Panel Backs Subpoenas on Lawmakers' Income
A commission appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to root out corruption in state government voted yesterday to subpoena lawmakers to obtain information on their outside business interests, according to a source close to the probe.
The decision by the Moreland Commission sets up a potential separation-of-powers showdown between the executive branch panel and the Legislature. It also has special implications for practicing attorneys in the Legislature, who have expressed ethical concerns over disclosing clients' names.
Tuesday's vote to "aggressively move forward in compelling production of information into specific matters that the Commission is investigating," came after the Legislature refused to comply with a request in August to divulge the source of any outside income exceeding $20,000.
In a statement issued yesterday, the commission said it will pursue its mandate to "examine abuse of office by public officials," in part by looking at lawmakers' "outside business practices." Although the commission declined to elaborate, a source connected to the investigation confirmed that subpoenas will be issued.
Attorneys for the Legislature have suggested that such an action by Moreland Commission would likely trigger litigation on the separation of powers issue. Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, represents the Assembly, and Michael Garcia of Kirkland & Ellis represents the Senate.