Bharara’s convictions of Silver and Skelos — two of the three most powerful figures in New York — has led to speculation about his own political future and whether he is targeting the state’s other most powerful leader in New York: Cuomo, the Democratic governor.Bharara’s office is still believed to be investigating Cuomo and his staff’s role in the demise of — and the potential tampering with — a corruption-busting panel that Cuomo empaneled in 2012 but shuttered a year later.Bharara earlier this month didn’t let Cuomo off the hook when asked directly whether Cuomo is next on his list. He has criticized Cuomo’s decision to disband the Moreland Commission, but Cuomo has defended the move.“I’m not going to talk about any investigations that we have open. We have lots of investigations open,” Bharara said on WNYC radio. “I think that people like to talk about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”...
“Everybody in Albany that I talk to, Democrat and Republican, all the speculation is where does he go next? Is the governor on the target list?” said Assemblyman Bill Nojay, R-Pittsford.
Bharara’s convictions have led to a new round of calls for ethics reform at the Capitol, and Bharara himself has joined the chorus of those clamoring for change.In the WNYC interview Dec. 14, Bharara talked about the entrenchment of long-serving leaders, such as Silver who was the speaker for more than 20 years. He also mentioned the problem of lawmakers having outside income and the difficulty of trying to recoup their pensions after they are convicted; the pensions are protected by the state Constitution.“He’s going to turn out to be a major historical figure in New York,” Blair Horner, the longtime legislative director for the New York Public Interest Research Group. “He may end up single-handedly changing Albany’s political climate.”Whether Silver and Skelos, who are planning to appeal, are the capstone to Bharara’s corruption crusade or a precursor to more cases remains to be seen.Bharara’s “stay tuned” line — which he also used in his first Twitter message Dec. 10 — seems to be part joke, part warning.As he said on the radio: “The first line of defense against bad conduct is the institution itself. And it seems they are doing a pretty poor job of self policing.”
With subpoenas going out to both state entities and Cuomo donors involved in the Buffalo Billion Project bidding process, I think the Buffalo Billion and Cuomo donor probe is the bigger problem for the Cuomo administration over the Moreland closure.
Something to watch for as they start the new legislative session in Albany.