In response to ballooning concerns that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration interfered with a state anti-corruption commission, NYS Republican Chairman Ed Cox has called for an ethics and criminal probe.
For his part, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has refused to rule out an investigation of Cuomo himself, to find out if he improperly interfered with the work of the Moreland Commission.
And now, Ed Cox is demanding an investigation with this statement:
When Andrew Cuomo channeled Louis IX and said, ‘I am the government,’ New York laughed; when, with a voice dripping with disdain, he said that certain conservatives ‘have no place in the State of New York,’ New York disavowed his words.
But the allegation by a respected reporter that the Governor’s Secretary interfered with a criminal investigation into fundraising by the Governor’s supporters and the Governor’s statement last week to an editorial board that he can turn the prosecutorial powers of the State on and off for political purposes, and his inadvertent admission that he actually did so, cross a line that warrants investigation by the United States Attorney and certainly an ethical inquiry by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
Such arrogance of power has no place in New York politics.
Bharara has expressed concern over growing reports that Cuomo dictated to the panel which subpoenas could be delivered, with top aides being spared. Cuomo has responded by saying essentially that it was his commission, and he could do whatever he wanted.
Via Crain’s NY:
It’s not a legal question. The Moreland Commission was my commission,” Mr. Cuomo explained. “It’s my commission. My subpoena power, my Moreland Commission. I can appoint it, I can disband it. I appoint you, I can un-appoint you tomorrow.
So, interference? It’s my commission. I can’t ‘interfere’ with it, because it is mine. It is controlled by me.
But members of the Moreland Commission were deputized by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, meaning they had authority as a criminal investigative body.
Three co-chairs on the Moreland Commission released a statement last year insisting they had “full legal authority” to investigate corruption based on the powers granted by Schneiderman.
As a body with full legal authority, it would indeed be a criminal act for Cuomo to try to sway that legal body, whether he created it or not.
Bharara intends to keep up the work of the Moreland Commission, rooting out public corruption in New York.