NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a new initiative Monday that will give him the authority to investigate and potentially prosecute cases of public corruption.
The corruption would involve any wrongdoing involving government spending like contracts, pension fraud, and member items. Schneiderman said this is part of a multi-pronged approach to root out fraud, corruption, and waste in state government. He will cooperate with the Comptroller to investigate contracts, earmarks, and other government spending.
"As stewards of the public trust, we are all responsible for doing our part to crack down on public corruption with every tool at our disposal. We need to be smarter, faster and more efficient than what current law allows," Schneiderman said,
"That is why it is critical we close every loophole that exists in current law as part of comprehensive ethics legislation. We need such legislation now more than ever, and I look forward to working with the Governor and legislative leaders in the coming weeks to do just that."
The new initiative will expand Schneiderman's jurisdiction to the state's public authorities, which he said acts like a shadow government operating out of the public eye without frequent accountability. Schneiderman began to fulfill a pledge last week to appoint a public integrity officer to all 13 attorney general regional offices in an effort to make citizens feel safe reporting local corruption to an independent prosecutorial authority.
Schneiderman has also established a new Taxpayer Protection Bureau to target corrupt contractors, large-scale tax cheats, and pension con-artists. He has secured tens of millions of dollars in recoveries for New Yorkers through the Medicaid Fraud Control unit as well.