Gov. Cuomo today denied that he or his staff ordered that his anti-corruption kills several subpoenas in recent week.
But the governor was less definitive when asked by our Glenn Blain in Utica if he or his staff played a role in guiding those decisions.
The Daily News recently reported that the commission and its three co-chairs had signed off on sending subpoenas to the Cuomo-friendly Real Estate Board of New York as well as the legislative and state ethics commissions, but held off doing so on the orders of the Cuomo administration.
Sources also told the News that the commission also held back a subpoena set to go out to the Cuomo-controlled state Democratic party housekeeping committee that raised and spent millions of dollars to promote the governor’s agenda earlier this year.
Asked directly by Blain today whether he or any member of his staff told the Moreland Commission not to issue subpoenas to the Real Estate Board of New York, the state Democratic party or anyone else, Cuomo gave a flat “no.”
“Mr. Lovett asked that question to the commission itself and they said they do the subpoenas,” Cuomo said. “The co-chairs make the decision.”
When Blain pressed the issue, asking whether he or his aides played a role in guiding those decisions, Cuomo was more vague.
"You know that the Moreland Commission is staffed by people from the governor’s office and the AG's office,” Cuomo said. “We staff the commission. The co-chairs vote on what subpoenas to do and it requires a unanimous vote.
When asked again by Blain if he played any role in that process, Cuomo said only that “the co-chairs make the determination.”
It was the first time since the stories broke last week that Cuomo himself addressed the matter.
Cuomo and commission aides have said by law the panel is supposed to report to the executive branch once a week. But insiders say the discussions with the Cuomo administration have gone beyond simple briefings.
The News has previously reported that Cuomo, chief counsel Mylan Denerstein and secretary to the governor Larry Schwartz met personally with the three commission co-chairs in mid September. A separate meeting with the co-chairs involved the two Cuomo aides and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Chief of Staff Micah Lasher.
It's time for a separate investigation into what Cuomo and his aides have done to get the Moreland Commission to walk back the subpoenas to Cuomo's campaign donors.
Sheriff Andy says he wants to clean up Albany.
That's great - let's make sure we clean up the criminality and corruption in both the legislative and the executive branches.
Alas, without a public clamor, Cuomo will get away what is clearly starting to look like a cover-up of some sort, with Cuomo making sure no investigation of campaign donations gets done.