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Panel to investigate public corruption statewide

Ashley Hassett

It's an initiative aimed at stopping public corruption in the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo at the University at Buffalo Law School Tuesday to discuss the creation of a group of top law enforcement officials and legal experts designated to investigate public corruption in state agencies.

Governor Cuomo said the 'Moreland Commission' was put in place after state lawmakers turned down his package of anti-corruption bills. The package addressed the influence of money in elections and gave prosecutors more ability to fight corruption by increasing penalties against violators.

The panel will have power under the 1907 Moreland Act. Cuomo says because the legislature didn't pass the set of bills he reserved the right to enact the commission.

“I can’t say to the people of the state that were going to have perfect politicians, perfect elected officials, I can say were going to have a system in place that if somebody does the wrong this they are going be caught and they’re going to be convicted,” said Cuomo.

Cuomo admits the legislature didn't pass his original reform package, because he wouldn't come to a compromise on parts of the bill.

Two members of the Western New York community were appointed ot the 25-member panel. Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita III and UB law school deal Makau Mutua were named by the Governor to serve.

Sedita says he feels the plan will restore peoples trust in their elected officials.

“The Moreland Commission to investigate public corruption is exactly the kind of aggressive response that is needed in the state. The Moreland commission will finally hold our elected officials accountable, hold state agencies accountable and guarantee government in New York represents and works for the people of the state of New York,” said Sedita.

The panel will also do an investigation into existing laws and be able to recommend changes.