Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

One of the key points underscored by the legal team for Hiram Monserrate as he fights in court to recoup his Senate seat is a 1987 report by the Assembly ethics committee -- then including George Pataki and Alan Hevesi -- which cast doubt of the Legislature's power to expel one of its own. That was in the case of disgraced member Gertrude Lipschutz who resigned after testifying under immunity about a no-show employee placed on her legislative payroll.

In its response to the Monserrate complaint, AG Andrew Cuomo's office scorches the report, which it notes ignores part of the legislative law stating members may be expelled. The Cuomo rejoinder says in part: "...Taken to its logical extreme, the position espoused in the Lipschutz report is absurd. If the New York Senate absolutely lacks the authority to expel sitting members, the Senate would be powerless to expel members unfit to participate in the law-making process, such as persons who are demonstrably corrupt, insane or violent."