ALBANY—As attorney general, he can't directly legislate, but Andrew Cuomo has created a code of conduct for investment firms doing business with public pension funds and announced that a major firm, The Carlyle Group, has signed on.
Carlyle will also pay a $20 million settlement for allegedly improper business deals with the state pension fund under former comptroller Alan Hevesi and two aides, Hank Morris and David Loglisci.
"We've now, we've spent enough time doing the cases where we've identified a series of problems. We believe that this code solves those problems," Cuomo said to reporters on a conference call. "Our ultimate goal is to get that code enacted, meaning, by either state law, state regulation, or in this case, federal law, federal regulation."
He added: "The S.E.C. could pick up this law, stroke of a pen, and make it a regulation."
Cuomo's ongoing probe of the state pension fund has resulted in indictments of Morris and Loglisci; charges against Raymond Harding, the former chairman of the state Liberal Party, who allegedly arranged for Hevesi's son Andrew to win a seat in the State Assembly; the guilty plea of hedge-fund manager Barrett Wissman and charges against Saul Meyer, a partner in Aldus Equity.
Carlyle was one of the companies that retained Morris to invest in the pension fund. Today's agreement, Cuomo said, "settles all matters with Carlyle and its employees."
He was asked where the threshold was between charges and agreeing to reform.
"It's not an either or, Joe. This is what we do here, we try to accomplish two goals: [first] to accomplish justice in a particular case," he said. "Second, and at the same time, we want to fix the problem and reform the industry. Whether it's student loans or health care, that's what we do."