The Associated Press reported last week that an anti-corruption panel created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote to state lawmakers last month, asking them to provide information on any outside income they earned last year.
The letter—not a subpoena, despite the Moreland Commission possessing that power—seems to be mostly aimed at the numerous attorneys in the Legislature. It asks for “a list of your clients in any civil matters or in any publicly filed criminal matters in which you are the attorney of record.”
The request has raised eyebrows among lawmakers, particularly among Assembly Democrats, who have retained outside counsel to deal with the comission. The conference is coordinating a joint response through their newly hired attorney, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A helpful source provided the letter, which appears to have been sent to many of the Legislature’s 213 members, if not all.
It includes a broad request for “information” regarding lawmakers’ outside employment, including a description of their work and the amount they were paid in 2012 (if it was more than $20,000). Some lawmakers have questioned why that’s necessary; a new slate of disclosure forms filed with the state ethics board includes that information and is readily available online.
The request for clients, however, could provide the commission with new information. The new disclosure forms require lawmakers’ to reveal their outside clients, but only if they paid more than $10,000 and were taken on after July 2012. (In fact, only one lawmaker disclosed a client on those forms this year: Syracuse-area Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, who referred an estate to the law firm that employs him.)
Here’s the Moreland Commission letter, which went out Aug. 27: