ICYMI: One of the 25 Moreland Commission members, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, said during a CapTon interview last night that the corruption-busting body is unlikely to train its sites on the executive branch, despite multiple calls (largely from legislators) to do so.

“I think we’re making a mockery of this whole process if we try to pretend that a group of us that’s been appointed by the attorney general and the governor is investigating the attorney general or the governor,” Mahoney told me.

“So, I never subscribed to that notion to start with, and there has been no conversations inside the Moreland Commission to do anything other than address public corruption and these instances that are outlined in this report, which are all legislative.”

Mahoney, a Republican who crossed party lines in 2010 to endorse Cuomo’s first gubernatorial run, went so far as to say it would be a conflict of interest for the commission to investigate the executive branch.

She said it would only be appropriate for an “independent” commission – in other words, one whose members are not appointed by the governor – to undertake that sort of probe.

Cuomo, as you’ll recall, stressed the Moreland Commission’s independence when he first announced its creation over the summer, saying its members would be free to consider any aspect of the state’s loophole-riddled campaign system they saw fit – including his own massive fund-raising operation.

“It’s an independent commission that is free to investigate whatever they feel needs to be investigated on the merits,” the governor said at the time.

But then came reports of the Cuomo administration’s micromanagement of the commission, including directing some subpoenas and blocking others from being issued.

Amid those reports, AG Eric Schneiderman, whose office was used by Cuomo to beef up the commission’s investigatory powers, reiterated that the body could not succeed unless it was truly independent, saying:

“It has to be to follow the money wherever it goes. I am opposed to anything that stands in the way of those goals.”

Mahoney also spoke about the tremendous pressure – from both inside and outside the commission – to include public campaign financing among the reform recommendations in the report released yesterday, though she shied away from saying the administration itself pushed for that outcome.

Mahoney was one of seven commissioners to sign onto a dissenting opinion about public financing, and told me last night she remains unconvinced that using taxpayer dollars – especially at a time when so many upstate cities are facing financial peril – to fund political campaigns is an idea that will sell to New York voters.

You can see my entire interview with Mahoney (which was conducted on the phone, as she was traveling back to Central New York from White Plains) here.

Watch Excerpt Here
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