Saturday, June 22, 2013

Corruption Investigation Commission To Be Created Next Week, Gov. Cuomo Says

Gov. Cuomo will waste little time creating a special investigations panel to probe corruption involving the Legislature once the legislative session ends today.

Cuomo, appearing on public radio's "The Capitol Pressroom," told host Susan Arbetter he'll announce the Moreland Act commission "very very soon."

"Literally before the end of next week," he said.

Cuomo said the commission, which will have subpoena power, will be made up of law enforcement and public policy experts.

The main thrust of the commission, he said, will be to develop policy recommendations. But he also wants people with law enforcement ties in case the commission finds wrongdoing that needs to investigated and referred to prosecutors.

Cuomo said the commission will have "very broad latitude."

He dismissed criticism that the commission constitutionally can't look into legislators. Cuomo acknowledges that the commission cannot probe the Legislature as a whole because it is a separate branch of government. But he said it can look into state agencies in the executive branch that deals with legislators, such as the Board of Elections.

While probing the state Board of Elections, he explained, the panel can look into those who file financial disclosure reports "not because they are in the Legislature but because they're doing business with an agency."

The same goes for state agencies that process member items secured by lawmakers for non profits in their districts.

"State agencies give member items," Cuomo said. "We can investigate all of those.:

Cuomo reiterated he will put together the investigations committee because the Legislature wouldn't accept his anti-corruption proposals without extensive changes. "I won't accept a watered down corruption package," he said.

The commission, he said, is a "clearer, cleaner resolution to restore public trust."  POST

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