State legislators balk at Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission: report

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wants to crack down on corruption.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wants to crack down on corruption.
Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a special commission Tuesday to investigate corruption in Albany after months of scandal surfacing in the state’s capital.

Several members of the New York state legislature have been nabbed in a series of high-profile arrests this year, many on charges related to campaign financing.

The commission will be endowed with subpoena power to solicit records from the Board of Elections, and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he is appointing the commission’s members as Deputy Attorneys General, broadening the scope of their power to include all matters that “involve public peace, public safety and public justice.”

Not only will they be able to subpoena records, they can also subpoena and examine witnesses under oath.

“This commission will be able to conduct a top-to-bottom investigation of New York State’s government, and move us forward to repair our broken political process, strengthen our representative democracy and give New Yorkers the quality of leadership they deserve,” Schneiderman said.

The 25-person commission will comprised largely of district attorneys, including Nassau County’s Kathleen Rice and Bronx DA Robert Johnson, they will not have prosecutorial powers — but they will be able to refer their findings to law enforcement.

The committee comes after a set of Cuomo-proposed campaign finance reform and anti-corruptions bills were killed in the legislature.

Cuomo expressed his disappointment in the Legislature, which “failed to act” on “the most comprehensive and aggressive legislative package Albany has seen in decades to address the corrosive influence of money in elections, strengthen prosecutors’ ability to fight corruption, increase penalties against those who violate the public trust, and give voters more access to the ballot box.” 

“From the beginning, I said I would not accept a watered-down approach to cleaning up Albany and that the Legislature must either pass this legislative package or I would empanel an investigative commission tasked with accomplishing these same goals to achieve reform,” the governor said.

The Republican leader of the State Senate, Dean Skelos, reportedly balked at news of the commission, insisting a “witch hunt” against legislators would be “totally inappropriate,” and threatening an investigation into the executive branch in response.

“A legislative body can also do things we feel is appropriate,” Skelos reportedly told the Daily News.

One of the recent high-profile arrests was Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat. Smith has been charged with trying to bribe his way into the New York City mayoral election on the Republican ticket.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Eagles will spend Thanksgiving in Dallas, play four…

The Eagles have an impressive, challenging and exciting schedule in 2014.

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule.

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."