Moreland subpoena challenges may stretch into March

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ALBANY—Legal challenges to the anti-corruption Moreland Commission's ability to subpoena records related to outside employment of state lawmakers may be pushed to March, according to a recent court filing.

Attorneys for assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, senate independent Democratic conference leader Jeff Klein, Republican leader Dean Skelos as well as the firms that employ them and several other colleagues signed a proposed order adjourning court proceedings to March 17, and setting the first deadline for the Moreland Commission's legal reply as January 10. Other private firms that have challenged other Moreland Commission subpoenas are expected to adopt a similar schedule, attorneys involved in the case said.

While the proposed schedule reflects the volume of material the commission is dealing with, it also gives legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo—who convened the commission in July and focused it on the Legislature—time to negotiate a package of changes to campaign finance and ethics laws. Speaking during a Monday cabinet meeting, Cuomo said this remains a “top tier” priority for next year.

An aide to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is representing the Moreland Commission, also signed the proposed schedule. Legislators and their employers challenged the subpoenas as an improper infringement on the separation of powers. The commission reached an agreement to review records of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee after narrowing its initial request.

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The legislative challenge is going strong, and as Jon Campbell reported, a consulting firm connected to an anti-Democratic political action committee filed papers seeking to quash its own subpoena.