In July, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined with Governor Cuomo in appointing a “Commission to Investigate Public Corruption” under the Moreland Act and Executive Law section 63(8), with Attorney General Schneiderman deputizing each of the commission members as a deputy attorney general. Doing so gave the commission a broader legal reach, as well adding the attorney general’s imprimatur to the governor’s effort.
In recent weeks, news reports have chronicled efforts by the governor’s staff to stop the issuance of subpoenas to entities viewed as friendly to the governor. At a press conference yesterday I asked Attorney General Schneiderman when he became aware of such efforts by the governor’s staff and what his reaction was. He largely avoided answering, describing his role as limited to deputizing the commissioners and “to provide whatever support the co-chairs ask for.” Schneiderman noted that “I’m not involved in this on a day to day basis” and concluded by saying that “as far as I can tell they’re doing their job.” (Schneiderman spoke at a press conference with New York City Public Advocate, and mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio pushing for theft-deterring “kill switches” in smart phones.)