New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently confirmed fears that he is manipulating the corruption-sniffing Moreland Commission when his aides told commissioners to hold back subpoenas for the Democratic State Committee, whose housekeeping account raised $5.9 million for pro-Cuomo ads. Senate Republicans took a swipe at the Governor by proposing a bill to stop to the governor's meddling.
Neither the Moreland Commission nor Cuomo's own office responded. Instead, Cuomo ally and Democratic State Committee executive director Rodney Capel went to bat for the governor - and he didn't mince words.
Here is the response of New York State Republican Chairman Ed Cox:
By attempting to defend the Moreland Commission yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo's handpicked political operative confirmed everyone's worst fears that this so-called investigation is a purely partisan, one-party, political witch hunt. One of the Commission's first moves was to subpoena a Republican campaign committee while blocking a subpoena to the Governor's own Democratic committee, reportedly at the direction of the Governor's own staff.
We cannot tolerate corruption in government at any level - - whether it's the legislative, executive or judicial branch - - or by any political party.
That's why it is deeply troubling that Governor Cuomo and the Moreland Commission he controls, despite his protestations, continues to focus solely on the activities of the State Legislature when the legislated purpose of the act is to "examine management and affairs of any department, board, bureau or commission" and to recommend legislative remedies.
Has this Governor forgotten that New York's last two chief Executives landed in hot water for committing serious misdeeds while in office, including Eliot Spitzer who admitted to patronizing prostitutes and was subsequently forced to resign? What about former Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who served 20 months in prison for his role in a pay to play pension scandal?
And the fact that approximately 430 employees in the Executive Branch have been arrested since 2000 for violating the public trust argues for the Moreland Commission to examine the inner workings of the executive branch, where their legal authority is clear.
Given recent events, it's clear that we need to know far more about the inner workings of the Executive Branch, including whether pay-to-play campaign donations are influencing the awarding of state contracts.
Unless the Moreland commission thoroughly examines the executive branch of our state government, the only result will be a legally questionable, one-sided report that may already have been written by the Governor's staff for the same political purposes for which he formed the Moreland Commission. And it will be the corruption of a commission on corruption."