Republicans Hope Moreland Mess Hurts Democratic Ticket
The fallout from the controversy surrounding the Moreland Commission isn’t just touching Gov. Andrew Cuomo as Republicans on the November ballot this year are all trying to knock Democratic incumbents tied to the mess.
“We have a right to know as New Yorkers exactly what this governor knew, what he’s hiding and the attorney general needs to speak on this, too,” said Rob Astorino, the Republican candidate for governor.
Whether the effort to tie the Moreland mess to other Democrats beyond Cuomo is success remains to be seen. Both Schneiderman and DiNapoli have leads in public opinion polls, name recognition and fundraising.
At the same time, Schneiderman and DiNapoli while allies on various auditing and investigatory matters, do not have a warm relationship with Cuomo himself.
Nevertheless, Republicans, shut out of every statewide office since 2006, see an opportunity with the Moreland issue, pointing to the role the offices they’re seeking play in policing Albany.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman deputized the commission members last year as a way of boosting their investigatory powers.
Schneiderman spoke for the first time Friday about the growing scandal since The New York Times reported on the governor’s involvement in the commission, but had little to say.
“We’re cooperating with the ongoing investigation. I’m not going to comment on any investigatory activities by my office or any other office,” Schneiderman said last week at a land bank announcement in Schenectady.
Schneiderman’s Republican opponent, John Cahill, said the attorney general should have been proactive in calling attention to any gubernatorial interference.
In the comptroller’s race, Republican Bob Antonacci says incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli should have been more active policing corruption in the state.
“If I was a state comptroller, we wouldn’t have needed a Moreland Commission because I would have been on top of the corruption. I would have been investigating per diems and the reimbursements and the campaign acconuts. I would have been doing my own tie back to the state contracts. That’s something that can be done at any time,” Antonacci said.
DiNapoli shrugs off the criticism, but said he too isn’t commenting, citing U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation.
“It’s the beginning of the silly season so everyone is going to seize on everything. My view is a very simple one: The U.S. Attorney’s has an examination that’s going on right now. Let’s all let Preet Bharara do his job,” DiNapoli said.
After Bharara’s office warned against coaching potential witnesses, Cuomo said he’s no longer commenting on the matter.
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