One of New York State’s Top Republicans says Moreland Commission findings are part of U.S. Attorney Preet Bhara’s charges against Silver — Another Upstate GOPer says it was disclosures under NYS laws and rules that triggered the Feds' probe that led to the Silver indictment
Does any of that make a difference for other legislators under investigation — like State Senator Martin Golden ?
According to an interview reported by the blog, “Syracuse.com,” Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb says that the Moreland Commission’s work led to the prosecution of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. That post noted that “Some of the work started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's now defunct anti-corruption Moreland Commission led to last week's arrest of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, according to federal prosecutos.... ‘The only person who knows for sure is the federal prosecutor,’ said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua. ‘So far, he hasn't shared it.’...” ( See “How Cuomo's Moreland Commission factored into Sheldon Silver's arrest (timeline)” by Teri Weaver, 1/27/15, Syracuse.com [http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2015/01/how_cuomos_moreland_commission_factored_into_sheldon_silvers_arrest.html] [email@example.com]).
Not everybody agreed, “Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, said he's not convinced that the work from Moreland factored into the investigation by federal prosecutors. He thinks that a new requirement to disclose legislators' private income played a bigger role. ‘I think one of the real catalysts was disclosing income,’ Barclay said Monday. ‘We always had to disclose it, but it never was made public.’
WHAT THE TIMELINE SHOWSWhat everybody need to remember is that it was back in June 2013 that Preet Bharara launched his grand jury investigation into matters including the outside income of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. It was shortly AFTER that, on July 2, 2013, when Cuomo created “his” investigative commission — it was supposed to be an investigative panel under the Moreland Act to examine New York's weak campaign finance laws, propose changes and investigate any suspected wrongdoing, including earnings associated with lawmakers' outside incomes — importantly, that panel had subpoena power.
Governor Cuomo disbanded “his” so-called Moreland Commission on March 29, 2014, which at the time the governor claimed he had every right to do, since it was “his” commission. That was not long after the commission’s co-chair, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, had said the commission had uncovered unspecified criminal activity — and shortly after the commission had subpoenaed records from Silver and from the law firm from which Silver allegedly received millions of dollars in income that he failed to reveal in state financial disclosure records.
After Cuomo shut down “his” investigative commission, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara publicly criticized the governor for halting the Moreland Commission's work, calling it a "premature end" and that it was "difficult to understand." On April 10, 2014, Preet Bharara requested the Moreland Commission's files and documents, including documents related to its investigation of legislators' outside income; those items were then sent to the U.S. Attorney. Later the Federal Prosecutor noted that, "Certain of these documents [from the Moreland Commission] and leads contained therein are reflected in this complaint."
However, Bharara also said this at a news conference following Silver's arrest: "We had been looking at Speaker Silver's outside income for some period of time, and then merged our investigation with new material that we got from the Moreland Commission...." Interestingly, when Bharara was asked if Cuomo bears any blame for the Moreland Commission's failure to discover or to make public the secret payments to Silver; Bharara’s answer was neither an acknowledgment nor a denial. "I've made my view about the shutting down of the Moreland Commission clear. That's all I'll say...."
WHAT ABOUT THE ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS BY THE FEDSThe last item in the timeline contained in the Syracuse.com article says “... Bharara continues to investigate lawmakers.”
Certain questions need to be looked into, especially with respect those parts of the U.S. Attorney’s investigations of any local GOP representatives in Albany — and so far, that only means NYS Senator Marty Golden.
Did U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara begin his investigations of State Senator Marty Golden’s “fundraising” as part of the same original investigations into the outside income of certain legislators like Sheldon Silver ? What, if any, Moreland Commission generated material included anything about State Senator Golden and his interactions with large-scale real estate developers ? Did State Senator Golden and others in the GOP State Senate leadership attempt to influence Governor Cuomo or anybody else to shutdown or limit the Moreland investigations ? Did Governor Cuomo’s shutdown of the Moreland Commission effect the U.S. Attorney’s investigations of Marty Golden in any way ?
The answer to all or even some of those questions might well effect whether there will be charges against Golden, as well as the nature and scope of those charges.