NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a sweeping new initiative that will give the Attorney General the authority to investigate and potentially prosecute any wrongdoing involving government spending, including member items, contracts, and pension fraud. By working with the Comptroller to police public integrity in Albany, the Attorney General is building on his multi-pronged approach to root out waste, fraud and corruption in state government.

“As stewards of the public trust, we are all responsible for doing our part to crack down on public corruption with every tool at our disposal. We need to be smarter, faster and more efficient than what current law allows,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “That is why it is critical we close every loophole that exists in current law as part of comprehensive ethics legislation. We need such legislation now more than ever, and I look forward to working with the Governor and legislative leaders in the coming weeks to do just that.”

The new initiative will also expand the Attorney General’s jurisdiction to the state’s public authorities – a shadow government that operates out of the public eye and often without accountability.

Attorney General Schneiderman has made restoring New Yorkers’ faith in their state government a top priority of his administration. Upon taking office, he established a new Taxpayer Protection Bureau to target corrupt contractors, pension con-artists, and large-scale tax cheats who rip-off New York State government and its taxpayers. He bolstered the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and has already secured tens of millions of dollars in recoveries for New Yorkers. And just last week in Rochester, he began to fulfill his pledge to appoint a public integrity officer to all 13 of the Attorney General’s regional offices so that citizens can feel safe reporting local corruption to an independent prosecutorial authority.