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Cuomo creates panel to investigate NY Legislature
Following up on a promise he made a month ago Governor Andrew Cuomo used his Moreland Commission powers and unveiled a 25 member board to fight corruption and ethics in state politics.
When it appeared the state legislature would leave Albany without passing a bill to address campaign finance or ethics reform, Governor Cuomo threatened to take matters into his own hands. Using a power given to governor's nearly 100 years ago, Cuomo turned to the Moreland Commission.
The board is tasked with oversight of campaign funds, how they are spent and donated, and also weeding out pay to play schemes in politics.
"This, I believe, was a better alternative to any compromised legislative package,' Cuomo said Tuesday.
The governor repeatedly vowed to not negotiate the terms of his "sweeping and broad legislation" that he unveiled in April. After he followed through on that promise no bill was passed.
On Tuesday the governor introduced his 25 member panel to combat corruption and oversee campaigns. Members include district attorney's, law professionals, and local government officials.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is also on the board. Schneiderman has instilled investigative powers to all members as "Deputy Attorney's General".
"New Yorker's are asking for reform and this is a vehicle as an investigative entity but it is also a vehicle for reform," Schneiderman said.
This past legislative session a half dozen state lawmakers were arrested on a variety of charges ranging fro embezzlement to bribery.
Members of the state's Republican party are blasting the governor's panel. GOP senate leader Dean Skelos, Long Island, called the board a "witch hunt" during a radio interview Monday.
State GOP Chairman, Ed Cox, told CBS6 Capitol Correspondent Pat Bailey, Tuesday, he is concerned about the size of the board that is co-headed by three different people.
"They are limited in what they can do," Cox said by phone. "The biggest concern is they have a lack of ability to prosecute."
The board, which does in fact have subpoena power, will have the ability to request a lawmaker be the target of an arrest.
The board will put forth an "initial" report at the end of 2013 and a more in depth report in 2014.