Moreland Meets, Albany Edition
From the morning memo:
The Moreland Commission on Public Corruption will hold its second public hearing and its first in Albany since its creation in July.
Due to testify before the panel today are a host of good-government groups from Common Cause to NYPIRG to Citizens Union.
But the goo-goos likely don’t want to make today’s meeting about a greatest hits collection of complaints about lax enforcement and loopholes.
Citizens Union today is releasing a detailed report on the approximately $3 billion — that’s with a “b” — in funds set aside that have seemingly replaced member items. The problem with this cash is that no names are attached to the funds, so it’s impossible to determine whose back is being scratched.
The money became all the more intriguing when Sen. Malcolm Smith, now under indictment for bribery charges, suggested using “multi-modal transit” funds in order to grease the wheels.
At the same time, Common Cause has been releasing a series of “Moreland Mondays” reports suggesting where the commission ought to look at the intersection of campaign financing and policy making — a sector of the investigation that may certainly fall under the “legal but questionable” gray area.
And the panel meets as the corruption beat keeps the state’s political (and cops and courts) reporters busy.
Willie Rapfogel, the former head of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, surrendered early this morning to police on charges of larceny and money laundering. Investigators believe Rapfogel may have padded insurance payments that was then funneled into the campaign contributions of politicians who provided grants to the organization.
The news is an added headache to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, already reeling from two sexual harassment scandals involving members of his Democratic conference, due to his close ties to Rapfogel.
More broadly, the commission also meets after lawmakers in a joint Assembly-Senate letter from their respective lawyers, rejected the commission’s request for more information on their outside income.
The letter questioned whether the commission, ostensibly a creature of the executive branch, even has the power to investigate and subpoena the Legislature.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who created the commission after no legislative responses to the string of corruption arrests this past spring were accomplished, promised on Monday that Moreland’s subpoena power will be upheld, though he was mighty careful in his wording.
“I think legally the Moreland’s subpoena power will be upheld,” Cuomo said while adding, “This is up to them, but they are prosecutors. I was the attorney general. When they say they have other avenues, they other avenues to pursue.”
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on September 24, 2013 at 11:53 am, and is filed under Ethics. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|