Current through 2023 NY Law Chapter 1
Section 63 - General duties
The attorney-general shall:1. Prosecute and defend all actions and proceedings in which the state is interested, and have charge and control of all the legal business of the departments and bureaus of the state, or of any office thereof which requires the services of attorney or counsel, in order to protect the interest of the state, but this section shall not apply to any of the military department bureaus or military offices of the state. No action or proceeding affecting the property or interests of the state shall be instituted, defended or conducted by any department, bureau, board, council, officer, agency or instrumentality of the state, without a notice to the attorney-general apprising him of the said action or proceeding, the nature and purpose thereof, so that he may participate or join therein if in his opinion the interests of the state so warrant.2. Whenever required by the governor, attend in person, or by one of his deputies, any term of the supreme court or appear before the grand jury thereof for the purpose of managing and conducting in such court or before such jury criminal actions or proceedings as shall be specified in such requirement; in which case the attorney-general or his deputy so attending shall exercise all the powers and perform all the duties in respect of such actions or proceedings, which the district attorney would otherwise be authorized or required to exercise or perform; and in any of such actions or proceedings the district attorney shall only exercise such powers and perform such duties as are required of him by the attorney-general or the deputy attorney-general so attending. In all such cases all expenses incurred by the attorney-general, including the salary or other compensation of all deputies employed, shall be a county charge.3. Upon request of the governor, comptroller, secretary of state, commissioner of transportation, superintendent of financial services, commissioner of taxation and finance, commissioner of motor vehicles, or the state inspector general, or the head of any other department, authority, division or agency of the state, investigate the alleged commission of any indictable offense or offenses in violation of the law which the officer making the request is especially required to execute or in relation to any matters connected with such department, and to prosecute the person or persons believed to have committed the same and any crime or offense arising out of such investigation or prosecution or both, including but not limited to appearing before and presenting all such matters to a grand jury.4. Cause all persons indicted for corrupting or attempting to corrupt any member or member-elect of the legislature, or the commissioner of general services, to be brought to trial.5. When required by the comptroller or the superintendent of public works, prepare proper drafts for contracts, obligations and other instruments for the use of the state.6. Upon receipt thereof, pay into the treasury all moneys received by him for debts due or penalties forfeited to the people of the state.7. He may, on behalf of the state, agree upon a case containing a statement of the facts and submit a controversy for decision to a court of record which would have jurisdiction of an action brought on the same case. He may agree that a referee, to be appointed in an action to which the state is a party, shall receive such compensation at such rate per day as the court in the order of reference may specify. He may with the approval of the governor retain counsel to recover moneys or property belonging to the state, or to the possession of which the state is entitled, upon an agreement that such counsel shall receive reasonable compensation, to be fixed by the attorney-general, out of the property recovered, and not otherwise.8. Whenever in his judgment the public interest requires it, the attorney-general may, with the approval of the governor, and when directed by the governor, shall, inquire into matters concerning the public peace, public safety and public justice. For such purpose he may, in his discretion, and without civil service examination, appoint and employ, and at pleasure remove, such deputies, officers and other persons as he deems necessary, determine their duties and, with the approval of the governor, fix their compensation. All appointments made pursuant to this subdivision shall be immediately reported to the governor, and shall not be reported to any other state officer or department. Payments of salaries and compensation of officers and employees and of the expenses of the inquiry shall be made out of funds provided by the legislature for such purposes, which shall be deposited in a bank or trust company in the names of the governor and the attorney-general, payable only on the draft or check of the attorney-general, countersigned by the governor, and such disbursements shall be subject to no audit except by the governor and the attorney-general. The attorney-general, his deputy, or other officer, designated by him, is empowered to subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, examine them under oath before himself or a magistrate and require that any books, records, documents or papers relevant or material to the inquiry be turned over to him for inspection, examination or audit, pursuant to the civil practice law and rules. If a person subpoenaed to attend upon such inquiry fails to obey the command of a subpoena without reasonable cause, or if a person in attendance upon such inquiry shall, without reasonable cause, refuse to be sworn or to be examined or to answer a question or to produce a book or paper, when ordered so to do by the officer conducting such inquiry, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. It shall be the duty of all public officers, their deputies, assistants and subordinates, clerks and employees, and all other persons, to render and furnish to the attorney-general, his deputy or other designated officer, when requested, all information and assistance in their possession and within their power. Each deputy or other officer appointed or designated to conduct such inquiry shall make a weekly report in detail to the attorney-general, in form to be approved by the governor and the attorney-general, which report shall be in duplicate, one copy of which shall be forthwith, upon its receipt by the attorney-general, transmitted by him to the governor. Any officer participating in such inquiry and any person examined as a witness upon such inquiry who shall disclose to any person other than the governor or the attorney-general the name of any witness examined or any information obtained upon such inquiry, except as directed by the governor or the attorney-general, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.9. Bring and prosecute or defend upon request of the commissioner of labor or the state division of human rights, any civil action or proceeding, the institution or defense of which in his judgment is necessary for effective enforcement of the laws of this state against discrimination by reason of age, race, sex, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, citizenship or immigration status, or domestic violence victim status, or for enforcement of any order or determination of such commissioner or division made pursuant to such laws.10. Prosecute every person charged with the commission of a criminal offense in violation of any of the laws of this state against discrimination because of age, race, sex, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, citizenship or immigration status, or domestic violence victim status, in any case where in his judgment, because of the extent of the offense, such prosecution cannot be effectively carried on by the district attorney of the county wherein the offense or a portion thereof is alleged to have been committed, or where in his judgment the district attorney has erroneously failed or refused to prosecute. In all such proceedings, the attorney-general may appear in person or by his deputy or assistant before any court or any grand jury and exercise all the powers and perform all the duties in respect of such actions or proceedings which the district attorney would otherwise be authorized or required to exercise or perform.11. Prosecute and defend all actions and proceedings in connection with safeguarding and enforcing the state's remainder interest in any trust which meets the requirements of subparagraph two of paragraph (b) of subdivision two of section three hundred sixty-six of the social services law.12. Whenever any person shall engage in repeated fraudulent or illegal acts or otherwise demonstrate persistent fraud or illegality in the carrying on, conducting or transaction of business, the attorney general may apply, in the name of the people of the state of New York, to the supreme court of the state of New York, on notice of five days, for an order enjoining the continuance of such business activity or of any fraudulent or illegal acts, directing restitution and damages and, in an appropriate case, cancelling any certificate filed under and by virtue of the provisions of section four hundred forty of the former penal law or section one hundred thirty of the general business law, and the court may award the relief applied for or so much thereof as it may deem proper. The word "fraud" or "fraudulent" as used herein shall include any device, scheme or artifice to defraud and any deception, misrepresentation, concealment, suppression, false pretense, false promise or unconscionable contractual provisions. The term "persistent fraud" or "illegality" as used herein shall include continuance or carrying on of any fraudulent or illegal act or conduct. The term "repeated" as used herein shall include repetition of any separate and distinct fraudulent or illegal act, or conduct which affects more than one person. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, all monies recovered or obtained under this subdivision by a state agency or state official or employee acting in their official capacity shall be subject to subdivision eleven of section four of the state finance law.
In connection with any such application, the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a determination of the relevant facts and to issue subpoenas in accordance with the civil practice law and rules. Such authorization shall not abate or terminate by reason of any action or proceeding brought by the attorney general under this section.13. Prosecute any person for perjury committed during the course of any investigation conducted by the attorney-general pursuant to statute. In all such proceedings, the attorney-general may appear in person or by his deputy or assistant before any court or any grand jury and exercise all the powers and perform all the duties necessary or required to be exercised or performed in prosecuting any such person for such offense.15. In any case where the attorney general has authority to institute a civil action or proceeding in connection with the enforcement of a law of this state, in lieu thereof he may accept an assurance of discontinuance of any act or practice in violation of such law from any person engaged or who has engaged in such act or practice. Such assurance may include a stipulation for the voluntary payment by the alleged violator of the reasonable costs and disbursements incurred by the attorney general during the course of his investigation. Evidence of a violation of such assurance shall constitute prima facie proof of violation of the applicable law in any civil action or proceeding thereafter commenced by the attorney general.16.(a) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, in resolving, by agreed judgment, stipulation, decree, agreement to settle, assurance of discontinuance or otherwise, any claim or cause of action, whether filed or unfiled, actual or potential, and whether arising under common law, equity, or any provision of law, a state agency or a state official or employee acting in their official capacity shall not have the authority to include or agree to include in such resolution any term or condition that would provide the state agency, official, or employee, their agent or designee, the settling party, or any third party with control or discretion over how any moneys to be paid by the settling party would be used, spent, or allocated.(b) Paragraph (a) of this subdivision shall not apply to any provision in the resolution of a claim or cause of action providing (1) moneys to be distributed to the federal government, to a local government, or to any holder of a bond or other debt instrument issued by the state, any public authority, or any public benefit corporation; (2) moneys to be distributed solely or exclusively as a payment of damages or restitution to individuals or entities that were specifically injured or harmed by the defendant's or settling party's conduct and that are identified in, or can be identified by the terms of, the relevant judgment, stipulation, decree, agreement to settle, assurance of discontinuance, or relevant instrument resolving the claim or cause of action; (3) moneys recovered or obtained by the attorney general where application of paragraph (a) of this subdivision is prohibited by federal law, rule, or regulation, or would result in the reduction or loss of federal funds or eligibility for federal benefits pursuant to federal law, rule, or regulation; (4) moneys recovered or obtained by or on behalf of a public authority, a public benefit corporation, the department of taxation and finance, the workers' compensation board, the New York state higher education services corporation, the tobacco settlement financing corporation, a state or local retirement system, an employee health benefit program administered by the New York state department of civil service, the Title IV-D child support fund, the lottery prize fund, the abandoned property fund, or an endowment of the state university of New York or any unit thereof or any state agency, provided that all of the moneys received or recovered are immediately transferred to the relevant public authority, public benefit corporation, department, fund, program, or endowment; (5) moneys to be refunded to an individual or entity as (i) an overpayment of a tax, fine, penalty, fee, insurance premium, loan payment, charge or surcharge; (ii) a return of seized assets; or (iii) a payment made in error; (6) moneys to be used to prevent, abate, restore, mitigate or control any identifiable instance of prior or ongoing water, land or air pollution; and/or (7) state moneys received as part of any statewide opioid settlement agreements as defined in section 25.18 of the mental hygiene law, to be spent on eligible expenditures as defined in section 25.18 of the mental hygiene law.(c) Where an agreed judgment, stipulation, decree, agreement to settle, assurance of discontinuance or other legal instrument resolves (1) any claim or any cause of action asserted by a state agency or a state official or employee acting in their official capacity and (2) any claim or cause of action asserted by one or more foreign jurisdictions or third parties, paragraph (a) of this subdivision shall only apply to the resolution of the claim or cause of action asserted by the state agency, official, or employee.17.(a) Any local government entity which has a police agency operating with police officers as defined under section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law that fails to transmit to the director of the division of the budget the certification required by executive order number two hundred three issued on June twelfth, two thousand twenty and titled "New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative" on or before April first, two thousand twenty-one shall, upon request of the governor or the director of the division of the budget, be required to install a monitor, to monitor and report monthly on the operations of such police agency, including but not limited to the monitor's observations about interactions among the community and police agencies in such local government's jurisdiction, until such time that the required certification is submitted to the director of the division of the budget. Such monitor shall be appointed by the attorney general, in consultation with the governor, at the expense of the police agency or responsible local government. Reports of the monitor shall be made public and the monitor shall promptly provide copies to the governor, the attorney general, the commissioner of the division of criminal justice services, the speaker of the assembly and the temporary president of the senate. The attorney general shall promptly post such reports on the department of law website. The certification filed with the director of the division of the budget must affirm that such local government has complied with the process set forth in executive order number two hundred three by adopting a local law or resolution that includes its plan to adopt and implement the recommendations resulting from its review and consultation with the community to improve such police force deployments, strategies, policies, procedures, and practices for the purposes of addressing the particular needs of the communities served by such police agency and promote community engagement to foster trust, fairness, and legitimacy, and to address any racial bias and disproportionate policing of communities of color.(b) The appointment of a monitor, pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subdivision, shall be imposed in addition to any withholding of up to fifty percent of any appropriated state or federal funds by the director of the division of the budget in accordance with the authority granted in any appropriations bill enacted for such fiscal years in which such withholding of funds occurs, as directed by executive order number two hundred three. The director of the division of the budget shall discontinue and reverse any withholds made pursuant to this provision upon receipt of the certification required by Executive Order 203.Amended by New York Laws 2022, ch. 748,Sec. 14, eff. 12/23/2022.Amended by New York Laws 2022, ch. 171,Sec. 3, eff. 6/29/2021.Amended by New York Laws 2021, ch. 190,Sec. 4, eff. 6/29/2021.Amended by New York Laws 2021, ch. 55,Sec. L-1, eff. 4/19/2021.Amended by New York Laws 2019, ch. 160,Sec. 10, eff. 8/12/2019.Amended by New York Laws 2014, ch. 55,Sec. HH-4, eff. 3/31/2014.Amended by New York Laws 2014, ch. 55,Sec. HH-3, eff. 3/31/2014.