Press-Republican

Politics and Elections

July 3, 2013

Local DAs named to corruption panel

MALONE — Two North Country district attorneys were named by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a state commission to investigate corruption among public officials.

Franklin County DA Derek Champagne and Essex County DA Kristy Sprague will serve on the newly created Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

Each was also named a deputy attorney general by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to carry out commission duties, “which include all matter that involve public peace, public safety and public justice,” according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.

Members will have the power to subpoena lawmakers and others to testify and produce documents, just as the Attorney General’s Office can.

‘HONORED’

Champagne, who has been Franklin County’s district attorney since 2002, said the governor has spoken a number of times about the need for reform in Albany “to restore confidence in the government of the state of New York and the Moreland Commission regarding public corruption.

“The governor reached out to me about 10 days ago,” he said. “I think it is an honor to be asked to serve, and I’m looking forward to serving.”

Details about how often and where the commission will meet have not been determined, and there is no information yet on whether inquiry panels will be convened or on a structure of possible subcommittees to study certain issues in depth, he said.

Sprague, who was sworn in as DA in Essex County in 2010, said, “I’m just honored, flattered and privileged to have been selected to serve with such a diverse and esteemed panel of professionals.”

BARRETT ON PANEL

The commission is chaired by a three-person team: Milton Williams Jr., a former federal prosecutor; Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick; and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Other members with ties to the region include J. Patrick Barrett, chairman of the Olympic Regional Development Authority Board, and Warren County District Attorney Kathleen Hogan.

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