The only thing transparent about Gov. Cuomo’s administration is his obvious attempt to avoid disclosure.
Gov. Cuomo has faced criticism for his transparency record, stemming from his efforts as governor to block access to records from his tenure as governor and state attorney general. Gov. Cuomo and his administration have largely forgone the use of email for official business, instead opting to communicate by phone or via Blackberry PIN-to-PIN messages, which do not pass through a server and cannot be recovered once deleted.
Gov. Cuomo’s aides have also sought to withhold documents from his time as attorney general from public review, even removing records that had already been made public from the New York state archives. Gov. Cuomo has also appointed campaign donors and political allies to dozens of state positions.
- Elected in 2010; running for reelection in 2014
- Has gone to great lengths to avoid using e-mail for official business in order to avoid disclosure requirements
- Has appointed numerous political allies and donors to state positions and committees
In addition, Pro Publica's Justin Elliot reports Cuomo aides use private email accounts for official business to avoid FOIL requests and public scrutiny:
Adopting a tactic that has been used by officials ranging from Sarah Palin to staffers of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are sending emails from private accounts to conduct official business.
I know because I got one myself. And three other people who interact with the governor's office on policy or media matters told me they have too. None of the others wanted to be named.
The tactic appears to be another item in the toolbox of an administration that, despite Cuomo's early vows of unprecedented transparency, has become known for an obsession with secrecy. Emailing from private accounts can help officials hide communications and discussions that are supposed to be available to the public.
"Government business should never be conducted through private email accounts. Not only does it make it difficult to retrieve what is a government record, but it just invites the suspicion that a government employee is attempting to evade accountability by supervisors and the public," said Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, a frequent requester of records under the state's Freedom of Information Law.
Cuomo himself uses a Blackberry message system that does not save messages.
He runs the state government the way a savvy mobster runs a crime family - no paper trail, no email trail, no message trail - and his aides all try and avoid scrutiny through use of private email accounts.
Andrew M. Cuomo is not just one of the worst governors in the nation.
He is also one of the most corrupt.
You bet he's hiding something with all this secrecy, the messaging system that saves no messages.
I don't know if Preet Bharara intends to go after Cuomo around the Moreland Commission mess and that creates an opening to go after him on some of these other accounts.
Nor do I know if the New Jersey investigative committee looking into Christie's Bridgegate scandal plans to push into what involvement, if any, Cuomo had in that scandal.
But if any of these entities dig even a little, they will find enough smoke to indicate there's some fire there.
In any case, good to see Cuomo get named one of the "Worst Governors" in the nation.
There's an award he fully deserves.