ALBANY—With the State Senate’s Democratic leadership poised to unveil a nine-member Inquisition panel to examine the possible expulsion of Hiram Monserrate, Republicans are saying the matter should have been left to the Ethics Committee, which Sampson chairs and which has three Republicans and three Democrats.
“By appointing a new committee of five Democrats and four Republicans, Senator Sampson has raised the question of whether this can truly be a fair process and a nonpartisan investigation,” Minority Leader Dean Skelos, a Long Island Republican, said. “He chose not to refer this matter, as the Assembly has in past cases, to a bipartisan committee like the Ethics Committee which has equal party representation and is charged with reviewing matters involving the conduct of legislators. In appointing members to this committee, I will appoint Senators without preconditions who will serve the committee and pursue the investigation in a fair manner.”
Republicans have not yet named their members. A Senate source told me Democrats have picked four of their members–Eric Schneiderman as chairman, Toby Ann Stavisky, Diane Savino and Andrea Stewart-Cousins–but are still pondering the fifth.
An announcement from John Sampson is scheduled for 3 p.m.