New York's troubled anti-corruption panel on Thursday during a contentious meeting voted to make a criminal referral to Attorney General Letitia James' office over an alleged leak to ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo surrounding the details of the panel's discussion of whether to investigate his former aide Joe Percoco.
Separately, the commission voted for a criminal referral to how the state inspector general's office, an arm of the governor's administration, handled the alleged leak.
The leak allegedly made in 2019 came after Percoco was convicted in a wide-ranging federal bribery case. The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, ultimately did not advance an investigation into Percoco.
The commission, which oversees ethics and lobbying in New York, is composed of appointees of the governor and the state Legislature.
Percoco had been a close aide to the governor for years, and Cuomo has referred to him as a brother in a 2014 memoir. Percoco in 2018 was convicted in a bribery case that also drew in prominent developers who had participated in the "Buffalo Billion" economic development program and were donors to the governor. Cuomo himself was never accused of wrongdoing.
The panel's decision to investigate the leak allegation comes as it is also under fire from state lawmakers, who have called for the commission to be replaced with an entity that is designed to be more independent.
James' office, which released a report this month by outside investigators that determined Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, is already investigating the use of government resources by the former governor to write a $5.1 million book about the pandemic.