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Relevant NYS Constitutional & Statutory Provisions

NYS Constitution: 
Article I (§6); Article V (
§1, §4); Article XIV (§5); Article XIX (§1)

Executive Law §63, §65, §71
State Finance Law, Article 7-A  (citizen-taxpayer action)

Public Officers Law §17
Public Officers Law §72

& in the absence of scholarship, some informal analysis


Attorney General's website

Attorney General's Public Integrity Bureau
"...The Attorney General has made cracking down on corruption and restoring the public’s trust in government a top priority for the Office. In 2011, the Attorney General launched a groundbreaking initiative expanding his office’s authority to investigate public corruption involving taxpayer funds by partnering with the state Comptroller. In addition, the Attorney General designated public integrity officers in every region of the state to give New Yorkers a place to go to report complaints of government corruption without the fear of local politics influencing the outcome."

Attorney General Appeals & Opinion Division


October 23, 2018
"Wofford's Outsider Run for Attorney General Links Corruption to State Economy"
CityLimits.org  (Roshan Abraham)

“He went on to question whether the attorney general needs permission from the state legislature to pursue corruption as Democratic nominee Letitia James believes.

'I have an opponent who, when asked how she’s going to go after corruption, says she has to get permission from Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature in order to go after corruption, and that’s just legally and factually wrong. And also an abdication of the duties of the attorney general,' Wofford said.

What role, the AG?

Wofford’s claim that the AG can, without gubernatorial permission, crusade against corruption has led to a disagreement with his opponents less about policy and more about the foundations of the post.

On the state AG’s website, the description for the Public Integrity Bureau says that the office may go after corruption to 'restore the public’s interest in honest government and the integrity of government officials at the state and local level.' But the public officers law and the General Municipal Law cited on the website do not empower the attorney general to do so independently, nor does the state constitution. While it is true that no law explicitly limits the office from pursuing corruption, legal experts agree the scope of the AG’s prosecutorial power is restricted to what has been enshrined in law. For this reason, all of the Democratic candidates in this year’s AG primary debated potential legal reforms to empower the attorney general in a permanent way to fight corruption.

'It is remarkable that a lawyer who is paid at least $4.35 million as a partner at one of the largest Wall Street law firms in the country does not know enough about governance and the statutes that define the power of the attorney general’s office,' Jack Sterne, a spokesperson for James told City Limits.

Lou Young, a former television reporter who is now campaign manager to Green Party candidate Michael Sussman, was blunt in his dismissal of Wofford’s claims.

'The Republican is bullshitting you. He had some assistant cut and paste the authorities off the state of the attorney general’s website,' he said. 'Wofford is a bill collector, he works for credit card companies and banks. He’s a confident attorney but he has no experience in public law.'

Young said that the attorney general’s office spends most of its time defending state agencies and uses its remaining sliver of discretionary funds to fight on behalf of citizens, but that 'they don’t do a goddamn thing unless there’s a headline in it,' echoing one of Wofford’s complaints.

Despite disagreements with Wofford, the Sussman campaign shares the view that James is too tied to Cuomo to adequately prosecute corruption. ..."


October 25, 2018
"NY AG Candidate Questionnaire: Keith Wofford, Republican, Partner at Ropes & Gray"
New York Law Journal (Dan Clark)

How would you organize and staff the office and secure proper resources and authority to reflect your priorities?

Should the powers of the Attorney General’s Office be expanded? Are there any areas where the tools afforded by the Legislature to the AG are too limited?

It is always helpful to have additional investigative authority, but as I have said repeatedly during this campaign, the attorney general has the authority to investigate corruption based on the State Constitution, the Parens Patriae doctrine, Executive Law 63(12), New York Public Officers Law 72s, the Martin Act, General Municipal Law 801 and 804, GBL 349, the Public Integrity Bureau of the OAG, and the Operation Integrity collaboration with the Comptroller’s Office. I welcome the prospect of working with the Legislature on legislation to augment the attorney general’s ability to fight corruption. However, in my view, the OAG has tools to investigate now. 

What is the proper scope of the attorney general’s power to punish and deter public officials’ misconduct?

Does the office need broader grants of authority to stamp out corrupt practices in Albany?

From day one as New York state attorney general, I will use every tool at my disposal to fight corruption and protect taxpayers. After being sworn into office, I will immediately initiate an investigation into systematic corruption involving state and local government officials across the state. Unlike what my opponent has said, the attorney general has the independent legal ability to investigate and prosecute corruption without the consent of the governor or Legislature. I will use all the powers granted to my office, including parens patriae, the Martin Act, as well as a number of other statutory authorities to pursue illegal and legal corruption wherever it occurs. I will use the full authority of the office to review potential problem contracts that harm taxpayers. It’s time New York state had an independent attorney general, and I intend to fulfill my constitutional duty to protect the hardworking residents of this state.




October 25, 2018
"NY AG Candidate Questionnaire: Letitia James, Democrat, New York City Public Advocate"
New York Law Journal  (Dan Clark)

How would you organize and staff the office and secure proper resources and authority to reflect your priorities?

Should the powers of the Attorney General’s Office be expanded? Are there any areas where the tools afforded by the Legislature to the AG are too limited?

Yes, without a doubt. First and foremost, the attorney general needs original jurisdiction to prosecute public corruption, without a referral from the governor, the comptroller, or an agency head. ...

Are there any bureaus of the Attorney General’s Office that you think are currently underutilized?

...doubling down on rooting out public corruption in Albany...

We will both boost the resources dedicated to the “Operation Integrity” anti-corruption task force with the Comptroller’s Office and explore new ways to use existing powers under Executive Law 63(12), the False Claims Act, and the attorney general’s broad oversight of nonprofits to take on legislators, businesses, and charities involved in self-dealing. ...

What is the proper scope of the attorney general’s power to punish and deter public officials’ misconduct?

Does the office need broader grants of authority to stamp out corrupt practices in Albany?

Yes. Unequivocally. When I am in office, I will push the Legislature to give the attorney general original jurisdiction over public corruption—but I won’t wait for them to act. I will explore creative ways to use existing powers to tackle corruption, including beefing up the “Operation Integrity” anti-corruption task force with the Comptroller’s Office and using Executive Law 63(12), the False Claims Act, and the attorney general’s oversight of nonprofits."



May 18, 2017
"The Evolving Powers of the New York State Attorney General"
Gotham Gazette (Ben Brachfeld)

August 30, 2018
"'Taking on Trump' isn't the job of an attorney general"
New York Post (Seth Barron)

August 30, 2018
"The Evolution of New York's AG"
Albany Times Union-Capitol Confidential podcast

September 1, 2018
"New York's AG takes on expanded role"
Albany Times Union (David Lombardo)


May 21, 2018
"Sorry spectacle at the Met is a propos of new fee policy"
Crain's Business (Sean Roman Strockyj)
"Unfortunately, legal efforts to enforce the 1893 law have failed. Justice Shirley Kornreich, of New York's Commercial Division, decided in 2013 that while the “Free Access” law remains valid, only the attorney general (as opposed to a disgruntled patron) can enforce the law. With an absence of action from the AG, the Met has now overreached and imposed mandatory fees all days of the week on out-of-towners."



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CJA's August 5, 2013 letter to the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption --
"RE: Keeping the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption True to its Name & Announced Purpose"  (See pages 6-8)                                          [webpage for letter]

"...concealing that New York’s Attorney General has always had the power and duty to safeguard against public corruption was part of the run-up to the creation of this Commission.  For instance, this April 18, 2013 news report:

'Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he’d love to have more authority to pursue public corruption cases, which even in the face of recent scandals, no one is pushing to give him.

‘The debate is on now for the next round of reform, and you have to understand that one aspect of that is strengthening our ability to fight corruption, strengthening the ability of prosecutors like my office….’, Schneiderman, a Democrat, told Susan Arbetter on ‘The Capitol Pressroom.’'[fn] 

It appears that the Commission is also concealing the Attorney General’s powers and duties by its website and letterhead, wherein it calls itself 'Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption'.  This is not the Commission’s name.  The Governor’s Executive Order #106 creating the Commission could not be clearer in announcing that the Commission is 'to be known as the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption' (at ¶I).  This is understandable as the Commission’s sweeping power to investigate public corruption in all three government branches actually comes not from the Moreland Act (Executive Law §6), but Executive Law §63 pertaining to the 'General duties' of the Attorney General [fn]. Tellingly, the Commission’s website neither posts Executive Order #106, nor Executive Law §6, nor Executive Law §63.

Clear from Executive Law §63 is that the Attorney General is an essential safeguard to ensuring governmental integrity in this state.  Is that essential safeguard functioning?  Such must top the Commission’s investigative agenda.

Examining how Attorney General Schneiderman and prior Attorneys General ACTUALLY discharge their powers and duties under Executive Law §63 was the subject of a proposal for scholarship embodied in a November 5, 2012 letter that I personally delivered to Professor Briffault on that date at his comfortable office at Columbia University Law School and which he personally received from me, in hand.    It identified that CJA, et al. v. Cuomo, et al.  was the perfect case for such scholarship, that it arose “from the official misconduct of a succession of New York State Attorneys General – the most recent being State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a named defendant. (at p. 1); and that it is 'a powerful case study for explicating and resolving critical issues at the core of the state attorney general’s function' (at p. 3).  The letter stated:

'CJA v. Cuomo is illustrative of what happens time, after time, after time, at the New York State Attorney General’s office.  Citizens turn to the Attorney General with evidence of unlawful, if not unconstitutional, state government action, which he ignores.  This then burdens the citizens with taking legal action as ‘private attorneys general’, suing the state and/or its culpable officials and agencies – at which point the Attorney General defends the state, etc. by dismissal motions, including dismissal motions that are frauds on the court, being based on knowing falsification and material omission of fact and law, thereupon granted by a biased and/or self-interested judiciary.  In such fashion, our state’s highest law enforcement officer functions not as a safeguard of government integrity and constitutional governance, as he was intended to be – but as a perpetuator of governmental corruption and abuse,…

[Here demonstrated is how the Attorney General’s] misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance have facilitated an ongoing parade of horribles: (1) the brazen theft of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in fraudulent judicial pay raises this year and over the next two years, in perpetuity: (2) an unconstitutional court-controlled attorney disciplinary law, utilized to retaliate against judicial whistle-blowing attorneys; (3) a corrupt Commission on Judicial Conduct, dumping the very complaints the law requires it to investigate; (4) violative and unconstitutional state judicial selection processes, including to the Court of Appeals; (5) obliteration of state remedies against official misconduct provided by Article 78 and motions for judicial disqualification and disclosure.  All are chronicled, with substantiating documentary proof, by the CJA v. Cuomo lawsuit record.'  (at pp. 4-5, underlining in the original).

Our follow-up January 24, 2013 letter further reinforced this scholarship proposal and identified that CJA v. Cuomo establishes the necessity of crafting legislation to not only rectify the perversions wrought in Executive Law §63, but for developing 'a powerful qui tam statute to protect the People from the Attorney General’s derelictions and misfeasance' (at p. 6)."

      See CJA's referred-to:

   November 5, 2012 letter-proposal -- "RE:   (1) Building Scholarship:  Assessing the Performance of State Attorneys General in Ensuring Government Integrity & Constitutional Governance – Beginning with the New York State Attorney General and the case Center for Judicial Accountability, Inc., et al. v. Cuomo, et al. (NY Co. #401988/2012)..."

     January 24, 2013 letter --  "RE:  FUNDAMENTAL STANDARDS OF SCHOLARSHIP, ACADEMIC & ATTORNEY RESPONSIBILITY & DUE PROCESS:  Your Response to CJA's November 5, 2012 Letter "

Also see:  July 9, 2012 letter-proposal -- "RE:  building scholarship on court determination of constitutional questions"


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CJA's December 5, 2016 FOIL request to Attorney General --
"RE: 'rules and regulations' promulgated by the Attorney General pursuant to Public Officers Law

        Attorney General's December 12, 2016 acknowledgment (#160856)

        Attorney General's January 11, 2017 response

 Attorney General's January 31, 2017 determination of appeal

                                NYCRR Title 13 -- Department of Law 


CJA's December 5, 2016 FOIL request to Comptroller, Attorney General, Governor, Senate & Assembly --
"RE: Comptroller's annual accountings pursuant to Public Officers Law 17(3)(d)

       Assembly's December 9, 2016 response

Senate's December 12, 2016 response

        Comptrollers' December 12, 2016 acknowledgment

       Comptroller's January 11, 2017 response
                  Enclosure  1     Enclosure  2     Enclosure 3

        Attorney General's December 12, 2016 acknowledgment (#160857)

        Attorney General's January 11, 2017 response

        Governor's December 12, 2016 acknowledgment

        Governor's January 11, 2017 extension

        Governor's February 10, 2017 response


CJA's December 5, 2016 FOIL request to Attorney General --
"RE: Attorney General's 'register' pursuant to Executive Law

         Attorney General's December 12, 2016 acknowledgment  (#160858)

        Attorney General's January 11, 2017 letter

        CJA's January 12, 2017 e-mail

January 17, 2016 e-mail of AG's FOIL Appeal Officer

        January 31, 2016 e-mail of AG's FOIL Appeal Officer 

CJA's November 28, 2016 FOIL request to Attorney General --
"RE: The 'Independent audits' of the...Attorney General pursuant to Executive Law

           Attorney General's December 5, 2016 acknowledgment

           Attorney General's December 29, 2016 response
           "...the Office of the Attorney General has conducted a diligent search and has located no records that respond to your request."


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