Over the past five years, New York State has awarded more than $7.4 billion in contracts to clients of law firms that employ state legislators, according to a review of court filings and other records.
The 954 contracts range from $1.7 billion for Caithness Energy, a client of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, where the State Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, works part time, to $130 million for salt for state highways, awarded to a client of the firm that employs Senator Michael F. Nozzolio of Seneca County.
The contracts are a fraction of the more than $200 billion awarded by the state during the period. But they represent a vast pool of potential conflicts that are at the heart of a debate over ethics in Albany, where the Senate and the Assembly on Monday approved a disclosure and oversight law in response to corruption scandals that have tarnished state government for years.
That legislation, which Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo brokered and has championed, will for the first time require elected officials with law practices to disclose the names of clients they represent in matters before the state. With limited exceptions, the bill will not require lawyer-lawmakers to disclose clients represented by others at their firms.