New York's anti-corruption commission says it will compel lawmakers to provide information they've refused to turn over during a month-long standoff. YNN's Nick Reisman reports.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- The commission investigating public corruption indicated Tuesday it will begin issuing subpoenas to state lawmakers to force them to reveal more information about their outside income, including the names of their legal clients.
It's a move that comes after the commission was criticized for reportedly deciding not to issue subpoenas to Governor Andrew Cuomo's allies at the state Democratic Party and in the real-estate industry.
"The Governor has said that he understands the commission needs to be independent. We definitely support the commission pursuing the money that they feel is in every way appropriate," said Susan Lerner, Common Cause Executive Director.
In a statement issued by the the Moreland Commission's three co-chairs, district attorneys William Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Rice and lawyer Milton Williams, the panel indicated it voted to "aggressively compel" the Legislature to release the information.
The commission initially sought the information this summer, but was rebuffed in a joint letter sent by lawyers for the Senate and Assembly.
In a statement the co-chairs said, “The Commission will continue its mandate of investigating corruption, issuing subpoenas, holding public hearings and will issue our first report on December 1."
Cuomo indicated he did not expect the commission would be wrapping up its work any time soon as it begins a new confrontation with the Legislature.
"They're talking as they should be. Everybody's talking, which is intelligent. I don't believe there's going to be any quick resolution to the matter. That's my gut," said Governor Cuomo.
The latest development comes after the commission has come under fire for not focusing on Cuomo's own campaign finances. The Governor has amassed a $28 million war chest for his campaign next year.
In a radio interview, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who helped pick some of the commission members, said the commission needs to be independent of outside influence.
"To succeed, the commission has to be independent and has to follow the money wherever it goes. I'm opposed to anything that doesn't follow those goals," said Schneiderman.
Cuomo has said the panel has free reign to investigate any area, including his campaign finances. However, he has been vague as to whether his staff has had any influence in directing where the commission issues its subpoenas.