An exhaustive new report commissioned by Governor Cuomo explores the state's problem of rampant public corruption, and offers several recommendations—both specific fixes and systemic overhauls—in order to quell it.

The report, released last night by the Cuomo-appointed the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, identifies a lengthy list of public officials charged with misusing public funds. Among descriptions of misdeeds is one memorable excerpt from the criminal complaint filed against former Queens councilman Dan Halloran, whose poetic musings on the topic of corruption we still want tattooed to our lower backs:

That's politics, that's politics, it's all about how much. Not about whether or will, it's about how much and that's our politicians in New York, they're all like that, all like that. And they get like that because of the drive that the money does for everything else. You can't do anything without the fucking money.

Setting that as the fundamental basis for the investigation, the commission writes that the the report has two purposes: to share the status of our investigation into public corruption in our State, and to propose reforms to combat public corruption in the future.

In the opinion of the commission, reforms must include a revamped and strengthened campaign finance system that includes: a small-donor matching system of public financing to help reduce the impact of massive donations from wealthy and powerful interests; an independent agency for enforcing election and campaign finance laws; more robust disclosure of election spending by independent groups and of possible conflicts of interest by elected officials; and more effective tools for state prosecutors to uncover and prosecute acts of corruption by public officials.

The report calls conduct on the part of many public officials "deplorable," while still acknowledging that some of it remains "perfectly legal yet profoundly wrong." (Other dealings are "potentially illegal.") Specifically identified as problematic are pay-to-play arrangements, loopholes, use of campaign funds, conflicts of interest, legislatively directed funding grants and the Board of Elections' apparently ineffectual process for addressing complaints.

To that end, the commission recommends increased transparency into the dealings of public officials, including requiring them to disclose outside income and relationships with lobbyists, as well as increasing oversight of discretionary funding. Among other items, the report recommends a series of specific reforms to the campaign finance system, including lowering contribution limits, closing loopholes and instating a system to publicly finance campaigns using small donor matching funds, rather than massive donations from powerful special interest groups.

"This report is a stinging indictment of our state's porous laws and of many of the politicians, patrons and political players who protect and benefit by them, said Kathleen Rice, one of the Moreland Commission's co-chairs. "We have unearthed widespread compliance apathy and have isolated the structural flaws that have made all of this possible. Our recommendations include new reform ideas and also potential fixes previously shelved by a disinterested legislature. This report is a blueprint for how we can start fixing the problems that have given rise to the dysfunction. These fixes won't happen naturally...It's now up to us all to transition from this preliminary fact-finding phase to an era of implementation and legislative action."