The Republican leader of the state Senate said a bipartisan legislative panel needs to be created to review the criminal allegations surrounding Democratic House Speaker Chris Donovan's congressional campaign.
Fairfield Republican John McKinney said on Tuesday that the General Assembly needs to know more about the legislative staff involved in discussions concerning a bill taxing roll-your-own tobacco shops -- the focus of the federal probe.
Investigators have accused two former Donovan campaign staffers, including one who formerly worked for the legislature, of conspiring to hide the source of campaign contributions from store owners hoping to kill the tax bill.
McKinney said he wants to know whether other bills were also part of the alleged scheme.
The Republican made a similar request for a legislative inquiry in June.
However, House Majority LeadeRep. Brendan Sharkey said on Tuesday that the federal investigation has not yet suggested the state legislative process was compromised by any violation of federal campaign laws. If contrary information comes to light, Sharkey said he'll call for bipartisan measures.
House Republican Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr. issued a statement saying he has initiated discussions with Sharkey about forming a committee of inquiry and asked his staff to research the rules involved in creating such a panel.
"The State Constitution, under Article Three, clearly establishes that each house of the legislature will determine the rules of its proceedings involved in punishing one of its own members, and if an inquiry is to be called it ought be done by the House," Cafero said. "We can also examine the possibility of creating a mechanism by which a member of the House can petition a bill to the floor, similar to the way it is currently conducted in committee, because any inquiry cannot successfully examine the conduct of its members without reviewing the process that allowed it to take place."