Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino has been pounding away at the Governor in the wake of a damning report that indicate Cuomo officials interfered in an ethics panel investigation of possible corruption involving “groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.”
Astorino has suggested that it is his belief that Cuomo officials will eventually be indicted on criminal charges for their meddling, and he’s called on the Governor to stop hiding from the press.
Via the Observer:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino said he believed there was a “strong likelihood” that criminal charges would follow a New York Times story alleging Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration interfered with the Moreland Commission investigating public corruption.
“This is obviously very serious – it’s likely, a strong likelihood, of resulting indictments and criminal charges,” Mr. Astorino said on a conference call with reporters. “Andrew Cuomo has a lot of questions to answer, and I call on him to immediately hold a press conference.”
Instead, Cuomo is in Albany today with no public schedule. Astorino responded with a press release saying:
“Governor Cuomo can’t keep hiding from the New York press corps. His office tampered with multiple investigations to protect political cronies and financial contributors. He needs to account for that in a public forum — today,” Mr. Astorino said in a statement. “Mr. Cuomo has perpetrated one of the greatest breaches of public trust in New York history, and that’s saying something.”
Considering the new report that Cuomo officials tampered with investigators at the Moreland Commission, one would expect the Governor to launch a full-throated defense of his actions. Instead, he seems content to use his original excuse that it was his commission and he could do as he saw fit.
One major issue with that defense seems to be that officials with the commission were granted law enforcement authority. Commissioners were granted the power of deputy attorneys general by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a tactic the Times Union reports is one that “legal scholars and others contend effectively stripped the executive branch of its lawful ability to steer the panel.”
GOP chairman Ed Cox has demanded a criminal investigation into Cuomo’s meddling, and in a radio interview this past April, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara refused to rule out an investigation of Cuomo to find out if he improperly interfered with the work of the Moreland Commission.