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.
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.
The New York Times reports that Governor Cuomo is seeking to add a “new independent office to enforce state election law as a response to the latest corruption charges. The governor also proposed allowing voters and candidates to switch their party enrollment closer to the date of an election and allowing candidates to run in another party’s primary without seeking permission from party leaders.
Tom Precious of The Buffalo News wrote a good piece that looks at all sides of the headline story of the week: Fred Dicker’s column that quotes an anonymous source who suggests that Governor Cuomo is seeking the ouster of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a report that was disputed by sources in a Daily News report and by Governor Cuomo, himself. We shared those stories with you Monday. Here’s Tom’s story which looks at the apparent backlash against Governor Cuomo.
Governor Cuomo gave some hints about an ethics package he’s putting together during an interview with Susan Arbetter on her WCNY program, “The Capitol Pressroom” Monday. He also addressed the recent Fred Dicker New York Post column which said the governor was attempting to push Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver out. “Never waste a crisis,” said Cuomo to Arbetter.
Casey Seiler wrote about the interview for the Times Union. Click here to read more.
Panels Get Sex Harass Report
Jimmy Vielkind of the Times Union writes about the ethics probe of the Assembly’s handling of the sexual harassment claims against Assemblyman Vito Lopez:
The state ethics watchdog has forwarded a report of its findings to two legislative panels for possible sanctions after ending its probe of the Assembly’s handling of sexual harassment allegations involving a senior member.
The announcement on Wednesday means the Joint Commission on Public Ethics has found a “substantial basis” that violations of state law have occurred. The report is private, but should eventually become public.
The JCOPE report goes to the Legislative Ethics Commission, a bipartisan panel charged with weighing violations of legislative law and issuing penalties, as well as the Assembly Ethics Committee “which has jurisdiction over Assembly rules and policies,” according to a news release from JCOPE.
“Subject to limited exceptions, the LEC must make the report public within 45 days,” the release said. “Given the nature of this matter, the Joint Commission urges the LEC to act expeditiously.”