Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 2, 2013

Cuomo creates panel to investigate state Legislature


Niagara Gazette — The commission is chaired by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Syracuse District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and attorney Milton Williams. Most of its other 22 members are attorneys and prosecutors, including several republicans. State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters are special advisers.

Fitzpatrick questioned news reports that some legislators expressed surprise Cuomo was establishing a commission. "What is the magic number that it takes for people to say, 'Wow, there's a problem here'? The number's about 35 right now — people indicted, under investigation, sentenced to prison."

Meetings would start immediately Tuesday to put together a strategy and staff would soon start examining documents, said commission executive director Regina Calcaterra, who also directed Cuomo's special commission that investigated the Long Island Power Authority's response to Hurricane Sandy.

They include campaign finance reports at the Board of Elections and financial disclosures filed by legislators and other elected officials.

Michael Whyland, spokesman for the Assembly's majority Democratic Conference, said Tuesday that campaign finance reform has been among that chamber's top priorities and passed there many times, including this year.

"We look forward to working with the commission to develop and advance comprehensive policy recommendations so we can finally have a system in place that reduces the influence of money in our elections," he said.

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