Lawsuit filed over decision to limit outside income for NY lawmakers

NY Capitol News

It’s already starting, the first lawsuit was filed today against the state and the New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli calling the pay raise for lawmakers “unconstitutional.”

The Government Justice Center just announced on Friday that they will be leading the first lawsuit against the state arguing that by increasing lawmaker’s salaries and placing restrictions on the legislature, the state is violating the Constitution.

“The point of this lawsuit is to stop this illegal process, this unconstitutional process that has taken place with this committee, declare it invalid and have it enjoined,” Cameron Macdonald, Executive Director of the Government Justice Center, said.

The Government Justice Center is representing four people in the lawsuit. One is Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick of Suffolk County and the other three are taxpayers from Saratoga County and the Bronx.

The center is taking some heat already though from the Governor himself.

The center claims to be non-partisan, however, the board consists of some pretty conservative members. Governor Andrew Cuomo accused the group of having an agenda while he was on the radio with Susan Arbetter.

“This group happens to be a very partisan conservative Republican group, it’s EJ McMahon, it’s the Empire Group, it’s all the ultraconservatives funded by Mercer, et cetera. The Republican Senators don’t like the ban because they have more of the outside law firms. The Upstate Republicans are often aligned with a law firm. That is the problem that we’re trying to solve with the banning of the outside income,” Gov. Cuomo said.

However, the lawsuit is claiming that the pay commission does not have the authority to make these changes to the legislature and will also be seeking an injunction to stop the first pay raise from taking place in January.

“I don’t know who’s partisan in all this, I think the reality is that this lawsuit is by a cross-section of New Yorkers who are concerned about the rule of law,” Macdonald said.

There are a few more Republicans I have been speaking to that have also expressed an interest in joining a lawsuit, so this most likely will not be the last lawsuit we will see in the coming months.  

NEWS10 ABC reached out to Tom DiNapoli’s office for a response on the pending lawsuit, but they declined to comment now.

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