New York Republican Chairman Ed Cox today called for the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption to investigate the circumstances of Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy seeking the leadership post at a Rochester-area business lobby.

“New Yorkers have a right to know how their public officials are interacting with the special interests,” said Cox in a statement. “If Lieutenant Gov. Duffy indeed failed to disclose the nature of his relationship with the Rochester Business Alliance to Gov. Cuomo, that would represent a major violation of state ethics laws.

Duffy has since acknowledged that he interviewed for the job on Oct. 5, but formally outgoing Rochester Business Alliance President Sandy Parker announced subsequently she would delay her retirement a year.

At issue, though, is Duffy leading Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s regional economic development councils which provide packaged state grants and credits to businesses. To be clear, Duffy and the councils do not score or determine who wins the actual economic development aid.

“The only way to determine whether or not the State’s second ranking public official committed an ethics violation is for the Moreland Commission to conduct a thorough investigation,” Cox said. “I urge them to do so immediately. The sole legal mandate of a Moreland Commission is to investigate the executive branch of government. If this already compromised Moreland Commission on Corruption is not willing to investigate the second highest elected official in the executive branch for what appears to be a clear violations of the ethics laws, they should pack up and go home.”

The Moreland Commission is set to hold a public hearing later this evening.

Updated: And predictably, the state Democratic Party responds by reminding us all that Ed Cox is indeed related to Richard Nixon. As we’ve noted before, Executive Director Rodney Capel has a penchant for trying to squeeze in a reference to Richard Nixon whenever responding to a comment from Cox.

“If the Moreland Commission should look at anything, it should be Ed Cox sitting at the table with Malcolm Smith and presiding over a party that tried to sell its mayoral party line for the largest bribe. Mr. Cox has brought his own personal brand of Nixonian corruption to the state GOP and has never come clean about his role in the entire Malcolm Smith affair. Before he calls for anyone else to be investigated, he should, as the saying goes, admit what did he know and when did he know it.”