Albany’s high Democrats — state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie — launched a bill that might authorize the Legislature dip into state coffers to pay for its sprawling impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The bill would authorize the Legislature to faucet right into a $156 million fund used to pay for lawsuits towards the state — saving the Assembly from footing the bill for prices racked up by ongoing probe.
If the chamber attracts up articles of impeachment towards the governor, thus triggering a trial within the state Senate, the laws would additionally cowl the higher chamber’s prices.
“We want to ensure the legislature has the proper resources to conduct an investigation and trial. This already existing fund is the proper avenue to ensure that fact,” Mike Murphy, spokesman for the state Senate Democrats, advised The Post Sunday.
The bill can be retroactive to April 1 as funding for the probe was not allotted within the $212 billion state price range, the state’s chief fiscal doc.
The laws — launched late Saturday night time — additionally signifies a precedence for each Democratic leaders with lower than per week left within the legislative session, slated to finish June 10.
But it will want Cuomo’s signature to turn out to be legislation — a spokesman didn’t return a request for remark by The Post when requested if the governor would approve the bill.
The Assembly has already set aside $250,000 by means of a contract with Davis Polk & Wardwell — the high-powered New York City legislation agency with 4 legal professionals being paid $600 an hour every to assist the physique’s Judiciary Committee with the inquiry.
That quantity has been slammed by critics for being too low to fund the wide-ranging investigation into a number of allegations of sexual harassment towards the governor, his administration’s dealing with of COVID-19 in nursing homes and the alleged misuse of state assets to write his $5.1 million pandemic-era memoir.
Although Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D-Long Island) has stated it’s an “initial cap” which may be adjusted “as needed,” it’s drawn ire from lawmakers like Ethics Committee Chairwoman state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who has urged the miserly quantity is supposed to “buy more time for the governor.”
So far, three conferences have been held by the committee to debate the probe because it was first launched in mid-March.
Sources additionally advised The Post Heastie has been sad with the concept that the Assembly can be on the hook to pay the complete tab and has been wanting for various funding avenues.
“It was never intended for the Assembly to pay for it,” stated Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Tarrytown), who additionally sits on the Judiciary Committee.
“This is a proper way to do it. It’s an obligation for the state, not the Assembly or the Senate, to pay for it. We never allocated money in our operations budget to pay for it. This is an unanticipated expense.”
Meanwhile taxpayers are already footing the bill for a separate, $2.5 million authorized protection of Cuomo and his administration towards a federal probe in his nursing residence coverage and guide deal.
Cuomo can also be being investigated by Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James for the allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct waged by former and present aides in addition to different ladies.