— Urges Legislature to Take Real Action on Reform —
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam) announced his support of the investigative panel that is being formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that will have “broad and sweeping” jurisdiction to investigate public officials at all levels of government. Senator Gipson, who has introduced multiple pieces of campaign finance and ethics reform legislation in his first term, continued to urge the Legislature to take real action on reform.
“I commend Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman for taking this important step to root out public corruption and restore public trust and integrity in all levels of our government. The failure of the Senate Majority Coalition to bring to the floor any meaningful ethics or campaign finance reform legislation during the legislative session was an embarrassment to all New Yorkers,” said Senator Gipson.
All the investigating district attorneys will be designated deputy attorneys general. The new panel will have broad power to subpoena records and compel testimony from legislators and officials at state agencies. The panel will have the ability to investigate not just enforcement at the Board of Elections, but also lobbying and the influence of organizations designated 501(c) by the IRS and their impacts on public policy. The panel will refer findings to any relevant prosecutor and is charged to recommend changes to state law. A preliminary report is due by year’s end. The 25-member panel will include district attorneys from Albany, Bronx, Erie, Essex, Franklin, and Warren Counties.
“While I’m pleased to see executive action on this issue, as an Albany outsider, I will continue the fight to change the way Albany does business by stopping politicians from using their campaign funds as personal ATM’s, demanding that legislators vote in the light of day, and fighting for term limits that will end the entrenched power that encourages corruption in our state,” concluded Senator Gipson.