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Empire Plaza in Albany.

Lawmakers stonewall Cuomo commission on client lists

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Lawyers for the New York State legislature say legislators who are also attorneys won't comply with a request from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's commission on public corruption to hand over lists of their private clients.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

Atttorneys Marc Kasowitz and Michael Garcia, say in the letter, “All information legally required to be disclosed and relevant to any legitimate inquiry already has been disclosed.”

But the lawyers also cite the state constitution’s separation of powers doctrine,  and say they are safeguarding the  independence of the  legislature from the executive branch run by Cuomo.

The Moreland Commission had asked for the names of legislators’ private legal clients, as well as details of fees paid to the lawmakers, by a September 20th deadline.  

The rejection sets up a showdown between the governor and the legislature.  The Moreland Commission has two options, back down or subpoena lawmakers for the client lists. If that occurs, it’s likely to land in court. 

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Moreland Commission, Michelle Duffy, said:

“The New York State Legislature has refused to turn over the information requested by the Moreland Commission revealing their outside clients. As the old adage goes, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.
We believe the legislature’s position is legally indefensible, ethically repugnant, and disrespectful to the public’s right to know.

“There are a number of avenues through which the Commission can obtain the information being sought, and we will pursue them.”

 

 

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