for the Jasper Jottings eNews
One Commission Member and one Special Advisor are graduates of Manhattan College.
June Trizzino ’75
Bipartisan Commission to Include Top Law Enforcement, Comprising Former US Attorneys, District Attorneys from Across the State & Policy Experts in Elections
Albany, NY (July 2, 2013)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the formation of the “Commission to Investigate Public Corruption” under the Moreland Act and Executive Law Section 63(8) to probe systemic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections in New York State. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he will appoint the members of the Commission as Deputy Attorneys General, giving the Commission broad-based authority to investigate all matters that “involve public peace, public safety, and public justice.” Under the Executive Order, the Commission will also have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath as well as subpoena any necessary records. The Governor’s action follows several recent proven and alleged incidents of corruption and misconduct by public officials that have shown that current laws are inadequate and reforms are necessary to guard against abuses, ensure accountability in government, address the need for reform in our campaign finance laws, and restore the public’s confidence and trust in state government and state elections.
“We must root out corruption in politics and government,” Governor Cuomo said. “This session, I put forward the most comprehensive and aggressive legislative package Albany has seen in decades to address the corrosive influence of money in elections, strengthen prosecutors’ ability to fight corruption, increase penalties against those who violate the public trust, and give voters more access to the ballot box. From the beginning, I said I would not accept a watered-down approach to cleaning up Albany and that the Legislature must either pass this legislative package or I would empanel an investigative commission tasked with accomplishing these same goals to achieve reform. Since the Legislature has failed to act, today I am formally empanelling a Commission to Investigate Public Corruption pursuant to the Moreland Act and Section 63(8) of the Executive Law that will convene the best minds in law enforcement and public policy from across New York to address weaknesses in the State’s public corruption, election and campaign finance laws, generate transparency and accountability, and restore the public trust.”
“New Yorkers want real reform, and expect and deserve the officials they put in office to be working to serve the public interest, not their own,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This commission will be able to conduct a top to bottom investigation of New York State’s government, and move us forward to repair our broken political process, strengthen our representative democracy and give New Yorkers the quality of leadership they deserve.”
“By convening this Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, Governor Cuomo is taking an aggressive and necessary step to strengthen our laws so that we can more effectively combat corruption in New York State government,” said Co-Chair William J. Fitzpatrick. “The Commission will be a powerful body to root out those who take advantage and defraud the public. I am pleased to be a part of the Governor’s efforts to return the public’s trust in government and enhance our democracy. He has put together a team of leading prosecutors and policy experts that I am proud to be a part of, and together we will work to clean up Albany once and for all.”
“Governor Cuomo has made it clear that corruption in New York’s government will not be tolerated,” said Co-Chair Kathleen Rice. “Over the past two and a half years, he has taken bold steps to restore integrity in state government and this past legislative session, he proposed major reforms to fight public corruption and ensure fairer and honest elections. The Moreland Commission on Public Corruption will carry out those important goals by undertaking a thorough investigation and review of existing laws so that we can find ways to improve them and protect the rights of New Yorkers. I thank the Governor for his leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with some of the best law enforcement and public policy professionals in this state.”
“The culture of corruption in Albany has undermined New Yorkers’ faith in their government, and something must be done to create fundamental change,” said Co-Chair Milton L. Williams, Jr. “I am honored to be working with the Governor, the Attorney General and my fellow Commissioners to investigate and expose the problems and lead the charge for reform. The work of this historic commission will not be done until we have restored the public trust. Those who abuse that trust are on notice.”
The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption will have broad investigative authority under the Moreland Act and Executive Law Section 63(8). Previous commissions established by former governors, including Governors Mario Cuomo, Thomas Dewey, and Nelson Rockefeller, conducted investigations to uncover the facts involving corruption and misconduct in many different areas, including, for example, certain private industries, local governments, state agencies, political campaigns for all State offices and political parties. These past commissions provide strong precedents for the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption’s broad jurisdiction. Challenges to these Commissions’ subpoenas were filed by local officials, private individuals, and political parties, and were rejected by the courts in every instance.
The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption will be tasked with thoroughly reviewing the adequacy of existing state laws, regulations and procedures involving unethical and unlawful misconduct by public officials, and the electoral process and campaign finance laws. The Commission will also examine whether existing laws have been fairly and vigorously enforced, and what changes must be made to such enforcement. During the Commission’s investigation, it will also review recent instances of reported misconduct by officials to determine causes and adequacy of laws and enforcement tools to more effectively prevent and punish this kind of misconduct in the future. The Commission is directed to make recommendations to toughen and improve existing laws and procedures.
Areas where the Commission will focus its investigation include but are not limited to:
Criminal statutes for corruption and misconduct by public officials, such as bribery laws.
Campaign financing including but not limited to contribution limits and other restrictions; disclosure of third-party contributions and expenditures; and the effectiveness of existing campaign finance laws.
Compliance of outside organizations and persons with existing lobbying laws, including but not limited to organizations engaged in lobbying and other efforts to influence public policies and elections, and the effectiveness of such laws.
Adequacy and enforcement of the State’s election laws and electoral process including: the structure and composition of the State and County Boards of Elections, the Board of Elections’ enforcement, and the effectiveness of and compliance with existing election laws.
During its investigation, the Commission is mandated to promptly communicate any evidence of violations of existing law to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, including the Attorney General. In such cases, the State Police will make jurisdictional referrals to the Attorney General where appropriate.
The Commission will issue a preliminary report on its initial findings and recommendations by December 1, 2013.
The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (Moreland Commission) Includes:
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Thomas P. Zugibe was elected Rockland County District Attorney in 2007, and re-elected to a four year term in 2011. Earlier in his career, D.A. Zugibe worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New York State Deputy Attorney General for Medicaid Fraud Control and as an Assistant District Attorney and Executive Assistant District Attorney in the Rockland County D.A.’s office. He also worked for two decades in private practice, concentrating on personal injury and commercial litigation. D.A. Zugibe attended Manhattan College and St. John’s University School of Law.
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Raymond W. Kelly has served as Police Commissioner of the City of New York since 2002. Commissioner Kelly was formerly Senior Managing Director of Global Corporate Security at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Before that, he served as Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service. From 1996 to 1998, Commissioner Kelly was Under Secretary for Enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department. In addition, Mr. Kelly served on the executive committee and was elected Vice President for the Americas of Interpol, the international police organization, from 1996 to 2000. In 1994, he was appointed to serve as Director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti. He is a forty-three year veteran of the NYPD. Commissioner Kelly graduated from Manhattan College, St. John’s University School of Law and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
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Zugibe, Thomas [MC1975]
Kelly, Ray [MC1963]
Trizzino, June L. (MC1975)
[JR: Thanks, June. Much appreciated. This hasn't shown up in my filters. The loss of Google Reader is hurting.]
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