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HV Lawmakers React To Moreland Commission's Investigation

Karen DeWitt

New York State’s Moreland Commission, in an effort to root out public corruption, is looking into lawmakers’ outside income. After some lawmakers rebuffed the Commission’s requests, its co-chairs indicated subpoenas were forthcoming.

The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, created by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year, sent a letter in late August requesting information from state lawmakers who earned more than $20,000 in income aside from their part-time legislative salaries. The Commission co-chairs, in a statement, said that after leaders of the legislature for both the Assembly and Senate refused to cooperate, the Commission voted October 15 to aggressively move forward in compelling production of information into specific matters that the Commission is investigating.

Democratic State Senator Terry Gipson, who represents much of Dutchess County and parts of Putnam, commends the Commission’s investigation.

The Moreland Commission’s statement also says the Commission will continue its mandate of investigating corruption, issuing subpoenas and holding public hearings before releasing its first report December 1. Several lawmakers also work as attorneys. Republican Assemblyman Kieran Lalor does not. He represents parts of Dutchess County and says while he agrees with the Moreland Commission’s goal of rooting out corruption, he also sees the need to protect attorney-private client confidentiality. Lalor therefore, proposes a different way to go about investigating outside income, a proposal he has sent to the Commission.

He says he would like to see the Commission put the brakes on the subpoena process. Lalor says he has disclosed his outside income and clients to the Commission, foregoing legal representation from the Assembly Democrats’ outside attorney.

Senator Gipson, who also is not an attorney, says while he understands concerns about attorney-client privileges, the investigation should continue.

State Senator David Carlucci, an Independent Democrat whose district includes a large part of Rockland County and a piece of Westchester, says the end result should be reform.

Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis represents part of Orange County and a slice of Rockland. Asked whether he supports the Commission’s issuing subpoenas to lawmakers for information on outside income, Skoufis replies:

Meanwhile, a Siena College poll shows that the Moreland Commission and its work are largely unknown to voters, yet 72 percent of voters want the Commission to continue investigations.

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