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Post date: December 29 1998

In First Official Action, Spitzer Restricts Staff Political Activity

Attorney General Spitzer today announced the signing of an Executive Order prohibiting employees of the New York State Department of Law from contributing to his campaign committee. The action is meant to underscore Spitzer’s commitment to a strictly non-partisan Attorney General’s office.

"The first step in restoring the integrity of the office is appointing a staff based exclusively on merit," Spitzer said. "A critical next step is to formally distance the staff from political activity. With this Executive Order, we will make it clear that employment within the Department of Law is in no way connected to financial contributions, and that we are making every effort to establish and maintain a non-partisan administration."

Spitzer said the Executive Order would send a strong message to staff and to all others that his administration will be focused only on public interest law.

Under the Executive Order, employees are prevented from contributing to campaign committees that either directly or indirectly benefit Spitzer. In addition, Spitzer has directed Deputy Attorney General for State Counsel Richard Rifkin -- former Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission -- and Special Counsel David Nocenti to develop a series of internal guidelines on political activities and other potential conflicts of interest.

In other actions today, Spitzer issued an Executive Order restoring the long-standing protections against any form of discrimination in hiring in his office. The Executive Order prevents discrimination based on age, race, creed, color, sex, marital status, national origin and sexual orientation. Spitzer’s predecessor as Attorney General had eliminated sexual orientation from the Executive Order four years ago.
A third Executive Order continues all other Executive Orders for a 30-day review period.