Cuomo: Astorino’s Moreland Criticism ‘Entertaining’
Gov. Andrew Cuomo brushed off criticism from Republican Rob Astorino on Wednesday, who alleged the incumbent Democrat may have broken the law when his office became involved in the direction of subpoenas issued by the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption.
Astorino, the GOP candidate for governor, said in a news released that Cuomo’s violated state law when he failed to turn over any evidence gathered by the commission to the State Police.
“The only way to get to the bottom of this is for Mr. Cuomo to produce evidence right now that Moreland criminal probes were referred to the State Police and other law enforcement authorities, or for an impartial special state prosecutor to be appointed to look into why these cases were not referred. If Mr. Cuomo shut down criminal probes of political cronies without passing along accumulated evidence, that would be a very serious charge, indeed.”
Cuomo, on Long Island for an announcement on storm recovery, laughed the comment off.
“Yeah, that’s entertaining,” Cuomo said with a laugh.
He later added the anti-corruption commission itself was composed of prosecutors who would have had access to any of the information on criminal wrongdoing.
Cuomo again insisted the commission was an independent entity despite his top aide, Larry Schwartz, calling to request that a subpoena to an ad-buying firm that counts the governor among its clients not be sent.
“There was extensive communication between the commission and the executive and the Senate and the Assembly,” Cuomo said. “They were talking about legislation, they were talking about reforms to make.”
Cuomo again leaned heavily on statements made by Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, who released an extensive statement this week denying any allegations that commission was interfered with by the governor’s office.
“He said he made all the decisions and they made them independently. Period,” Cuomo said. “So that’s that.”
When it was pointed out that the other co-chairs of the commission — Kathleen Rice, now running for Congress, and Milton Williams, an appointee of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — are yet to weigh in on he panel’s independence, Cuomo said Fitzpatrick was the “senior co-chair.”
Fitzpatrick has not been referred to as the “senior” member of the commission to date.
“That’s up to them,” Cuomo said as to whether other commission members would comment. “I’m sure if they had a different opinion you would have heard from them.”
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