Posted at: 10/16/2013 11:56 PM
By: Dan Levy
ALBANY - After not getting the voluntary cooperation they had been hoping for from lawmakers, Governor Cuomo's Moreland Commission has now put lawmakers on notice that they're "aggressively moving forward" in their corruption investigation, and that subpoenas are on the way.
What the commission requested from state lawmakers at the end of August was the source of any outside income more than $20,000 per year. When lawmakers refused to comply, the commission decided it'll issue subpoenas to get the information.
"In my opinion, they're going after the legal community," opined Assemblyman John McDonald (D - Cohoes), "and I think this is where the rub is in the whole process."
McDonald says he's more than happy to provide full disclosure about his pharmacy business to the commission, although he also understands why lawyer/legislators might be reluctant on legal grounds from providing client information.
"I know personally, if my attorney was a legislator, I'd like to know that before I continue to do business."
"I think (the lawyer/client privilege) can be solved by revealing who your clients are," suggested Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R - Melrose), "but the Moreland Commission has to keep that confidential, unless there's some criminal conduct going on."
McLaughlin says the Moreland investigation is the right thing to do politically, even though he remains a skeptic.
"I have an unfortunate feeling that it's all about show," McLaughlin states, "It's all about the appearance of doing something but at the end of the day, when you see subpoenas being stopped, is it really anything more than just a dog and pony show?"
McDonald also has some concerns.
"I truly hope they're going after everybody and not going after a certain legislator in the assembly and a certain senator in the senate," McDonald says, "That they're doing a full, comprehensive review. That's the way to do it to make it devoid of politics."
Meanwhile, McLaughlin also says he'd like to see the Moreland Commission investigation include, not just lawmakers, but also members of the executive branch, pointing to a huge tax break given to New York City developers by a law signed by Governor Cuomo after he received campaign contributions from those developers.
The commission's first report is due December first.