Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Act Commission is discussing the possibility of disbanding after recommending that a constitutional amendment be offered to voters to allow for public financing of state political campaigns, according to people briefed on the option.
"I'm definitely hearing that the commission is considering addressing public financing in a constitutional amendment, putting it off into the far future," said Karen Scharff, executive director of the good- government group Citizen Action.
Without revealing her sources, Scharff said she has gathered the information from people close to the commission. Citizen Action is one of several organizations keenly interested in the Moreland Commission's activities, hoping it will use its unique investigative muscle to unearth even more malfeasance within state government and force the Legislature to adopt campaign finance reforms.
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause, said she has heard the same things that Scharff heard from "credible sources" and shared the desire to see the panel remain in existence. "Kicking the issue down the road isn't addressing the urgent need right now," Lerner said. "We have a recurring problem."
A person close to the administration said officials advising Cuomo have been trying to find a way out of using the Moreland Commission, which has drawn criticism in part because of its heavy representation of elected officials who raise funds from lobbyists and influential special interest groups.
So far, the commission's attempts to explore lawmakers' business activities has not gone well, and has prompted legal threats from the Legislature. And reports that the commission has scuttled probes of Cuomo's donors has suggested division within the 25-member group.
You can bet the real reason why Sheriff Andy wants the commission shut down has less to do with legislature intransigence and more to do with the reports that the commission "scuttled probes" into Cuomo's donors.
As with his shutting down of CSNY so that he wouldn't have to reveal who gave money to him, Cuomo likes to keep where he's getting his money from a big secret.
You have to wonder just how bad the criminality must be that Cuomo is willing to shut down his vaunted Moreland Commission just to hide it.