue has heartened some longtime government watchdogs.
The Ethics Commission was created in the late 1980s to be among the strongest such agencies in the nation. Then, in 2009, a state Supreme Court decision undermined the commission’s ability to police the core functions of lawmakers. Efforts to strengthen the commission have languished since then.
Mattiello’s staff began drafting the speaker’s ethics proposal in April. That was before an ongoing investigation sparked last week’s resignation of House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison, marking another black eye for the General Assembly.