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More than a half century ago, a reform-minded New York governor rode his electoral mandate into the Capitol and sparked ethics reforms the likes of which had never before been seen in Albany.

Thomas E. Dewey and the reform legislation he proposed in his 1954 and final State of the State address is the foundation for much of the ethics enforcement that occurs today. Thanks in part to Dewey — and to a variety of scandals over the years that sparked occasional albeit often short-lived ethics reform — New York has an enormous apparatus of integrity offices, employing more than 200 watchdogs at an annual cost to taxpayers of over $18 million.

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