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Cuomo defends handling of corruption panel

Updated: 07/28/2014 5:19 PM
Created: 07/28/2014 10:19 AM WNYT.com
By: Bill Lambdin

BUFFALO - With considerable ceremony, a year ago Gov. Cuomo announced formation of a special body, made mostly of district attorneys from throughout the state, called a Moreland Commission to uncover and investigate corruption in state government.

Cuomo promised the commission would be free to pursue what it found.

But in the 12 months since, reports in various places, summarized in a long piece last Wednesday in the New York Times, told of pressure from the governor's office to withdraw some subpoenas and just not go after some leads the commission staff wanted to pursue.

Speaking with reporters after an appearance promoting his program of tax breaks for business in special targeted zones upstate, the governor tried to draw a distinction between offering an opinion to the Moreland Commission and interfering.

"Interference is different. Interference means the commission wasn't independent. Their independence was trumped by the second floor. That is false," the governor said.

The second floor is political shorthand for the governor's staff, which is centered on the second floor of the state Capitol.

The controversy has given an opening to Republican opponent Rob Astorino.

"We have seen a pattern of lies and intimidation from this governor from day one," Astorino said Monday to reporters in Syracuse. "It was exposed by the New York Times last week and obviously this is getting worse and worse. He's engulfed in scandal."






 

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