Monday, January 21, 2008
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is not letting up on school-related investigations. His latest target appears to be summer abroad programs. Jonathan Glater at the New York Times reports in an article titled, "Investigation of Study Programs Widen" of recent schools receiving subpoenas. The focus is on whether there are perks related to these programs. Some thoughts:
- There is an interesting aspect to this article in that one sees "a senior lawyer" in the office providing or confirming information. One does not - as of yet- see a press release on Cuomo's website. Should an attorney general be providing information to the public in the investigation stage?
- And is it really necessary to issue subpoenas if the ultimate goal is to provide a code of conduct for study abroad programs.
- Should the investigators recognize that when dealing with foreign countries things might operate differently. For example, even the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) recognizes that it is necessary to allow for payments that might be "lawful under the written laws and regulations of the foreign official's, political party's, party official's, or candidate's country;" and allows for "reasonable and bona fide expenditure(s), such as travel and lodging expenses." And although we are not dealing with the FCPA statute here, it does present a thought process that might need to be considered when one operates outside this country.
- And how far will this investigation go? Will he be looking at what top officials visit different programs (e.g., Supreme Court Justices visiting law school programs).
- And does the fact that nothing may be improper in all of this make a difference?
Andrew Cuomo is certainly trying to set new ground, and it appears that one of his targets is the education world.