In the wake of last week's corruption scandals, Governor Andrew Cuomo says cleaning up Albany will likely be his new top priority when lawmakers return next week to finish out the legislative session. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
In a radio interview Monday that lasted more than 20 minutes, Governor Andrew Cuomo mentioned the words "New York City" eight times when speaking about the latest corruption scandals.
"It was about a New York City mayoral scandal," Cuomo said. "It was not an Albany scandal."
In the same interview, the governor cited his previous job as New York State Attorney General seven times.
"I dealt with this when I was attorney general," he said.
Between all that, Cuomo made clear that he has a new mandate for the remainder of the legislative session. As much as gun control jumped to the top of his agenda in January after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, the scandals have made stamping out corruption his new top priority.
"I also think we should now take this time to pull back the lens and broaden our reform mandate that we consider in this session," Cuomo said.
The governor had already vowed to enact campaign finance reform, but he declined to get specific about what else would be part of his agenda. More broadly, he said the electoral process and Board of Election laws are badly in need of reform.
Good government groups welcomed the opportunity to enact change.
"We need to give the attorney general the authority to investigate political corruption," said Dick Dadey of Citizens Union. "Currently, he does not. We need to change the way the Board of Elections functions in term of its oversight and enforcement authority."
The governor also downplayed a report in Monday's New York Post that he was plotting to take out State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver over the latest corruption allegations. The column, by Albany insider Fred Dicker, cited anonymous sources.
"It is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader," Cuomo said. "I would never even for a moment try to influence that decision."
It's unclear how hard Cuomo will push for a reform package, especially since it's not clear what would be in it besides campaign finance reform. Other top priorities for the governor for the remainder of this session include reducing penalties for marijuana and an ambitious women's equality agenda.