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Cuomo Defends Moreland Commission Report's Narrow Focus

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Governor Andrew Cuomo took to the radio to defend his Moreland Commission and its narrow focus, as the report focused only on the legislative branch, which could lead to more gridlock in Albany. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

In the end, the conclusions of the Cuomo-appointed Moreland commission were fairly obvious: Money is a corrupting influence in politics. But the 100-page preliminary report has drawn criticism because it focused exclusively on malfeasance in the legislature.

On Monday, the upstate Onondaga County Executive, Joanie Mahoney, one of 22 Moreland commissioners, spoke with Liz Benjamin at our sister station, YNN.

"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 said.

On Wednesday, the governor called into a radio show to talk about the scope of the investigation.

"The whole point here is, there has been evidence of corruption in the legislature, and that is an undeniable fact," Cuomo said.

A majority of the commission concluded that publicly financed campaigns, similar to New York City's system, should be adopted statewide, but seven commissioners dissented on this point.

Some are now questioning the governor's commitment to public financing. Last year, a bill failed to pass the legislature.

"If I didn't support public finance, and I was willing to come up with a package without public finance, I believe we could have had a package last session," Cuomo said. "Public finance is the stumbling point."

Advocates have reignited their campaign for a statewide system of public financing.

"In every campaign, there's pay-to-play problems. It's executive, it's legislative," said Karen Scharff of Citizen Action. "Those things exist all throughout the system, and that's why we need the system changed."

Because advocates say that the only way to achieve reform is through a comprehensive approach that includes publicly financed campaigns, and because there is clearly continued opposition to that particularly component, it brings the state back to the same impasse it was at in the last session, when no bill could pass both the Assembly and the state Senate.

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