State legislators are “making a mistake” by resisting requests for information from the Moreland Commission, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.
The Moreland panel, which was created by Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman earlier this year to investigate corruption in state government, has suggested subpoenas are on their way to state lawmakers after they rebuffed a formal request for details on how they earned their outside income and a list of their legal clients.
But attorneys hired by Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats have questioned whether the Moreland Commission even has the authority to subpoena that information, given New York’s separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.
Speaking to reporters in Albany, Cuomo said lawmakers are making it look like they have something to hide.
“I think they’re making a mistake,” Cuomo said. “I think they’re compounding the public sense that they have something to hide. I believe it’s in everyone’s best interest for the public to have trust in the Legislature. I think it will make the Legislature a more rewarding job.”
The battle with the Moreland panel risks hurting Cuomo’s relationship with the Legislature, which has been mutually beneficial (generally speaking) since he took office in 2011.
“I think it will make it an effective body,” Cuomo said. “The Legislature’s point is, ‘Well, there’s only a few bad apples.” That may very well be true. By the way, it probably is true. But we do need systemic reform and this is the time to do it. And we do need to restore the public trust.”