Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in Buffalo Thursday that he expects his Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Integrity will issue its initial report by Dec. 1 as scheduled, but envisions only a short-lived role for the panel he appointed earlier this year.
“We don’t need another prosecutorial agency to exist long term,” he said, pointing to the state’s 62 district attorneys and other prosecutors. “We need legal changes to better empower the prosecutors.”
He did not allude to any ongoing negotiations with legislative leaders that might result in new ethics proposals and an early end to the commission’s assignment, as had been mentioned in some reports.
Cuomo named the 25-member commission in July to probe corruption in state government after a string of indictments and convictions were lodged against legislators and other public officials. He emphasized at the time that he empaneled the group (which includes Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III and Makau W. Mutua, dean of SUNY Buffalo Law School) after the Legislature failed to act on a more comprehensive ethics reform package he originally sought.
He pointed to the contention of legislative leaders that after some ethics reform measures were adopted two years ago, no additional changes were needed now. But the governor said he hopes the commission will recommend even more measures that will be considered by the Legislature, especially after more indictments.
“Ultimately I’d like to see more legislation, more systemic reform,” he said, “as opposed to more prosecutors.”