William Hochul, Jr. is the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York. He is also the husband of Kathy Hochul, the Lt. Governor and Andrew Cuomo’s 2014 running mate. Last year, during the gubernatorial campaign, the US Attorney was criticized for not pursing a series of public corruption cases that exposed shocking conflicts of interest.
In recent months, he has been recusing himself from cases involving local political operatives.
A source close to the US Attorney tells me that he “fully expects” his wife to become the next Governor of New York, likely by the end of the year.
Cuomo is currently under investigation by the FBI and the State Attorney General’s office. Political operatives expect Cuomo to be pushed out of office under federal indictment later this year, and are wondering if Mrs. Hochul will have the staying power, tact, and political skills to build a governing coalition that secures her reelection.
Western New Yorkers from both parties have an extraordinary interest in ensuring that — when or if Hochul indeed becomes Governor — that her tenure is long and her political standing is formidable.
Some problems with this story:
First, it's sourcing is thin - "political operatives expect..." and "a source close to the US Attorney..." leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
Who's the source close to the US Attorney? Someone who works with the US Attorney or the barista who serves him his morning coffee?
I realize Fred Dicker of the Post does the same thing in his Monday columns, but Dicker's been an Albany figure for decades, so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt there. Matthew Ricchiazzi, who runs the political blog The Buffalo Chronicle, is a 29 year old politician wanna-be who tried to run for mayor of Buffalo in 2009 before the Board of Elections rejected his petition to get on the ballot.
Maybe his sources are as good as Dicker's (or not as good - some people think at times Fred Dicker uses himself as a source!), but whatever the case, I'm not ready to put a lot of faith in them.
Second problem, Ricchiazzi been accused of misquoting people and "reckless reporting" in the past.
That doesn't exactly inspire confidence in me about this report.
Finally, Matthew Ricchiazzi, has his own notoriety in the news this year - for a DWI charge.
So while I enjoy the surfacing of the rumor that Cuomo is to be indicted by the feds before the end of the year, I'm not ready to ride the Buffalo Chronicle report any further than "rumor."
It does bear watching, however.
The NY Post had a leak from what seems to be the US Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York urging Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos to "deal" now that former majority leader Malcolm Smith got a seven year prison sentence for his corruption conviction.
The pattern out of Bharara's office has been a series of leaks every few months that sets up the next bombshell arrest - it started with the Silver leaks in 2014, continued with Silver's arrest the day after Cuomo's state of the state/budget address in January, continued again with leaks about Skelos right after the Silver arrest, continued with Skelos's arrest after the budget was completed in March.
We have now gotten at least one more leak about Silver and Skelos needing to "deal" if they don't want to go away to prison for a long, long time.
Unless I'm way off the mark, that's part of the Preet Pattern and we may just get some more interesting leaks before all is said and done - but I'm pretty sure the Buffalo Chronicle isn't going to be the recipient of them.