Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Governor Makes First Appearance Following Controversial Anti-Corruption Commission Report

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Governor Andrew Cuomo was on Long Island to meet with homeowners still suffering the effects of Hurricane Sandy. It was his first public appearance in the New York city area since last week's New York times story detailing alleged interference by his administration in an anti-corruption investigation. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Although it's his re-election year, Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn't done much mingling with ordinary voters—at least not in the New York City area. On Wednesday, though, Cuomo was on Long Island offering assistance to homeowners still rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy.

"I've had more weather disasters during my tenure of three and half years than my father had in twelve years as governor of the state of New York," Cuomo said.

Responding to disasters is arguably where the governor shines. Lately, however, he has been under scrutiny for something he'd like people to forget: possible interference in a corruption investigation.

Last week, the New York Times detailed instances in which Cuomo's top Aide Larry Schwartz ordered prosecutors on the anti-corruption Moreland Commission to pull back subpoenas.

On Monday, one of the co-chairs of that commission, William Fitzpatrick, denied there was any interference.

Two days later, Cuomo was asked why the other two co-chairs haven't publicly backed up that claim.

"Well, that's up to them, you know. I'm sure that if they had a different opinion, you would have heard from them, because he was basically the spokesperson for the commission all through it. He is the senior co-chair," Cuomo said.

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson was also a member of the commission, and defended it's work Wednesday.

"I think it was one of the most rewarding things I did. I think that the members of the commission are really honest and fair people—that everything they did was done on the merits. We made some differences. Could we have made more? Obviously," Johnson said.

In another sign of support, upstate Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney became one of the few public officials to stick up for the governor.

"Listen, I have to tell you—my experience with Governor Cuomo is he has been one of the strongest voices for ethics reform and he has been fighting for a more ethical Albany since the day he took office. And he has made a lot of progress," Maloney said.

For the second time this week, Cuomo was asked about a possible trip to the state of Israel. While the governor has not committed to a trip, he did indicate that discussions are underway about taking one soon.

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