Governor Andrew Cuomo was silent today in the wake of a lengthy report by The New York Times that said his administration repeatedly interfered with the work of an anti-corruption commission Cuomo, himself, created, with a top aide even calling back subpoenas that were issued to political allies of the governor's. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Governor Andrew Cuomo was in New York City Wednesday with no public schedule, deciding not to address a tough New York Times article that lays out a pattern of interference in the work of his anti-corruption Moreland Commission.
The governor, instead, issued nine separate press releases throughout the day, trumpeting the upgrading of the state's bond rating, and even new penalties for the mistreating of pets.
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy held a public event in upstate Jamesville but did not take questions.
Some believe the Governor will soon need to publicly address the story.
"Where does this resolve itself? I think it has to resolve itself with the governor standing before the cameras and giving an in-person news conference refuting the Times story as he sees it and answering its charges," says Blair Horner of New York Public Interest Research Group.
According to the Times, Cuomo's top aide, Larry Schwartz, ordered members of the commission to pull back at least two subpoenas the commission issued to the Real Estate Board of New York, whose members have donated generously to Cuomo, and to an advocacy group created to promote the governor's agenda.
Barbara Bartoletti was an adviser to the commission.
"I just saw some signs here and there that clearly they were coordinating with, and what I assumed was the second floor. Before meetings, there would be some closed door discussions," Bartoletti says.
"Governor Cuomo pledged to restore the public trust. He's done some things to do that, but his actions in handling the Moreland Commission have undermined all the good that he has done," says Dick Dadey of Citizens Union.
In its 13-page response to the Times, the Cuomo administration tried to dismiss the report, saying, "This is old news. The commission disbanded over four months ago. Even as a recap story, this is not timely, relevant, or new."
"The Moreland story comes in the middle of Governor Cuomo's re-election campaign where he is way ahead of his Republican opponent in the polls.
The question now becomes, does the story and its revelations damage the governor's standing with the public and more importantly, can his political opponents capitalize on that?