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Appointment of Prolific Fundraiser to Moreland Commission Raises Concerns

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo's nominees to head his Moreland Commission that will investigate corruption in Albany have already raised the hackles of some advocates and legislators.

Cuomo announced the formation of the commission this morning. The Daily News reported yesterday that the committee — which will have subpoena power — will be chaired by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, Syracuse District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and lawyer Milton Williams. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has also leant his staffers and the power of his office to broaden the scope of the investigation. 

Rice, who ran for attorney general in 2010, has long been a Cuomo ally, which does nothing to allay the fears of some legislators that Cuomo will have undue control of what the commission will and won't look into. 

Furthermore, good government advocates worry that Rice is too close to the largest political donors in the state to cast a critical eye on their behavior.  Rice is in the middle of running for reelection and is one of the state's most prolific fundraisers.

"This isn't kind of message we were looking for," said one advocate who asked to remain anonymous. "We are talking about someone who is just as beholden to this system as anyone else in the state." 

Rice had $2,385,505.67 in her campaign account as of January 2013. In comparison, co-chair Fizpatrick had $60,862.41 in his coffers.  

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Guest Tuesday, 23 September 2014