Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cuomo Getting Beaten Up By National Press

Laura Nahmias on Cuomo's press strategy around the Moreland mess:

The way the Moreland story took hold nationally following the bombshell Times piece may be of particular concern to Cuomo because the bad press fills something of a vacuum—while the governor is unusually energetic in his attempts to manage local press coverage, he has rarely engaged the national media since taking office, citing a desire to stay out of presidential speculation.

He’s given a handful of interviews on major news networks, mostly in the immediate aftermath of the New York area’s two recent major storms, Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, and he gave select interviews to a few favored publications after he presided over a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011. (In January 2013, he gave an exclusive interview to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow for Gotham magazine, a glossy publication where his sister-in-law Cristina Cuomo was once the editor in chief.) But those few instances have all been situations in which Cuomo was almost assured of uncritical, if not gushing, coverage.

Facing this potentially governorship-defining scandal, Cuomo has so far stuck to the strategy, holding a press conference in Buffalo with late notice to the press, and otherwise preferring to try and influence the coverage from behind the scenes.

Mocked on The Daily Show, mocked on The Morning Joe Clown Show - not exactly the re-election rollout Cuomo wanted.

And what does Cuomo do to try and change the trajectory of the coverage?

Why, make a phonecall and attempt to influence the story behind the scenes:

After a particularly brutal ten-minute segment on "Morning Joe" on Monday, in which Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough cited the details of a dead-to-rights Times investigation to compare Cuomo unfavorably to scandal-damaged New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Cuomo called Brzezinski privately to explain his side of the story, according to the co-host.

"I spoke to Governor Cuomo—most of it was off the record—last night about this, cause he saw our conversation—our heated conversation here on the show," said Brzezinski on Tuesday morning.
She said she was not swayed by the governor's rationale for not addressing the issue more publicly.

"I'd love for him to come on," she said. "It's one thing to do a press conference really far away, and I understand, and we talked about the different reasons why he doesn't really want to do a lot of interviews right now. But I'm wondering if he should, and if it would help a lot because it does seem incredibly defensive. I even was sort of pushing back, saying don't you understand what this looks like?"

This strategy of stage-managing coverage has worked well for Cuomo in New York so far - but it surely isn't going to work well on a national stage.

Mark Halperin told his fellow clowns on The Morning Joe Clown Show on Monday that the worst part about the coverage of this story for Cuomo is that it seems the national press doesn't take him very seriously as a 2016 candidate.

Halperin's point was, if this had been Christie, the national press would have been all over it.

But Cuomo?

Pretty much chuckles and a little mockery and that's about it.

I think Halperin makes a good point there and I think there's even a bigger point to make here.

Cuomo's press strategy post-NY Times/Moreland story suggests he shouldn't be taken seriously as a White House contender.

Does Cuomo really think he's going to be able to bully a national press corps on the phone/behind the scenes the way he does with some in New York?

Didn't seem to work well with Mika Brzezinski.

She went public with it instead.

Hard to see going forward how that strategy works nationally.

Have to wonder, did Cuomo call Jon Stewart to "explain" his side of the story as well?

And if so, will Stewart mock him for that too?

Here's Comes The "Health Care Savings" From City Workers

From the NY Times:

When Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his first labor agreements with New York City unions this spring, he was sharply criticized for granting long-awaited wage increases in exchange for promises of unspecified though sizable savings on health care expenses.

Now, some of the specifics are coming into focus: City officials and union leaders say they hope to push municipal workers to use walk-in clinics more and emergency rooms less, order generic drugs more often than brand-name ones, and buy them through the mail rather than at retail pharmacies to achieve bulk discounts.

The city hopes the unions will agree to steer workers to use centralized, cheaper centers for blood tests, X-rays or M.R.I.s, rather than having those tests performed in doctors’ offices or at costly physician-owned facilities. Patients who resist could face higher copayments, while savings would be passed on to the city in lower premiums.

The cost-cutting comes with high stakes: If the city and unions are unable to save a total of $3.4 billion on health care by 2018, a mediator will be empowered to order increases in workers’ premiums to cover the shortfall, officials said.

As an added inducement, if the unions help the city exceed that goal, the first $365 million in additional savings would be distributed as lump-sum bonuses to workers, officials said. Any savings beyond that would be split evenly between the city and its employees.

The Times article notes that de Blasio did not push for city workers to pay a percentage of salary toward health care contributions - unlike in some of the other union deals made lately:

Missing from the labor contracts with teachers and other city workers that were announced beginning in May was any requirement for union members to begin contributing toward their health insurance premiums. That prompted some critics to say Mr. de Blasio was not being tough enough at the bargaining table.

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the unions representing 5,400 Long Island Rail Road employees agreed that those workers would begin paying 2 percent of their wages toward their health coverage.

But Mr. Linn said the city would gain far more by trimming health costs than by getting municipal workers to pay the same 2 percent of their wages toward their health premiums. That contribution, he said, would translate into $400 million a year.

“Look at it this way,” Mr. Linn said in an interview. “Isn’t it better to achieve savings so an employer pays $16,000 toward health coverage per worker, than to have a total cost of $20,000 per worker, with the employee contributing $2,000 of that?”

We'll see if the approach the unions took with de Blasio works or not.

The worst case scenario would be to make these cost-cutting moves, then still get stuck in 2018 with paying a percentage of salary to health care anyway.

One thing I know is, once you start paying a percentage of salary toward health care contributions, that contribution goes up every contract.

I think the LIRR union leaders were fools to have given what they gave in their contract - they ate their young on salary progression and pension payments AND they agreed to have workers pay 2% of salary toward health care.

You can bet that 2% of salary for health care will go up next contract - and every contract after that.

The municipal contracts give the city an opening to make workers pay a percentage of salary toward health care - but only if the $3.4 billion in "health care savings" isn't hit by 2018.

The Times reports the "savings" calculation will work this way:

Labor leaders and city officials began the talks on health care cuts in mid-July and are to meet again in early August, with the goal of agreeing on $400 million in health savings this year, $700 million next year, $1 billion the year after that and $1.3 billion in fiscal 2018, for a total of $3.4 billion.

Finally de Blasio labor guy Bob Linn tells the Times the de Blasio approach to health care savings is better than getting workers to pay into health care:

Mr. Linn said some critics of the administration seemed preoccupied with getting employees to pay toward their health insurance premiums, while underestimating workers’ ability to embrace cost-saving, innovative approaches to their health care.

Before joining Mr. de Blasio’s administration, Mr. Linn was a consultant who helped restructure health care services for 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, the giant health care union. He said he was using that deal, which includes central blood and imaging labs, generic drugs and mail-in prescriptions, as a model.

The city’s new agreements create strong incentives for the unions to find savings.

If the prospect of lump-sum bonuses does not do the trick and the unions fail to agree to steps that reach the savings target, then the mediator in the contract dispute with the teachers, Martin F. Scheinman, is to step in and order cost-saving measures to reach that goal. Those measures could include requiring the workers to contribute to their premiums for the first time.

Carol Kellermann, president of the Citizens Budget Commission, said the potential bonuses could be an important catalyst. 

“We haven’t tried it before,” Ms. Kellermann said. “I think it will motivate the managers of the unions. There’s nothing like getting your members a bonus.”

Mr. Linn said many New Yorkers underestimated the potential benefits of collective bargaining.
“Our approach is, how do you get people to work together and find common interests to achieve savings?” he said. 

“We’ve created a system in which labor and management have a joint incentive to achieve health savings.”

It behooves us to watch closely and see what happens here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Common Core Proponents Mount - Yet Again - A Public Relations Offensive

Politico's Stephanie Simon writes that Common Core Federal Standards proponents are putting together a new P.R. offensive:

Supporters of the Common Core academic standards have spent big this past year to persuade wavering state legislators to stick with the new guidelines for math and language arts instruction. Given the firestorm of opposition that took them by surprise, they consider it a victory that just five states, so far, have taken steps to back out.

...
But in a series of strategy sessions in recent months, top promoters of the standards have concluded they’re losing the broader public debate — and need to devise better PR.

...
So, backed with fresh funding from philanthropic supporters, including a $10.3 million grant awarded in May from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supporters are gearing up for a major reboot of the Common Core campaign.

“We’ve been fighting emotion with talking points, and it doesn’t work,” said Mike Petrilli, executive vice president of the Fordham Institute, a leading supporter of the standards. “There’s got to be a way to get more emotional with our arguments if we want to win this thing. That means we have a lot more work to do.”

Step one: Get Americans angry about the current state of public education.

To that end, expect to start hearing from frustrated college students who ended up in remedial classes even though they passed all their state tests and earned good grades in high school. “These kids should be as mad as hell” that the system failed them, Petrilli said.

Expect poignant testimonials, too, from business owners who have tried to hire kids from the local high school only to find they can’t do tasks involving basic math, such as separating out two-thirds of a pile of lumber.

Step two: Get voters excited about the prospects of change. Teachers who like the standards are going to be sharing more concrete examples of benefits they see in their classrooms. Groups representing minority students will likely be more vocal, too. The National Council of La Raza, for instance, is promoting a new video featuring a little girl who credits the standards with teaching her the word “whimsical.”

And there will be a whole lot more from the pro-Common Core side on social media, including Pinterest pages full of student work. A coming Twitter blitz will aim to stir up buzz for a new video that tracks a debate between four people who at first seem to want very different things from their schools — but end up discovering they all support the standards. The video, produced by an Arizona coalition, doesn’t once mention the well-worn talking points “academic rigor” or “international benchmarks.”

“The Common Core message so far has been a head message. We’ve done a good job talking about facts and figures. But we need to move 18 inches south and start talking about a heart message,” said Wes Farno, executive director of the Higher State Standards Partnership, a coalition supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

In short, expect lots of emotional manipulation in the coming wave of corporate-funded pro-CCSS ads and social media blitz.

The ironic thing is, we just heard two months back about how Common Core proponents were sick of losing the message war over Common Core and were devising a corporate-funded pro-CCSS ad campaign to change the trajectory of the war:
ALBANY—Critics of the Common Core in New York have been winning the debate about the controversial education standards, but now they'll face a counterattack backed by a considerable investment.

High Achievement New York, a nonprofit coalition of mostly business groups, plans to launch a roughly $500,000 phone and digital advertising campaign over the next several weeks in an attempt to promote the controversial curriculum standards.

...

While most of the coalition members are business groups, including several chambers of commerce, the membership also includes advocacy groups that have been vocal in supporting the Common Core and other education reforms, including Educators4Excellence and StudentsFirstNY. The latter has been a major supporter of charter schools.

A spokesman for High Achievement New York would not disclose information about the nonprofit's finances. The spokesman said the bulk of the funding will be grants from philanthropic organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Helmsley Charitable Trust. The group has applied for grants and expects to receive them.
 
Guess the localized ad offensive in New York didn't take, eh?

Judging by the latest Siena poll released last week in which 49% of New Yorkers said they want to see Common Core implementation ended, that pro-CCSS ad blitz did not take.
 
So now it's on to a national ad campaign and social media blitz, one aimed at the "heart" and not the "head" (i.e., one meant to manipulate heart strings.)

I dunno, pro-CCSS groups have a lot of corporate backing and thus a lot of money to throw around.
But I think the messaging war has already been lost long ago.

CCSS proponents were arrogant from the start, they imposed the standards with little input or say from the public, they tried to marginalize critics as "kooks" and "tinfoil hatters" rather than admit to any problems with the Core or the ancillary reforms that came with it, and they never responded well to charges that a coterie of wealthy business interests and individuals were the primary backers and proponents of the CCSS reforms.

Now Common Core supporters think they can win back the hearts, if not the minds, of Americans through an ad campaign and social media blitz funded by the very coterie of wealthy business interests critics and opponents have pointed out were behind the CCSS reform agenda in the first place?

Good luck with that.

I'm not saying manipulation and propaganda can't win a message war.

But they have to be deployed early enough, often enough and skillfully enough, and to be honest, Common Core proponents and supporters didn't do any of those things.

War's over, folks.

You could see that clearly in the response to Glenn Beck's anti-CCSS national townhall last week as well as how quickly even blue states like New York have turned against the Core.

Christine Quinn Looks For Commissionership In Second Cuomo Term

You just can't keep a corrupt politician down:

Astute political watchers noticed when former mayoral candidate Christine Quinn attended a recent women’s press conference at City Hall in support of Gov. Cuomo’s candidate for Lt. Governor, Kathy Hochul.

Quinn has been keeping a low profile since her primary loss to Bill de Blasio, who was able to carry the gay vote even though Quinn is an out and proud lesbian.

Sources say the former city council speaker is expecting a commissionership from Cuomo if, as expected, he is re-elected. But she has avoided campaigning in the gay community, where some activists still hold a grudge against her for not pushing the gay agenda hard enough.

What exactly would Christine Quinn do for Andrew Cuomo that he would give her a commissionership in his second term?

Connections to the crooks in real estate?

Cuomo's already got that.

Help in the gay comunity?

Cuomo already has high numbers in the gay community as a consequence of his pushing marriage equality - plus many in the gay community despise Chris Quinn, as the Post piece notes.

I get that Cuomo likes to surround himself with crooks and liars like Quinn, hatchet people who will do his bidding and are beholden to him.

So maybe that's what Cuomo gets out of hiring Quinn for his administration.

She'll fit right in with so many others there.

In any case, it would be nice if Quinn just went back to the rock she's been hiding under since the election and give new, fresh crooks a chance at politics.

Hey, maybe that's what Quinn can do for Andy?

You know, find him hiding places.

Because it seems after re-emerging yesterday to declare the Moreland Commission a "phenomenal success!", he went back into hiding today:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and the New York City “area” today with no public schedule. 
That must be it - Quinn will be hired for a second Cuomo administration and bring fresh ideas for places Sheriff Andy can hide in.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Moreland Mess: The Parade Of The Browbeaten

Michael Powell on Twitter:


And indeed, that's what we got today from former Moreland Commission members as well - a coordinated PR effort, starting with a long statement released by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick:

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick released a lengthy statement on Monday insisting the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption made decisions independent of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, though he confirmed a top aide to the governor sought input on the panel.

In the same four-page statement released on his office’s letterhead, Fitzpatrick said the commission “was not an independent prosecutorial agency” that couldn’t make arrests or convene grand juries.

...

The statement from Fitzpatrick today comes as Cuomo is due to appear in Buffalo this morning to make an unrelated economic-development announcement.

Then Cuomo made his long-awaited statements about Moreland this morning that - lo and behold - referenced Fitzpatrick's :


Throughout the back-and-forth with Buffalo and limited Albany media, Cuomo stuck to his guns and didn’t waver from his stance that the commission was a success and that there wasn’t interference from his office; rather, conversations and dialogue were just that.

“The Moreland Commission was a phenomenal success,” Cuomo said. “It generated all sorts of interest in the behavior of the Legislature. It brought all sorts of cases that have actually come to fruition. And it was, I believe the stimulus to get the ethics reform passed that we got passed. And the ethics reform bill is great.”

...

The governor said the panel accomplished what it was set out to do: help devise new stronger ethics laws.

Cuomo said the commission took guidance from many people, held hearings and spoke to the Senate, Assembly and Executive Chamber.

“No one ever said they shouldn’t be talking to people or get advice or consultation from people. They should be independent,” he said. “And the co-chair today says, ‘I was 100 percent independent. I made the decisions. Did I talk to people? Or course I talked to people. It would be unintelligent not to talk to people. But I made all the decisions.’”

Earlier Monday morning, commission Co-Chair William Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, sent out a three-page statement defending the commission, his role in the commission and the governor’s handling of the commission.

Cuomo said the best example of independence was Fitzpatrick deciding to send a subpoena the second floor did not want the commission to send. The New York Times detailed to a subpoena sent to an media-buying firm that initially was withdrawn at the behest of the governor’s office but later went out anyway.

But the Parade of the Browbeaten backing Cuomo up wasn't done yet:

Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen disputed reports that he threatened to resign over frustration with the governor’s office involvement with the now-defunct Moreland Commission.
Mollen said he knew that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office would have input in the panel’s direction, but he backed up statements today by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick that the commission was ultimately independent.

 “I never had any quarrel or misunderstanding that the governor and his people would provide advice, support and input on what we were doing,” Mollen said in an interview today with Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “But I also always believed that we had absolute independence to go wherever the commission wanted and the governor could not stop us if we choose to go somewhere.”

Mollen was mentioned in the New York Times investigation Wednesday that he was among district attorneys that threatened to resign over the intervention of Cuomo’s office in seeking to direct who was issued subpoenas by the panel.

“I always had the opportunity to be heard with the commissioners and chairpersons,” Mollen said. “I always had the opportunity to express my viewpoint. Sometimes it was accepted, sometimes it was not. But I never came to a point where I said, ‘Look it, we’re going to do this or else I’m going to resign or we should resign.’”

The Parade of the Browbeaten continued later in Rockland County:


Last week, Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe declined comment on the role Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office played in the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption’s now-defunct investigation, citing an ongoing probe by the U.S. Attorney’s office into the commission’s abrupt shutdown.

On Monday, Zugibe apparently changed his mind.

Hours after Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly addressed claims in a lengthy New York Times investigation published last week, Zugibe issued a three-paragraph statement denying he ever threatened to resign from the Moreland Commission. The Times reported Zugibe, a Democrat who was one of the panel’s 25 members, had discussed leaving the Moreland Commission amid frustrations caused by Cuomo’s office’s interference with its work.

“At no time during my tenure with the Commission did I ever threaten to resign from the Moreland Commission,” Zugibe said in the statement. “This blue ribbon group under the guidance of the co-chairs did incredible work, recommending substantive policy changes and pursuing investigations that would strengthen ethical standards and provide comprehensive oversight. I am proud of the work we accomplished through this landmark effort to practice and promote the highest standards of ethical behavior in New York State government.”

Zugibe’s statement mirrors comments Monday from Broome County District Attorney Gerald Mollen, who also said he never threatened to quit the Moreland Commission. (The Times’ story doesn’t say the commissioners “threatened” to quit the Moreland Commission, but rather “discussed” it.)

The statement strikes a different tone than comments Zugibe gave to Gannett’s Albany Bureau earlier this year.

In May, Zugibe was critical of the package of laws Cuomo agreed to in exchange for disbanding the commission a month prior. Those laws included tougher bribery penalties and a more-independent office to investigate election-law violations, but didn’t include several recommendations of the Moreland Commission—including the closing of a loophole allowing individuals and companies to flout campaign-contribution limits by opening multiple limited liability companies.

“I cannot fathom when the governor sent over the recommended legislation, why would they negotiate out the LLC loophole or the limitations on the housekeeping accounts?” Zugibe said in May. “Did their constituents want that? Of course not. It was self-preservation.”

And then the parade finished up in Erie County:

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita in a statement on Monday said no one, to his knowledge, threatened to quit the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption over concerns of gubernatorial involvement.

Sedita, in his statement, said the commission wouldn’t stand for any interference from the governor’s office and resignation was discussed as possibility.
But after the governor’s office agreed to not interfere with the work of the panel, the resignation talk stopped.
“In the summer of 2013, rumors began to circulate that members of the Governor’s Office sought to veto the issuance of subpoenas for those with political ties to him,” Sedita said. “Although we recognized our statutory duty to regularly report to the Governor and to the Attorney General, we would not stand for any interference, and discussed a number of options, including resignation. The Governor’s Office, through our commission chairs, agreed not to interfere with our work. No one, to my knowledge, threatened to resign.”

Why was Cuomo MIA for five days after the NY Times published their Moreland story?

He was putting together the Parade of the Browbeaten, that's why.

You have to wonder just what he's got on these people that they're tying themselves into pretzels to back him up.

Whatever it is, it must be really good - or bad, depending upon your perspective.

Unless of course this was all coincidence and these men decided to make these statements today, on the very same day Cuomo was surfacing to defend himself, because some strange alignment in the universe we don't yet understand compelled them to do so:


Yeah, that must be it.

In any case, who doesn't love a parade?

Cuomo Says Moreland Commission Was "A Phenomenal Success"

Matthew Hamilton at Capitol Confidential:

Throughout the back-and-forth with Buffalo and limited Albany media, Cuomo stuck to his guns and didn’t waver from his stance that the commission was a success and that there wasn’t interference from his office; rather, conversations and dialogue were just that.

“The Moreland Commission was a phenomenal success,” Cuomo said. “It generated all sorts of interest in the behavior of the Legislature. It brought all sorts of cases that have actually come to fruition. And it was, I believe the stimulus to get the ethics reform passed that we got passed. And the ethics reform bill is great.”

...

The governor said the panel accomplished what it was set out to do: help devise new stronger ethics laws.

Cuomo said the commission took guidance from many people, held hearings and spoke to the Senate, Assembly and Executive Chamber.

“No one ever said they shouldn’t be talking to people or get advice or consultation from people. They should be independent,” he said. “And the co-chair today says, ‘I was 100 percent independent. I made the decisions. Did I talk to people? Or course I talked to people. It would be unintelligent not to talk to people. But I made all the decisions.’”

Earlier Monday morning, commission Co-Chair William Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, sent out a three-page statement defending the commission, his role in the commission and the governor’s handling of the commission.

Cuomo said the best example of independence was Fitzpatrick deciding to send a subpoena the second floor did not want the commission to send. The New York Times detailed to a subpoena sent to an media-buying firm that initially was withdrawn at the behest of the governor’s office but later went out anyway.

Various Twitter commentators pointed out problems with Cuomo's statements today:





Short of it is, Cuomo made sure there is no video of the back and forth with reporters over Moreland, so he doesn't have to worry about this showing up on the evening news.

And we remain with a scandal that involves no hookers, no bridge closures, and no state troopers being used for political payback.

Thus, Cuomo hopes the political waters are muddied enough that this doesn't hurt him much politically in November.

Of course, none of that matters to US Attorney Preet Bharara and what he's looking at in his investigation.

And as was pointed out:

I think that's where this is right now.

Cuomo muddying the political waters as best he can but unable to do much about the criminal justice side of things.

Cuomo Says He Disappeared To Finish His Book

Here's Governor Cuomo explaining why he has been MIA for seven straight days, five of those coming after the NY Times/Moreland expose:



Here's the video:




There you have it.

NY Post: Cuomo "Paralyzed" And "Humiliated" By Moreland Mess

Fred Dicker in his Monday column:

Gov. Cuomo’s reputation has been severely damaged and his chances of running for president destroyed by revelations that he interfered with the Moreland Commission’s efforts to probe political corruption, influential Democrats have told The Post.

The Democrats, who called the disclosures in last week’s New York Times “a political game changer” and a “Cuomo nightmare,’’ said the scandal would also provide the first real boost to the campaign of Cuomo’s long-shot Republican rival, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

...

Insiders described Cuomo as “humiliated’’ and “paralyzed’’ and unable to develop a strategy to respond.

“If Cuomo had a good argument to make he’d make it, but he doesn’t know what to do,’’ said a source close to the governor.

Ken Lovett reports that the Jon Stewart Daily Show "takedown" of Cuomo has been the most "devastating" hit he's taken politically:

Of the slew of bad coverage Cuomo suffered last week after the Times story hit, none may have been more devastating than his takedown by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show."

Stewart, in his lead segment Thursday, listed a host of recent Albany corruption scandals and then ran numerous videos of Cuomo vowing to clean up Albany, his creation of the commission to do so, and then his disbanding of it.

Stewart focused on Cuomo’s original vow that the body would be independent before more recently saying that the panel couldn’t realistically look into him because he appointed it.

“I really hope there’s nothing to this because New York’s governors have two halls — Shame and Fame," Stewart quipped. “One of them is very crowded.”

A source close to Cuomo admitted the jibe from Stewart — a reliable liberal — hurt.

"Having it on Stewart's show takes it from being just a discussion among the political chattering class to the general public nationally," acknowledged the source. "Stewart's audience is the type of people (Cuomo) needs."

Until last week, Cuomo frequently touted the state's turnaround by noting that state government is no longer the target of late-night comedians as it had been under scandal-scarred predecessors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson.

Cuomo has been out of the public eye for seven straight days now, though this on tap for today:

As expected, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be at the University at Buffalo South Campus in Buffalo to make an economic development announcement at 10 a.m.

It will be interesting to see what statements he makes about the NY Times/Moreland story and if he takes questions from the press.

I don't think he can make an appearance in public and not address the story in some way, so I would expect him to make some kind of statement about the mess.

But I also don't think he's going to want to subject himself to a feeding frenzy of press questions over Moreland, so I'm betting that there may be one or two questions from the press that he takes after his statement at most, then he'll be off to some "pressing engagement" elsewhere.

If Fred Dicker has it right, that means returning to his darkened room and brooding in private over how to handle this "nightmare."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Andrew Cuomo Held Hostage: Day Seven

It's been seven days since Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has been seen in in public, five days since the NY Times published its expose on Cuomo's Moreland Commission machinations:
For all out there wondering when the governor might finally resurface post-Times/Moreland story, this news broke this morning:


Key word for the Cuomo appearance is that it's "tentatively" scheduled.

There has been some conjecture on Twitter on when the UB appearance was first scheduled and whether it's still on or not.

One thing we know is, whether Cuomo makes an appearance at UB tomorrow or shows up somewhere else, that appearance will be tightly controlled and press access limited.

Cuomo already has the rep of making sure nothing gets asked that he doesn't want asked at his public appearances.

You can bet post-Times/Moreland that he will double down on that tight control.

After staying out of sight for seven straight days, what Cuomo most wants is to make an appearance and get the "In Hiding" and "Cuomo Held Hostage" memes off the Internet.

But he wants to do this while making sure he has to answer nothing of substance at whatever public appearance he makes.

Campbell Brown Uses A Paid Organizer Of StudentsFirstNY As The Face Of Her Tenure/Seniority Lawsuit

From the Daily News:

Seven families will file suit Monday to end teacher tenure in the fiercest attack yet on job protections enjoyed by New York State educators.
The families, including five from some of the most impoverished communities in the city, claim their children were underserved in school due to incompetent teachers who only kept their jobs because of tenure rules that violate kids’ constitutional right to a sound, basic education.
The lawsuit will be filed in Albany and is backed by the politically connected journalist-turned-education advocate, Campbell Brown.
“There’s no reason why my kids should not be reading on grade level. The law should be changed,” said Nina Doster, 33, of South Ozone Park, Queens. The mother of five is a plaintiff in the suit and also a paid organizer for the StudentsFirstNY advocacy group.
“Every child should be subject to the best education and teaching in every classroom,” she said.

One of the plaintiffs is on the StudentsFirstNY payroll as an organizer?

Doesn't that set up at least the appearance of a conflict of interest in the case?

I mean, this parent is part of a lawsuit that is financially backed by the same financial interests that back StudentsFirstNY.

In any case, Brown's lawsuit here in New York is going to have a rougher road than the Vergara lawsuit in California.

But observers say it will take much more than just education horror stories to win the case.
Brown “has to prove inequity, inadequacy and causation — that the different legal constellation in New York causes the learning issues that we see throughout the state,” said David Bloomfield an education professor at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

Are teacher tenure and seniority rules the reasons why Ms. Doster's kids are not reading on grade level?

And do teacher tenure and seniority rules lead to systemic problems around the state that cause learning issues like this?

That's what Brown and her cohort have to prove.

To my mind, that they're using a paid organizer for StudentsFirstNY as one of the faces of that lawsuit to prove that says a lot about the legitimacy of the lawsuit.

Ironically, the former head of StudentsFirstNY was Micah Lasher, Mayor Bloomberg's former liason in Albany.

So now what we have here is a woman who works for an organization that was led by Michah Lasher, a Bloomberg crony, suing over teacher tenure and seniority rules in the NYC school system that supposedly caused her children learning problems while Michael Bloomberg was running the system and Michah Lasher was pushing his agenda in Albany.

To make matters worse, we don't know who Campbell Brown's donors are and she refuses to reveal the list, but it is thought that the education reform-friendly Bloomberg may have donated to her cause, as he has donated to StudentsFirst, the parent group of StudentsFirstNY in the past.

I dunno, I'm not a lawyer but it seems to me there are all kinds of conflict of interest problems with that part of the suit.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Cuomo's Independence Party Shenanigans

Two NY Post reports that make you wonder what deals Governor Cuomo made for the Independence Party ballot line.

First:

ALBANY — Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino refused to give a top Independence Party leader a patronage job in exchange for the party’s ballot line, he claimed Friday.

Gov. Cuomo’s anti-corruption panel had conducted a preliminary probe of accusations that Westchester Independence Party chairman Giulio Cavallo was trading jobs for endorsements.
Astorino, a Republican now running for governor, says he was told in 2009 that he’d have to find a job for Cavallo if he wanted his party’s endorsement.

“Chairman Cavallo demanded that I give him a job with benefits after the 2009 election,” Astorino told The Post. “I had been told by multiple sources that Mr. Cavallo has a history of shaking down public officials for no-show jobs. I refused to hire him, and the Independence Party dropped its support of me right there and then.”

And:

A political dissident who asked Gov. Cuomo’s anti-corruption panel to look into a top Independence Party official thinks the way things turned out just stinks.

Two months after Tom Reddy’s last interview with an investigator, the commission closed for business — and soon after Cuomo won the Independence Party ballot line.

“They were looking into it. The next thing you know, the Moreland Commission was disbanded and Cuomo gets the Independence Party endorsement,” said Reddy, a former West­ches­ter detective.

In a letter to the panel and Cuomo last August, Reddy pleaded for an investigation of Westchester Independence Party leader Giulio Cavallo.

“Mr. Cavallo has been boasting for years about his ability to squeeze elected officials for patronage jobs in exchange for the IP party line,” Reddy wrote.

He also claimed Cavallo personally benefited by holding down a number of government jobs “for which he has done no work.”

Initially, Reddy said the Moreland Commission panel took his charges seriously.

He said he was contacted by chief investigator Robert Addolorado in December 2013 and again in January 2014.

In March, the commission was disbanded.

In May, the Independence Party endorsed Cuomo for re-election.

“It was amazing, we didn’t hear anything [back]. Now the commission is defunct,” Reddy said.

A commission source confirmed it was looking into no-show patronage scams to determine if people got phony full-time or part-time jobs to qualify for state pension and health benefits.

“There were multiple targets,” the source said.

Records show Cavallo has held several state jobs. From 1999 to 2005 he was a “project coordinator” for the state Health Department with a salary of $87,366. From 2005 to 2009, he served as a “community aide” on the payroll of the state Senate making about $50,000 a year. From 2009 to the present, Cavallo was a “special health adviser” to the state Senate, making about $57,000 a year.
His workplace in Manhattan is at 250 Broadway, across from City Hall.

But a former employee in that same office said she has never seen him and doesn’t know who he is.
“I have never heard of this fellow. This fellow’s name does not ring a bell with me at all,” said Judith Stupp, former downstate coordinator for Senate Republicans.

Cavallo claims the second story was planted by the Astorino campaign to make both the Independence Party and Cuomo look bad.

I have no doubt that's true.

Nonetheless that doesn't take away the impact of both stories - Astorino says he was shaken down for the Independence Party ballot line in the past and Cuomo received the Independence Party ballot line this time around after the Moreland Commission, which was looking into possible corruption of Independence Party officials, was disbanded.

As Arsenio Hall used to say back in the day - "Things that make you go 'Hmmmm...'"

Steve Kornacki: Cuomo Re-Election Is Immaterial, What Matters Is What Happens Legally

Steve Kornacki at MSNBC talking to Blake Zeff, Salon Politics Editor, and Peter Henning, Wayne State Law Professor and former federal prosecutor, about the Cuomo/Moreland scandal:

With a federal prosecutor involved now in looking around, it almost becomes immaterial whether he survives and by what margin this fall politically because the big question here is whether something is going to happen legally, whether that's an actual case that is pursued or just a damning or scathing report or something along those lines. So this is very much a "To Be Continued" story that we'll have to keep a close eye on.

With Cuomo MIA for a fourth straight day after the NY Times published their Moreland piece, perhaps this is what Sheriff Andy is brooding over in whatever darkened room he now inhabits.

Cuomo Meddled With His Other Commissions And Panels Too

Michael Grunwald reports in TIME Magazine that the Moreland Commission tackling public corruption is not the first time Andrew Cuomo has meddled in one of his panels:

Before New York Governor Andrew Cuomo set up a supposedly independent commission to investigate political corruption in Albany—a commission he later shut down after it began poking around his own operations, a commission that is now causing him serious political headaches that could become legal headaches—he set up a supposedly independent commission to investigate the state’s electric utilities.

Mark Green, Cuomo’s fellow Democrat and onetime political opponent, says he was surprised when Cuomo tapped him to serve on the utility commission in November 2012. He says he was less surprised when Cuomo’s aides quickly began pushing the commission to propose privatizing the dysfunctional Long Island Power Authority, which was still struggling to get the lights back on after Superstorm Sandy. Several sources confirm the governor’s office pressured the commission to issue a report recommending privatization less than two months after its creation, and that Green threatened to resign when a Cuomo press release incorrectly suggested the recommendation had been unanimous.

“Independent?” Green said. “They tried to ram privatization down our throats. I told them I wasn’t going to be a fig leaf for Andrew.”

A spokesperson for Cuomo declined to comment.

Similarly one of the members of Cuomo's Common Core panel, teacher Todd Hathaway, revealed how the governor's staff had a pre-set outcome for the findings of the panel and wanted all members of the body to agree to them:

Teacher Todd Hathaway already exposed the shamery around the panel when he reported that panel heads were not interested in any dissenting views from what they had already decided would be in the preliminary report:

Todd Hathaway, a teacher at East Aora High School and a member of the Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Common Core panel, ripped the process today after the panel released its report last night.

The recommendations include what Cuomo wanted: holding students harmless for the tougher exams, but not a three-year moratorium on using the tests to evaluate teachers.

 ...

Hathaway said, “The report – and the process that produced it—is incomplete. the report was released suddenly, even as final comments were still being solicited. I had indicated the likelihood I would dissent and not allow the report to be spun as ‘consensus.’” Nevertheless, the report was issued with my name attached. I am very concerned that the report tries to make it seem like all the discussion had been completed.”

Here’s the rest of his statement:

“In fact, the Executive Office repeatedly ignored my concerns and the legitimate concerns of others about inappropriate state testing, the misuse of invalid tests for evaluations and the lack of transparency in state testing. The result is that some of the report’s conclusions and suggestions do not hold up to scrutiny. I wouldn’t accept this kind of work from my students and I don’t accept it here.”

“The failure to address testing and evaluation issues in a comprehensive way suggests the dynamics of the classroom will not change. The report seems to blame everybody else for the problems of the Common Core learning standards without adequately addressing the appropriateness of some of the standards and the testing that goes with it. This report should have addressed serious deficiencies in state testing. It should have discussed the lack of transparency in tests; the lack of diagnostic and prescriptive worth to teachers; the unacceptable delays in returning scores to school districts and the insanity of pretending there is validity to teacher ratings that are derived from student scores widely acknowledged to be invalid.”

“Finally, this panel should have recognized the need to pause in the use of assessments for high-stakes decisions for students and teachers. This would have allowed the State Education Department, as well as school districts, to refine the tests and testing materials; teachers to engage in the standards and develop a variety of lessons to meet them instead of just relying on modules; parents to understand the role and utility of data in education; and for teachers to receive the necessary professional development. Implementing massive curriculum changes do not just happen overnight. They take time. I fully support a delay in the use of tests in high-stakes decisions for students and teachers, but that issue was never fully explored. You can’t put students first if you put their teachers last.”


The games Cuomo played with the Moreland Commission are the same games he played with the LIPA Commission and the Common Core panel.

Cuomo uses these commissions as political cover to get something he wants through, then rigs the panels and commissions so that it all ends up the way he wants.

The difference between the LIPA Commission and the CCSS panel and the Moreland Commission is, Cuomo was screwing around with potential criminality when he dealt away the Moreland Commission in order to get some minor league ethics reforms in the budget agreement.

With the other two panels, he was simply rigging a process and engaging in political gamesmanship, not dealing away criminal investigations in some quid pro quo budget deal.

That's why Preet Bharara wasn't going to look into the LIPA Commission or the CCSS panel process, but he is looking into just what Cuomo engineered in the Moreland mess.

Perhaps Cuomo, emboldened by four years of successfully manipulating these commissions and panels to get the outcomes he wanted, thought nobody would blink at his Moreland machinations either.

If so, Cuomo was wrong about that.

Friday, July 25, 2014

When Does Governor Cuomo Surface?

It's been five days since Governor Cuomo appeared in public, three days since the now infamous NY Times/Moreland story revealed the extent of his administration's tampering into the Moreland Commission.

Capital Confidential puts all this in context:



The Astorino campaign has had some fun with Cuomo's disappearance:



Where is Andrew? from Rob Astorino on Vimeo.

I've had some fun on Twitter with this as well:


Despite being whereabouts unknown, Cuomo hasn't completely gone silent - he's sent out more press releases than you'd ever want to read:


Clearly Cuomo wants to send out the impression that all is well in Cuomoland, that he remains in command doing stuff even as he remains out of the public eye.

Quite frankly, I think it sends the opposite message, that he's desperate to change the subject all the while keeping out of sight to avoid having to answer any questions about Wednesday's Times/Moreland story.

In any case, he can't remain out of sight forever.

It's the summer, yes, so he's got some cover for staying hidden for now, but eventually he's got to come out of hiding.

I mean, even Mark Sanford came off the old Appalachian Trail eventually.

So, let's put the question out there:

When do you think Cuomo finally reappears in public?

And when do you think he finally takes questions about Moreland (since reappearing in public doesn't guarantee he takes questions.)

I'm betting he reappears riding his motorcycle with Billy Joel, then pulls a Reagan and makes believe he can't hear the press questions over the sounds of the motorcycle engines.

What say you out there?

When do we see Governor Cuomo in public again?

Microsoft Lays Off 18,000 Employees Based Not On Performance Or Worth To The Company, But By Algorithm

The people going after teacher tenure and seniority protections always claim that they want these gone so that when layoffs come, teachers can be retained based upon performance and value, not time with the district.

But according to one former employee, Microsoft - the company founded by one of the major opponents to teacher protections, Bill Gates - just let 18,000 people go randomly:

At the end of last week, Microsoft laid off 18,000 employees — some were laid off in a terribly insensitive memo written by Microsoft executive, Stephen Elop.

One of those fired employees was Jerry Berg, who worked at the company for 15 years as a software developer. Berg or “Barnacules” is also the creator of a popular YouTube channel, “Nergasm.” On Sunday, he took to YouTube to explain the devastating layoff and what losing Microsoft’s very comprehensive insurance plan means to his autistic son.

 ...

Berg stated, that the layoffs did not appear to be based on performance or worth to the company, and he jokingly speculates that an algorithm may have had a role.
“Somehow, some algorithm put me on a list, and that was the end of it,” Berg explained. “I’d like to think that I was probably laid off by a computer. A computer put me on a list for whatever reason and sent me packing.”

Berg says that some who were laid off were "people I know have personally saved the Windows project countless times" - nonetheless, out they went, with a severance package and key card access revoked as of Sunday.

Berg says his severance package was generous and will give him a few months to transition to new work but

That's very little consolation when you think about how many years you put into that company.  And it's one thing if you're a bad performer. If you're a bad performer and you're not doing much for the company, that's one thing. But I had a unique set of skills that I had honed over the years. I know a lot of the systems, a lot of the infrastructure, I've made myself a place, I've made myself a permanent fixture at Microsoft and somehow some algorithm just put me on a list and that was the end of it. Nobody went and looked at my track record, nobody went and looked at my performance, nobody went and figured out, 'Wait a second, this guy could be an asset elsewhere in the company, we should move him!" It was just easier for them to cut everybody that was on the list.

Think about all of this the next time you hear Gates or any of the other prominent corporate reformers talk about how important it is that districts be given the ability to lay off based upon "performance."

You can see Berg's full You Tube video below:

The Close Ties Between Christie And Cuomo

Zach Fink has more on the close ties between Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo in his State of Politics piece exploring why Christie, as head of the Republican Governors Association, may not be helping GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino against Governor Cuomo in this year's election:

Finally, there is the Cuomo-Christie connection. Astorino raised this on Tuesday, suggesting Cuomo may have helped Christie keep a lid on the Bridgegate scandal by remaining quiet and even claiming he knew nothing about it weeks after his handpicked Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye indentified the lane closures on the Fort Lee side of the GWB as a possible violation of law.  There are other connections between the two neighboring Governors as well. One of Christie’s top political strategists Mike DuHaime is an Partner at Mercury public affairs. Mike McKeon is also an Partner at Mercury, where he once headed up “Republicans for Cuomo” in 2010. McKeon also helped spearhead a “conversation” with Republicans for Governor Cuomo at the Harvard Club earlier this year.

So, the two Governors, who are known to talk frequently on the phone, do have some connections. After being snubbed by Christie in such a heavy-handed and mean-spirited way, it stands to reason that Astorino will no longer be reluctant to point those out going forward.

Last week I posted how Cuomo and Christie used Christie's Port Authority cronies - the same ones involved in Bridgegate - for some political gamesmanship around Port Authority bridge/tunnel toll hikes and a PATH fare increase.

That's another connection the two have - playing games with the Port Authority that are mutually beneficial for them politically.

Zack Fink makes pretty clear in his State of Politics piece that Christie has thrown support to some "lost causes" as head of the RGA, so whatever the reason Christie won't help Astorino now, it has nothing much to do with Astorino being down 37 points.

The more you learn about the ties between Christie and Cuomo, the more you have to think they're helping each other out.

What If There's No Legal Jeopardy For Cuomo In The Moreland Mess?

Nick Reisman writes "Three Reasons Why Moreland Won't Stick, And Why It Might."

He notes that the scandal is an insider baseball one, without hookers or indictments in the executive (at least so far), and the latest Siena poll shows "corruption" way down the list of public concerns in 2014.

He also notes that it's not clear if Cuomo administration tampering into the Moreland Commission constituted any law-breaking.

And he points out how, despite Cuomo opponents Rob Astorino and Zephyr Teachout jumping all over this mid-summer scandal news, Cuomo continues to have an overwhelming advantage in the election - he has $35 million in his campaign accounts and a 37 point lead over his GOP opponent, Astorino.

As of now the odds are that Cuomo, while sullied by the scandal, will not end up perp-walked to jail or lose his re-election bid.

But that doesn't mean Cuomo has not been hurt badly by the scandal:

If the odds hold and Cuomo is re-elected, he will likely face a vastly altered landscape in Albany come 2015. Republicans — including lawmakers he’s very closely with in the state Senate — may be out of power. An emboldened Democratic majority that has much to owe to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio could be in place, and the moderate governor may have to alter his calculations when it comes to what he can get accomplished in term two. Lawmakers in Albany have an increasingly short end of the stick when it comes to leverage and budget-making in recent years. The Moreland Commission morass could be the first, tangible diminution of power for Cuomo at the Capitol.

And that's my feeling about all of this right now.

I of course hope Larry Schwartz and Andrew Cuomo are both indicted by Preet Bharara on corruption, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges.

I am not holding my breath that will happen.

I of course hope Cuomo loses to Zephyr Teachout in the Democratic Primary.

I am not holding my breath that will happen.

I think Cuomo will be re-elected governor in November, but will face a second term where he will be diminished in power and diminished in stature.

The kind of stuff he pulled in the first term, like the Eva Moskowitz Budget of 2014, is less likely to happen in the second term because Cuomo's mojo will be gone, his Senate Republican and IDC allies are likely to be out of power and all the people that he screwed with during the first term are going to look to get even with him the second term.

That's the thing about governing with an iron fist.

It works only so long as you have an iron fist.


With Cuomo's iron fist diminished by Moreland - with him now a national punchline courtesy of Jon Stewart, with him forced into hiding so that he can avoid press questions about Moreland, with his ability to talk "ethics" or create any other commissions permanently altered by what happened with Moreland - he cannot govern in a second term the way he did in his first term.

I'd rather him thrown from office and perp-walked to prison, of course.

Nothing would be more deserving for Sheriff Andy.

But if the worst case scenario is, Cuomo is diminished in power and stature for a second term and the legislature is emboldened to push back on him, well, that's still not too bad.

Governor Cuomo Remains In Hiding For A Third Straight Day (UPDATED - 10:00 AM)

State of Politics:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City, with nothing public planned.

When will the governor face the public and explain himself on the Moreland/NY Times story?

He kept out of sight yesterday too, instead issuing press release after press release about everything in the world except Moreland.

Is he going to stay hidden for the rest of the summer, then re-emerge in September and claim the Moreland mess is old news, he's focused on the "now"!

Is he hoping people are just going to forget about the whole thing and leave him alone?

Is he in denial about the whole thing?

I don't know what the idea behind Cuomo's strategy for dealing with this is, but he's only going to be able to remain hidden for so long before he becomes a national punchline, much like his beloved Common Core.

You know, the "tough as nails" governor who can dish it out but can't take it.

The sheriff who rode into Albany to "clean up" the cesspool but made things much, much worse.

And no matter what he does about the public and the press, one person who will not be deterred by games is the US Attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara.

Bharara sent that message to Sheriff Andy yesterday.

So stay hidden all you want, Andy - you'll have to surface eventually and deal with the heat and if you've got legal problems because of your Moreland conduct, hiding at Billy Joel's house isn't going to save you.

UPDATED - 10:00 AM: Turns out Governor Cuomo is already a national punchline, courtesy of Jon Stewart:
The questions surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration's alleged meddling in a corruption probe has officially become a late-night punchline.

Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" took on Cuomo's role in its lead segment Thursday, where host Jon Stewart roasted Cuomo's marked shift on the independence of the Moreland Commission, which he created last year with the broad charge to investigate public corruption in New York.

Stewart played a clip of an interview with Cuomo at the beginning of the probe, saying the commission had the ability to look at his or anyone else's operations. He contrasted that with Cuomo's office's more-recent comments to The New York Times -- that the panel couldn't have investigated him because of conflict-of-interest concerns.

"You know that's (expletive) ridiculous, right?," Stewart asked. "You know the I-made-it, I-can-do-what-I-want-with-it excuse only works for George Lucas, right?""

More from Stewart:

"It turns out Gov. Cuomo may be like the boss at work that says, 'Yeah, no, we'll play hoops at lunch. You can go hard.' And then when Jimmy from accounting blocks his shot and drives the lane, he's like, 'Hey, you're not allowed to touch the ball because I started the game.'"

 And it also turns out that Cuomo's already arguing that the Moreland Times story is "old news":

Rather than taking questions on the report, the Cuomo administration points to a 13-page response it wrote to the Times. Officials also claim many of the facts in the story had already been reported by other outlets, making it old news. 

 That didn't take long.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Cuomo Remains In Hiding After NY Times Moreland Story

Governor Cuomo was supposed to appear at a fundraiser last night:


But after the NY Times ran their Moreland tampering story, this happened:


State of Politics reported the following in their morning update:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule. (This changed late last night, he was supposed to be in NYC).

Cuomo's been sending out all kinds of announcements about everything other than Moreland, as shown by this Colin Campbell tweet:


But there have been no personal appearances by the governor, no chance that he'll face the press and take any questions about Moreland in the near term.

I sent the following tweets to him after another one of his announcements:




When does he finally emerge and face public scrutiny?

It's an election year, so he can't remain hidden forever.

Though I bet he'd like to do just that.

Bharara Reiterates He's Taking Moreland Investigations Wherever The Evidence Leads

This sounds like a reply from US Attorney Preet Bharara to Governor Cuomo's thinly-veiled message to Bharara that was in the Times yesterday, the 13 page "response" to the Times story about Cuomo's Moreland tampering in which Cuomo restated that he couldn't tamper with what was already his:

ALBANY -- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara vowed that he has the “fearlessness and independence” needed to investigate Albany corruption as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is accused of interfering with his own corruption commission.

“If other people aren’t going to do it, then we’re going to do it,” Bharara said on the PBS’ program “Charlie Rose."

“Our interest above all other interests is to make sure that the job is getting done, because we are the people who do our jobs,” Bharara said. The comments came after The New York Times reported several incidents of involvement in the corruption commission by Cuomo and his top aide. 
...
“We asked for and received -- we were voluntarily offered -- all the documents that have been collected by the commission so the work could continue," Bharara said. "Because if other people aren’t going to do it, then we’re going to do it. That’s our main mission.”
“We have the documents and we have the resources and we have the wherewithal and we have. I think, the kind of fearlessness and independence that is required to do difficult public corruption cases,” he said.

In short, Bharara will not be deterred by Cuomo's argument that there was no Moreland tampering because the governor cannot tamper with his own commission.