Moreland Act Commission

Advocacy groups are encouraged by recent statements made by the co-chairman of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission, who says he now favors public financing of political campaigns.

Syracuse-area Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick is the co-chairman of Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, and says he has become a convert to using public funds to finance political campaigns.

  The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption is already making waves in Albany, as the media and the public react to what's coming out at its public hearings.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher talks with the Commission's Co-chair, Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, about the Commission's work and its possible impact on the state's politics.  He also addresses the charge that the Governor Andrew Cuomo is meddling in the Commission's affairs.

The Moreland Act Commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo is releasing a preliminary report on public corruption in a few weeks. The commission is charged with investigating corruption in state governmental agencies, and has already gone after the state Board of Elections and the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or J-COPE, at recent public hearings.

During an interview with Grant Reeher, host of WRVO's Campbell Conversations, commission co-chairman and Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says the commission's investigation has uncovered criminal activity.

New York State Senate

Republicans in the New York Senate, who are targets of subpoenas by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption Moreland Act Commission, are fighting back in court.

The subpoenas were sent by the Moreland Commission to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, as well as the campaign committees of Democrats, seeking internal documents and emails. The Senate GOP has filed a challenge in Supreme Court, claiming that it’s not fair to compel Republicans to hand over documents that outline their political campaign strategies to a commission appointed by a Democratic governor.

New York State Board of Elections officials received a verbal drubbing from commissioners on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission, during a lengthy hearing over their failure to pursue complaints about campaign violations during the past several years.

During intense questioning by the commissioners, Board of Elections officials admitted that they failed to follow up on hundreds of complaints and potential election law violations over the past several years. And when they did pursue a very small number of cases, they appeared to bungle the probes.  

e-MagineArt.com / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission held another hearing Monday focusing on reforming the state’s campaign finance system.

Common Cause says the Moreland Commission should open a probe to see if there’s a link between around $5 million spent by major pharmaceutical companies on lobbying and campaign donations to New York state politicians, and the failure to pass major consumer-friendly bills regulating Big Pharma.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, offered high praise for one another during an event at the Capitol Monday. Their remarks come as questions are raised about Duffy's political future.

Some newspapers have called for an ethics probe after Duffy admitted he’s been interviewing for a job with the Rochester Business Alliance, a trade and lobby group, while serving on Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils. Duffy has now withdrawn from consideration for the job. He introduced Cuomo at a disaster preparedness forum.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

A Siena College poll this week shows that most New Yorkers don't know about the Moreland Commission, a panel of district attorneys and law enforcement officials investigating public corruption in Albany.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the Moreland Commission, says it doesn't bother him that many New Yorkers are unaware of the group's probes into public corruption. But he expects that'll change December 1, when the Moreland Commission releases it's report.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A new poll finds Gov. Andrew Cuomo well positioned to win re-election next year, but there are some weaknesses in his generally positive numbers.

An anti-corruption commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has deepened its investigations in recent days. The probes are intensifying as Cuomo comes increasingly under fire, accused of trying to control the panel and even suppress some subpoenas.

A corruption commission appointed by Cuomo has voted to send subpoenas to some key members of the legislature to find out more about their relationships with private law clients.

A corruption commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has voted to issue subpoenas to some members of the legislature to force them to disclose money paid to them by private law clients.

The Moreland Act commission wrote letters to state senators and assemblymembers who make more than $20,000 a year from outside legal clients, a figure that includes all of the major party legislative leaders. The legislature hired attorneys, who said no.

News reports in recent days portray Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission on corruption as possibly going off the rails. Government reform groups say they are concerned and want some answers.

Cuomo appointed the Moreland Act Commission at the close of a legislative session that saw numerous lawmakers arrested, indicted and jailed for corruption, and with no agreement on any reform measures. Cuomo said at the time that he wanted wrongdoers punished, and commission co-chair, Syracuse area District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, described how that would be accomplished.

The second public hearing held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s commission to probe public corruption featured testimony from long time government reform groups. Many brought more evidence that they say shows potential corruption involving money and politics.

Protesters outside the hearing were advocating for public campaign finance reform, chanting “money out, voters in,” and displaying a wall of shame, featuring pictures and likenesses of dozens of politicians who’ve been indicted, arrested, convicted or jailed in recent years.

The second hearing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission, which is targeting corruption in the legislature, will be held Tuesday evening in Albany. Government reform groups are scheduled to testify, and some say the commission should be looking at some of the campaign contributions to the governor himself.

A commission appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate public corruption is holding its first series of hearings. At the kick-off event in New York City, a prominent figure in busting corruption in the legislature announced he’s found a back door way to confiscate the pensions of convicted state politicians.

A leading government reform group has some advice for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission’s ongoing investigations. They say look at a major loophole that has allowed $98 million in unlimited donations to flow into what’s known as party housekeeping accounts.

A new poll finds most New Yorkers are ashamed of the candidacies of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer for mayor and comptroller of New York City, respectively. The Siena College poll also finds that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in contrast, is enjoying a minor rebound with voters.

The co-chairwoman of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission on public corruption, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, says subpoenas have been sent out and more public hearings are planned.

Rice was at the Capitol for the third private meeting of Cuomo’s Moreland Act Commission. She says several subpoenas have been issued, but they have to be kept secret for now so that the ongoing investigations won’t be jeopardized.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a Moreland Act Commission to investigate the legislature is not the first time a governor created a panel to probe state lawmakers. In fact, Cuomo’s own father did it a quarter century ago, with mixed results.

When Andrew Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo, was governor back in the 1980s, he also called on the powers in the now 100-year-old Moreland Act to appoint a commission to look into government corruption.

Cuomo appoints commission to probe the legislature

Jul 3, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has joined forces with the New York State Attorney General to create a commission with wide ranging powers to investigate corruption in the state legislature. This move follows a legislative session during which nearly three dozen state lawmakers have been indicted, arrested, or jailed.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick was named a co-chair of the commission, and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney will serve as a member of the panel.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he will be announcing his Moreland Act commission to investigate the campaign donation filings of the legislature in the “immediate future.”

Cuomo failed to get lawmakers to agree on a package of campaign finance reforms in the just-completed legislative session, and says he will now appoint a commission under the powers of the state’s Moreland Act, to investigate campaign filings at the State Board of Elections. The governor says in the end, it might even work out better.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, frustrated by what he says is the failure of the legislature to agree to a reform package, says he’ll follow through with a threat to investigate the legislature, using special powers given to him under the state’s Moreland Act. But there are potential limitations built into the act.

Cuomo says he did not want to compromise on a reform package that includes public campaign financing, and new prosecutorial powers for the state’s district attorneys to root out public corruption.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is launching a Moreland Act investigation into the state’s utilities companies, which he says he hopes will result in a complete overhaul of New York’s power distribution system.

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