New York - The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption today held its first public hearing at Pace University in New York City. The hearing focused on federal and state criminal laws and the adequacy of existing state laws, rules and regulations involving misconduct by public officials. Law enforcement officials testified before the Commission about their own experiences involving public corruption cases they have prosecuted within their jurisdictions as well as the inadequacy of existing anti-corruption laws.
The Commission, in an effort to involve experts in the field of rooting out public corruption, invited testimony by US Attorneys Preet Bharara and Loretta Lynch as well as Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. The speakers provided insight, guidance, and suggestions on how to probe and combat a systemic corruption problem.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As a prosecutor and as a New Yorker I am encouraged to see the establishment of this Commission and the commencement of public hearings. The Commissioners’ breadth of experience is an asset in their mission to address public corruption. I pledge the cooperation and assistance of my Office with the Commission’s important work.”
Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of New York said, “Corrupt politicians have not only broken the law but have broken faith with the public. Their actions siphon off taxpayer dollars, deprive citizens of vital services and destroy public trust in our political system. We appreciate the opportunity to provide information to the Moreland Act Commission in this important effort to focus on real solutions to this intractable problem and to restore the public trust.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., said, “For nearly four years, my office and the state District Attorneys Association have been publicly calling for badly-needed reform in our corruption laws. I am pleased to have the opportunity to present our recommendations and those of the New York State White Collar Crime Task Force to the Moreland Act Commission. Thanks to the entire Commission, especially its co-Chairs, for the opportunity to do so.”
Members of the public, as well as public officials, public policy experts, advocacy organizations and others were also on hand to testify at the hearings.
On July 2, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo established the Commission under the Moreland Act (Section 6 of the New York State Executive Law) (“Moreland Commission”) and Executive Law Section 63(8) to probe systemic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections in New York State.
Areas where the Commission will focus its investigation include but are not limited to:
- Criminal statutes for corruption and misconduct by public officials, such as bribery laws.
- Campaign financing including but not limited to contribution limits and other restrictions; disclosure of third-party contributions and expenditures; and the effectiveness of existing campaign finance laws.
- Compliance of outside organizations and persons with existing lobbying laws, including but not limited to organizations engaged in lobbying and other efforts to influence public policies and elections, and the effectiveness of such laws.
- Adequacy and enforcement of the State’s election laws and electoral process including: the structure and composition of the State and County Boards of Elections, the Board of Elections’ enforcement, and the effectiveness of and compliance with existing election laws.
Executive Order 106 which created the Commission can be found at http://www.governor.ny.gov/sl2/ExecutiveOrderindex
The Commission’s website is www.publiccorruption.moreland.ny.gov