Governor Hopes To 'Root Out Corruption In Politics And Government'

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has established a powerful investigative body to examine the state Board of Elections and potential wrongdoing by legislators in campaign fundraising.

Cuomo outlined the panel Tuesday morning at the state capitol.

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“You have a mechanism in place that is going to assure that this government is a government of integrity and a government that you can trust,” Cuomo said. “You couldn’t design a better, more professional mechanism with more power and more capacity than this mechanism to police this government.”

“It’s time to give New Yorkers what they want. They don’t want talk. They want action,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell on Tuesday.

Cuomo announced his intentions two weeks ago after abandoning efforts this year at legislative reforms. That followed federal bribery and embezzlement charges filed against several state lawmakers.

“We must root out corruption in politics and government,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The committee, established under New York’s anti-corruption Moreland Act, will have subpoena power and go after the influence of campaign contributions.

The commission will look at systemic problems, Schneiderman told Haskell.

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“Not just to find individual cases of wrongdoing, but to come up with ways to make it harder to engage in wrongdoing and to improve the regulations and the law enforcement in our state,” Schneiderman said.

Similar panels ordered by governors over decades have resulted in lengthy corruption probes and arrests.

“This is truly a unique convening of the most seasoned, the most credible, the most experienced law enforcement professionals and government professionals that has been brought together,” Cuomo said.

The commission is chaired by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Syracuse District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and attorney Milton Williams. It includes prosecutors, lawyers, State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico and New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

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