We interrupt this crazy tour of Mayor de Blasio's record collection to look at a self-inflicted headache that the governor has dealt himself.
By bargaining away his anti-corruption commission during budget negotiations, Gov. Cuomo has incurred the wrath of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who went public last week complaining in a letter and to WNYC's Brian Lehrer of Cuomo's decision.
It was disbanded before its time," Bharara said of the demise of Cuomo's Moreland commission. "Nine months may be the proper and natural gestation period for a child, but in our experience not the amount of time necessary for a public corruption prosecution to mature."
Bharara's pointed comments are a puncture of Cuomo's armor at a time when the governor is gearing up for battle in his re-election campaign against likely Republican nominee Rob Astorino. And there's no way for Cuomo to fire back at the U.S. attorney because unlike most of New York's other players, Bharara is largely immune to Cuomo's powers and operates in a different political theater. He is Kryptonite to Albany's Superman.
The tough words also cement into place beliefs by some of the governor's critics that he was giving lip service to fighting for campaign finance reform and against public corruption but then actually doing little about it. Flawed as it was – and hardly immune to the governor's meddling -- Cuomo's Moreland Commission was busy doing its work, looking at a wide array of wheeling and dealing by state lawmakers. It seems wildly premature to declare that the group's work is done.
Cuomo may have to swallow his pride and come up with another solution to at least give the appearance that his anti-corruption crusade is continuing. While he has the power to make Rob Astorino disappear in November, Cuomo may have met his match in the form of an angry U.S. attorney.