A co-chair of state Moreland Commission on Monday said he would consider it a “victory” if lawmakers implemented all of the group’s recommendations minus the centerpiece proposal—a system for publicly financing political campaigns.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, in an interview on public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom,” discussed the Moreland panel’s 98-page report while shedding light on early negotiations with the Legislature that eventually went nowhere.
Fitzpatrick said at one point he was open to participating in talks that could have led to the enactment of a series of anti-corruption reforms and the dissolution of the Moreland panel, which was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year to investigate public corruption. But the talks were fruitless, and he’s since decided against participating in potential negotiations.
“My attitude is peace is better than war, and if we could come to a series of reforms that were meaningful and comprehensive and substantive, then why go through 18 months of rancor?” Fitzpatrick said. “We were so far apart that I guess in hindsight I wish I hadn’t even attended the meeting.”
In its preliminary report last week, the Moreland Commission suggested a number of potential bills to stem corruption in Albany—including lower limits on campaign donations, the creation of a tougher enforcement unit to carry out election laws and the public campaign finance system, which would match small donations with public money at a 6-to-1 rate.
Fitzpatrick seemed to confirm a New York Post report on an unnamed New York City health clinic that was the target of part of the Moreland panel’s ongoing investigation. The Post pegged it to a Brooklyn storefront that houses Relief Resources Inc.
“We’re going to be looking at the health clinic the New York Post, I think, exposed the other day,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’re going to look at where did that money go? It certainly didn’t go to improve the health of anybody in New York City. Who got those dollars?”