ALBANY—The administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo has refused to release details about the governor's political fund-raising, stating more than six months after Capital requested records under the Freedom of Information Law that it considers anything not posted on his pre-edited public schedule to be "exempt" from public disclosure.
Cuomo's prodigious fund-raising has netted nearly $45 million since he was elected in 2010, and has drawn scrutiny this electoral season from Republicans and Democrats alike. Capital requested schedule records that would have offered details on Cuomo's Hollywood junket in late January as well as another event in Albany last September.
The administration delayed for four months, before closing the request without stating a justification. Only when Capital's attorneys began contacting Cuomo's aides did the administration offer a reason for withholding the documents—that they are simply drafts meant for internal use. The aides then waited several more months before denying the request.
An independent arbiter, the state's Committee on Open Government, last week gave an opinion last week that the administration was beyond its rights in denying Capital's request. Now, a Cuomo spokesman says the records will be released "in the coming days."
Vielkind goes on to write that the Capital NY experience in trying to get the records of Cuomo's Hollywood junket is not an "isolated experience," that Cuomo "has repeatedly delayed or denied requests for information from journalists and advocates."
Cuomo's starting a press tour today as PR rollout for his book.
It would be nice if somebody in the press would ask him about his lack of transparency on camera while he tries to talk about his book.
Same goes for all the meddling he does in his supposedly independent commissions and panels.
Probably not going to happen, but if it does, I bet he won't react well - as seems to have happened at an off-the-record dinner with some Times journalists:
In February, Governor Andrew Cuomo and others from his office had dinner at a restaurant in Midtown with several New York Times journalists: Albany bureau chief Susanne Craig, Albany reporter Thomas Kaplan and deputy metro editor David Halbfinger.
It was meant to be the type of off-the-record bread-breaking that politicians are known to have with the people who cover them—except at some point things went sideways. Before the meal concluded, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting, Cuomo became visibly angry, raised his voice and stormed out of the restaurant.
Melissa DeRosa, a spokeswoman for Cuomo, disputed this characterization while confirming that the dinner took place.
"We cannot discuss this as we respect the rules of off the record conversations," she said.
While it's unclear why exactly the dinner went south, the governor has publicly acknowledged his rocky relationship with the Times, most recently in an interview with the Times itself, pegged to the release of his memoir, All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life, on shelves tomorrow via HarperCollins.
I suspect it will be all niceties on camera, but it sure would be nice to get Cuomo to have a ferret moment if somebody presses him on something he doesn't want to answer.
Last thing I would note here.
Does Andrew Cuomo really think he can run for president with this insane need for control he exhibits?