ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A New York state ethics panel is reviewing a request from three watchdog groups asking for an investigation into whether the Paterson administration leaked personal information about Caroline Kennedy when she was under consideration for the U.S. Senate, a commission spokesman said Friday.

The confidential information was leaked in January shortly after Kennedy dropped out of contention for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vacant Senate seat.

New York Gov. David Paterson has said a campaign staffer leaked the unsubstantiated claims that Kennedy faced possible tax, nanny and marital problems.

The New York Public Interest Group confirmed it and two other good government groups had asked the ethics panel to investigate. NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner said he had no further comment on the request.

The New York Public Integrity Commission’s spokesman Walter Ayres said the panel is considering the request and there’s no timetable for a decision on whether to investigate. He declined to further comment.

A spokesman for Kennedy declined to comment

“We are confident there were no violations of the Public Officers Law with respect to this matter, and any investigation into these allegations will confirm that,” Paterson spokesman Peter Kauffmann said Friday.

State ethics laws prohibit the release of confidential information.

Polls show Paterson’s popularity has plummeted in part of because of the Kennedy leaks, which he said came from a political consultant who no longer advises him. Paterson, a Democrat, chose Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand in January to succeed Clinton when she became secretary of State.

After more than week of denying involvement, Paterson said in February he took responsibility for the actions of the employee who leaked the information about the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy.

At the time of the Jan. 22 leak, Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, said that if the information revealed came from the confidential questionnaires, it could have violated a state personal privacy protection law.

The Public Integrity Commission has jurisdiction over a similar measure in the Public Officers Law that bars state employees from disclosing confidential information.

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