The state Republican Committee wants Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption panel to investigate his second-in-command.
In a statement Monday, state GOP Chairman Ed Cox said the Moreland Commission should probe Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy’s interview for a job with the Rochester Business Alliance, which Duffy said he did without informing Cuomo first.
An opinion from the now-defunct New York State Ethics Commission in 2006 found state employees should notify their supervisors if they start seeking a job from a private group with business before them. But it’s not clear whether that also includes elected officials, or whether Cuomo technically qualifies as Duffy’s supervisor.
“The only way to determine whether or not the State’s second ranking public official committed an ethics violation is for the Moreland Commission to conduct a thorough investigation,” Cox said. “I urge them to do so immediately.”
While Cuomo’s Moreland Commission is scheduled to issue a report on public corruption in New York by Dec. 1, the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics is tasked with ruling whether someone violates the Public Officers Law.
According to Cuomo spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa, Duffy has now recused himself from dealing with the Rochester Business Alliance and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, which the RBA sits on. Duffy said last week he had taken his name out of the running for the business group’s top job about a week to 10 days after he interviewed on Oct. 5.
Cox said New Yorkers “have a right to know how their public officials are interacting with the special interests.”
“If Lieutenant Gov. Duffy indeed failed to disclose the nature of his relationship with the Rochester Business Alliance to Gov. Cuomo, that would represent a major violation of state ethics laws,” he said.
UPDATE: In response, the executive director of the state Democratic Committee tried to shift the focus back to Cox by trying to tie him to Sen. Malcolm Smith’s alleged attempt to try and bribe his way on the GOP line in the New York City mayoral race.
“If the Moreland Commission should look at anything, it should be Ed Cox sitting at the table with Malcolm Smith and presiding over a party that tried to sell its mayoral party line for the largest bribe,” Rodney Capel, the executive director, said in a statement. “Mr. Cox has brought his own personal brand of Nixonian corruption to the state GOP and has never come clean about his role in the entire Malcolm Smith affair.”