Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday reiterated his threat to appoint a panel with wide-ranging investigatory powers if the Legislature doesn’t act on anti-corruption measures before they leave the Capitol next week.
In a radio interview, Cuomo said he and legislative leaders are nearing agreement on major looming issues like a bill to locate non-Indian casinos upstate and a measure to establish tax-free zones for businesses who create jobs near SUNY campuses.
But he was less optimistic about reaching a deal on his 10-point Women’s Equality Act—which contains an abortion provision—and a plan to battle corruption in the state Legislature. When it comes to the latter, he again threatened to establish a commission under the state Moreland Act, which would have subpoena power and would be tasked with investigating corruption in the Legislature.
Cuomo is expected to unveil another piece of his anti-corruption agenda—this one dealing mainly with campaign-finance reform—at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
“The last big piece, frankly, is the clean up Albany agenda … which is an anti-corruption clean-up program,” Cuomo said on “The Capitol Pressroom,” a public-radio program. “That’s going to be done one way or the other. As I’ve said repeatedly, either the Legislature will pass a piece of legislation that cleans up Albany or I’ll do it on my own through a Moreland commission.”
He continued: “Life is options and those are the options.”
A string of lawmaker arrests that started in April stirred talk of boosting the state’s bribery and corruption laws, with no fewer than five major proposals unveiled by Cuomo and legislative conferences since then.
Cuomo has used the threat of a Moreland Act commission before. In 2011, he said he would convene a panel if lawmakers didn’t create a new, more-independent ethics watchdog, which led to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which has faced significant criticism since its creation in 2011.
He convened a Moreland Act commission last year to investigate the response from utilities to Superstorm Sandy.
(AP file photo/Mike Groll)