New York state legislators are currently being paid for their work through a system of offshore commissions, the state Department of Financial Services (DFS) has confirmed to the NY Times.
The commission is designed to avoid public oversight and transparency, according to the Times.
In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, in June, a state legislator, Rep. Michael DiCiccio, proposed a bill to establish a commission that would hold hearings to determine if lawmakers’ personal information was being sold for use by foreign entities, such as foreign governments.
The bill was co-sponsored by DiCicco and state Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Queens, and is currently before the state legislature.
“Our goal is to have the legislature take this seriously and move forward on this,” Buono told the Times in an email.
Buono said in a statement that the committee was created to “ensure that the public has an accurate and complete picture of the activities of legislators.”
The bill has not been sent to the state Senate, but Buono added that she would support any legislation to address the issue.
The system, which has not yet been made public, requires that the legislative aide and a lawyer representing the legislative staff present before a panel of three state senators to present an “informational brief” on the “trade-in of state information.”
The brief will describe how the lawmaker’s data is being used.
The committee will then have the opportunity to review the information and make recommendations for legislation to prevent this from happening.
If the bill does not pass, it could face legal challenges.
DiCiccio has also been accused of using his office for personal purposes, according the NY Post.
He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In March, the House approved legislation that would create a panel that would review all foreign-government trade-in requests.
In a statement, the committee said it would work with the legislature to ensure that the information obtained by the panel “is not used for the improper purpose of facilitating a trade-off between privacy and the security of our state or national interests.”
The legislation was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, but was not sent to a vote.