Posted at: 09/24/2013 9:57 AM
| Updated at: 09/24/2013 6:47 PM
The New York State Capitol in Albany.
File / AP
Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to drag the state legislature into major reform it doesn't want to make.
The governor has put together a special investigative commission that will try to gather information and apply pressure over strong legislative resistance.
Dozens of state legislators have outside jobs as lawyers, including the leaders of both the assembly and the state senate.
Some lawmakers earn more money from those outside jobs than they do from their Albany duties. But legislators won't reveal who their clients are, so we can't judge whether any of the hundreds of laws that get passed do special favors for the unknown entities that are paying big money to our lawmakers.
In a perfect world, it wouldn't matter what jobs legislators did away from Albany.
They wouldn't let the fact clients were paying them influence any action they took as lawmakers.
But Albany is all about influence and relationships, pretty much the exact opposite of that perfect world we might like. “This effort is all about restoring the trust and restoring people's faith in government,” said Gov. Cuomo.
Dozens of state lawmakers have face indictment and jail time in the last few years. The concern about under the table dealing and influence selling is very real. Honest lawmakers have been sullied by their crocked counterparts. Although legislators agreed to reveal the amount of outside income they make, they are fighting demands to show where the money comes from. The Moreland Commission is fighting to gather those names.
“This is up to them but they are prosecutors, I was the Attorney General…I think legally their power will be upheld,” said the governor.
Moreland Commission spokeswoman Michelle Duffy says "We believe the legislature's position is legally indefensible, ethically repugnant, and disrespectful to the public's right to know.
The Moreland Commission Meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Empire State Plaza Meeting Room Six.
Failing to participate and supply requested information is another black mark publicly for the state legislature, but whether Tuesday's meeting does anything to actually shake loose the information being sought, like the names of clients, is extremely questionable.