Yesterday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo officially announced the formation of the “Commission to Investigate Public Corruption,”under the Moreland Act, to investigate political corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections in New York State. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he will appoint the members of the Commission as Deputy Attorneys General, giving the Commission broad-based authority to investigate all matters that “involve public peace, public safety, and public justice.” Under the Executive Order, the Commission will also have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath as well as subpoena any necessary records. The Governor’s action follows several recent proven and alleged incidents of corruption and misconduct by public officials.
Read full details on the Governor’s website.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to make an announcement on the Moreland Commission today. The names of appointees were leaked to The New York Daily News yesterday. The 25 member commission will investigate ethics issues and is expected to focus heavily on election activities. The bipartisan panel will have subpoena power and will be comprised of 10 district attorneys, a former US attorney, and several law school professors.
Disclosures to Reveal Values of Holdings, Income and Debt for the First Time
In a press release issued this week, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics announced that “financial disclosure forms to be filed this week by State officials will for the first time publicly reveal amounts of outside income, values of investments and outstanding debts. The new disclosures, pursuant to the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, will also reveal certain clients of public officials.”
That information comes during the spate of recent scandals which appear to have no end.
“Disclosure is a critical component to promoting trust in government and under recent reforms the new public disclosures will pull the curtain back on many of our State officials’ outside financial interests,” said Joint Commission Chair Daniel J. Horwitz.
With limited exceptions, those required to file publicly-available financial disclosure statements include State officers and employees in policy-making positions or who make an annual salary of more than $88,256, members of the Legislature, legislative employees, political party chairman in counties with a population of more than 300,000, and candidates for statewide office or a seat in the Legislature.
Click here to read more.
A story in the New York Times today provides a breakdown of exactly how the wiretapping scandal, that has sent many Albany legislators into a panic, went down. Former Senator Shirley Huntley agreed to tape colleagues in the hopes it would help her in a case that federal prosecuters had lodged against her. Huntley taped some of the most prominent elected officials in Queens and Brooklyn who were visiting her home.
Read the full story online.
As new names come to light as part of the federal corruption probe into New York’s legislature, Governor Cuomo announced that has been no significant progress on establishing tougher anti-corruption measures.
Newsday’s Westchester edition quotes Governor Cuomo as saying he won’t let session end ‘without something being done.’ The Governor also said that he may convene a special prosecutorial panel if lawmakers don’t take action.
Although campaign finances have had nothing to do with the wiretapping scandal, many groups are calling for campaign finance reform as part of a deal. Our campaign finance reform expert Heather Jung has been analyzing the latest proposals. Keep up to date on our campaign finance reform page or contact her at email@example.com for more information.
The Associated Press counted the number of state level officials caught up in corruption cases in the past seven years. Can you guess the number? Without further suspense, it’s 32. The AP story follows the arrests of four arrests in just the past four weeks.
Click here to read more.
Judge Orders Release of Identities of Nine People Recorded
And then there were nine. A federal judge will unseal a document this afternoon that contains the names of nine people who were recorded by former state Senator Shirley Huntley. Six of those people are elected officials. We will post the names as soon as learn of them.
Jimmy Vielkind wrote the story for the Times Union. Click here to read more.
From The New York Times to the Times Union, many details are emerging in the corruption case against State Senator John Sampson. From Times reporter Mosi Secret: “…When [Sampson] became concerned that his actions were under scrutiny by federal prosecutors, he allegedly took a step that stands out even in the growing annals of wrongdoing by New York lawmakers.”
Click here to read the Times report.
Click here to read Jimmy Vielkind’s report in the Times Union.
Governor Cuomo unveiled a bill Monday that would make failure by public officials to report suspected corruption a misdemeanor. Yancy Roy of Newsday wrote that “the bill would [also] create new crimes and increase penalties for violating existing anti-corruption laws.”
Click here to read more.
Kenneth Lovett of The Daily News writes that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver held a closed-door meeting with his Democratic conference recently and warned them that corruption taints the entire chamber. But his warning, critics say, comes a little too late.
Click here to read Lovett’s article.