Yesterday, Gov. Cuomo followed through on his promise to appoint a Moreland Act Commission to investigate corruption in state government. Read the Governor’s announcement. The move follows the conclusion of a legislative session in which a number of state lawmakers were charged with malfeasance and without the Legislature taking action to enact any new ethics reforms.

 

The 25-member Commission to Investigate Public Corruption will be co-chaired by Onondaga District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, Nassau County D.A. Kathleen Rice and attorney Milton Williams.  Under the Governor’s Executive Order, the Commission will also have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath and subpoena any necessary records.

 

The Governor’s Executive Order is here.

 

The Executive Order directs the Commission to focus its investigation on:

 

–       campaign finance issues, including contribution limits; disclosure of third-party contributions and expenditures; and the effectiveness of existing campaign finance laws;

–       criminal statutes governing corruption and misconduct by public officials;

·     lobbying compliance with the state’s lobbying laws, including organizations engaged in lobbying and other efforts to influence public policies and elections, and the effectiveness of such laws; and

·     whether the State’s election laws are being enforced adequately.

 

The Commission will issue a preliminary report on its initial findings and recommendations by December 1, 2013, and a final report by the end of 2014.

 

We are skeptical that yet another government commission is what is needed to change the culture of state government.  Though they may be few in number, there are just too many dishonest elected officials in office.  We need the honest ones – which the overwhelming majority of them are — to declare in no uncertain terms that corruption and undue influence will not be tolerated.