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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Skirting the separation-of-powers argument so far

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appoints Moreland Commission. (July

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appoints Moreland Commission. (July 2, 2013) Photo Credit: Handout

File under “carefully worded.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday defended his Moreland Commission’s request that state legislators turn over info about their outside incomes. But he didn’t directly address separation-of-powers argument lawmakers made in rejecting the request.

To recap: Cuomo created a “Commission to Investigate Public Corruption” after a spate of indictments and convictions of state legislators last spring. The commission has subpoenaed some heavy-hitting real estate interests and, two weeks ago, asked legislators who have outside businesses to provide information about their clients.

Last week, lawmakers declined. They said the commission exceeded its authority and that they’ve already complied with existing financial disclosure laws.

Asked about the issue Monday, Cuomo said: “I think legally the Moreland’s subpoena power will be upheld.”

But his defense sounded like more than it was.

The commission power to subpoena in general hasn’t been challenged at this point. And the governor didn’t say whether he thought the separation-of-powers issue was meritless. He merely voiced support for his commission while trying to keep the pressure on legislators.

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