Duffy would welcome an inquiry that Silver won’t order

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ALBANY—Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy said he'd welcome an investigation into his job interview with a Rochester business group, after a report this morning suggested legislators would call for an ethics inquiry.

"I'm comfortable talking to anybody about what I did," Duffy told Capital on Monday, after an event at SUNY's NanoCollege. "I have nothing to hide."

Citing unnamed sources, New York Post columnist Fred Dicker reported this morning that legislators are considering a push to have the Joint Commission on Public Ethics investigate how Duffy approached the Rochester Business Alliance and its officials about a job as the group's president, and whether he properly recused himself from government decisions pertaining to the organization.

Last month, Duffy interviewed for a lucrative job with the R.B.A., without any advance notice to Gov. Andrew Cuomo or his aides, and while he chaired ten regional councils that distribute hundreds of millions in regional economic-development grants.

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On Monday, Duffy said he was certain his actions were legal, and that he would never do anything that would negatively affect Cuomo.

“I carry my ethics handbook with me,” Duffy told Capital.

Dicker's report, along with a Daily News report that Independent Democratic Conference head Jeff Klein might support a new tax to fund pre-kindergarten, were seen as shots at Cuomo, in an ongoing feud with legislators that started last week.

But Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver offered an unprompted statement on Monday afternoon in praise of Duffy, calling him a "friend" and a "strong advocate" for his community.

“Unquestionably, Bob Duffy has done an outstanding job as lieutenant governor both in representing the Cuomo administration and in addressing the interests and concerns expressed by New Yorkers in every region of our state,” said the Silver statement. “I consider Bob a friend and colleague who brings integrity and character to our government and I hope he will continue to serve our state for many years to come.”

A spokesman for Silver went a step further, saying, "We have not contemplated nor are we considering calling for any action regarding the Lieutenant Governor."

Duffy said he is prepared to answer any questions about when and what he told Cuomo about why he applied for the Rochester job. He said he researched all the ethical questions about applying for the job, and that he did not do any lobbying on behalf of the group before he applied.