Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended on Tuesday his decision to have his campaign account pay for a white-collar lawyer to represent his office in the ongoing Moreland Commission investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office.

“It could be paid for by taxpayer dollars, government dollars,” Cuomo told reporters after an economic-development announcement in Ontario County. “I didn’t want the taxpayers to pay for it, so I said I would have it paid for by the campaign, but it’s a valid government expense.”

Asked why Elkan Abramowitz, a criminal defense lawyer who counts Woody Allen among his clients, was hired, Cuomo said, “Just because there’s a lot going back and forth and we needed one.”

Cuomo declined to comment on the allegations raised in recent weeks that his office inappropriately interfered in the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption through directing or blocking subpoenas from the panel or that soliciting statements from panel members constituted obstruction or witness tampering.

“The U.S. attorney in New York City is now looking into the operation of the commission and I think that should be respected and I don’t think public dialogue on the matter is helpful right now and we’ll let him do his work,” he said.

Cuomo last week confirmed in a statement an attorney for the commission received a letter from U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara admonishing the administration for soliciting statements from commission members, who affirmed the governor’s office’s claims the Moreland panel was free of any gubernatorial meddling.

Larry Schwartz, a top aide to the governor, is due to meet with Bharara’s office, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. Mylan Denerstein, the administration counsel, is also set to speak with federal prosecutors as well.

Cuomo says he has not been asked to speak with Bharara.

“I’ve told all my people anything he wants to know, everyone should cooperate,” he said.

Cuomo once again defended the decision to create the commission and the subsequent demise of the panel following an ethics agreement in the state budget in March.

“The Moreland Commission was a great group of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said, adding, “It was put together for the right reason which is to pass ethics reform in Albany and it did pass ethics reform in Albany. Not all that we need, not all that we wanted, but it was a step forward.”