Karen DeWitt

Albany Reporter

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.

DeWitt is a past recipient of the prestigious Walter T. Brown Memorial award for excellence in journalism, from the Legislative Correspondents Association, and was named Media Person of the Year by the Women’s Press Club of New York State.

DeWitt has served as a panelist for numerous political debates, including the 2014 gubernatorial debate sponsored by WNED|WBFO

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The state legislature ends its session for the year on June 16, and expectations are low for any major pieces of legislation to be resolved before the adjournment, as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration faces increasing scrutiny from the U.S. attorney over economic development projects.


SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Probes into alleged corruption by former members and associates of the Cuomo Administration deepened Thursday afternoon, as the Attorney General’s office conducted a raid at SUNY Polytechnic offices in Albany.


Karen DeWitt

A board controlled by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders voted Wednesday to approve more than $485 million for the Buffalo Billion project. But there were some questions from board members about details of a program that is now under federal investigation.


Governor Cuomo has released a bill on closing a loophole that allows for unlimited big money donations to candidates. The LLC loophole has played a key role in the federal corruption trials of both former leaders of the legislature, and may be a factor in the ongoing federal probe of the governor’s economic development projects.


WBFO News File Photo

A key vote on Governor Andrew Cuomo's economic development program, known as the Buffalo Billion, is scheduled for today. The vote comes after it was postponed for a week amid controversy and questions over a federal probe of the projects.


Karen DeWitt

It’s just over three weeks until the legislative session is scheduled to end, and hopes for reform are fading,  during an unprecedented level of corruption in state government.


Photo by Eileen Buckley

Almost 98 percent of school budgets were approved in statewide voting Tuesday, including the majority of school districts asking for overrides of the state’s mandatory property tax cap. Meanwhile, school board candidates who support opting out of standardized tests saw success across the state.


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Governor Cuomo says a key vote on the next installment of the Buffalo Billion project is merely postponed, not canceled, and he denies that he’s feeling “defensive” about the widening federal probe of his administration’s economic development projects.

WBFO News file photo

With his former top aide facing a federal probe for potential conflicts of interest for consulting work, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said twice now that he did not know what the former close associate of the Cuomo family was up to. Percoco left state service earlier this year for a job at Madison Square Garden.

But it turns out that the governor had not one, but two ways to know if his current or former top aides have any business deals that could present an ethical conflict.


Karen DeWitt

Former New York Senate leader Dean Skelos was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution and fines Thursday after his conviction on corruption charges. His son Adam got six-and-a-half years.


Every day for the past two weeks, news reports have focused on a federal probe of Governor Cuomo’s Administration. Despite that, Cuomo and legislative leaders say they are trying to achieve some agenda items in the closing weeks of the legislative session.


Karen DeWitt

Advocates for farm workers  are trying a new route to gain the right to form a union and be allowed benefits afforded to other laborers in New York. They are suing the state government.

Karen DeWitt

Senate Republicans in the Elections Committee cast a vote on closing a campaign finance loophole that has played a role in recent corruption trials of the former legislative leaders, but the act could doom the measure for the 2016 session.


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Opponents of a planned fracked gas power plant in the Hudson Valley say they are hoping the U.S. Attorney will investigate decisions made in the permitting process for the plan, now that it has been revealed that the wife of a former top aide to Cuomo took payments from the lead engineering firm in the project, and that her husband is the subject of a federal probe.

WBFO News File Photo

Governor Cuomo’s explanation of some of the circumstances of a U.S. Attorney’s probe into his administration has left some unanswered questions.


Public domain

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was  sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday and told by a federal judge that he must give back $5 million that he stole from the public, as well a pay another $1.75 million in fines.


A new poll finds that voters want corruption in state government addressed before lawmakers adjourn the 2016 session.


WBFO News File Photo

The New York State legislature has been on a three week break. In their absences, federal investigations into aides close to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor  Bill deBlasio have intensified, spurring even more calls for reform.


WBFO News File Photo

The legislature returns next Tuesday for the final push in a session that ends in late June. Government reformers say it’s time to focus on ethics fixes.

WBFO News File Photo

Government reform groups say you can add one more item to the long list of reforms that they believe are needed in Albany.


Karen DeWitt

While two major natural gas pipelines have been scrapped recently in New York, opposition is mounting against  a third, which would expand a line that is near the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant.


New York’s restrictive voter access rules came under scrutiny during Tuesday’s Presidential primary. And some are saying there’s a need for changes.

Charles Lane, WSHU

Two special elections were also held Tuesday, to fill the seats vacated by the two former legislative leaders, who were both convicted of felony corruption and had to resign.


WBFO file photo

Tuesday is not only New York’s Presidential primary. It also the day for two special elections to replace the disgraced former leaders of the legislature, who lost their seats after being convicted on multiple felony corruption charges.


Karen DeWitt

All three republican Presidential candidates  spoke at the state GOP dinner Thursday night.


A new poll finds that Bernie Sanders has narrowed the gap with Hillary Clinton in the New York Presidential primary race, but Clinton leads in key voting regions.

Karen DeWitt

Proponents of New York’s new medical marijuana law say so far, it’s barely functioning, and they say major revisions are necessary to allow more than just a tiny number of patients to benefit.


A quirk in the newly enacted minimum wage increase could mean that in  upstate New York by the early 2020’s,  fast food workers could  be paid significantly more than other low wage jobs, like being a home health care worker or a cashier in a grocery store.


The new state budget has been in place for nearly a week, but little attention has been paid to many of the items that are in it. A government reform group says that’s by design.


Karen DeWitt

Fracktivists, as anti hydro- fracking activists are called, hope to play a role in New York’s Presidential primary. They are asking Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as Republican candidates, to take a stand against the Constitution pipeline and other natural gas pipelines, that if approved could criss- cross the state. 


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