Former aide to disgraced Governor Spitzer, Lloyd Constantine, says it's to cover up his role in the investigation of Troopergate and hide his misuse of government aircraft as both HUD secretary and when he was working for his father, Governor Mario Cuomo:
Troopergate — which many would like to forget, foremost my former boss, Eliot Spitzer, and the current governor as well — will continue to haunt us all. I was Spitzer's senior adviser and one of five senior lawyers conscripted to represent the governor and the Executive Chamber in the many Troopergate investigations in 2007 and 2008.
Troopergate began July 1, 2007, when this newspaper reported that then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno had been using state aircraft for travel to meetings and events whose purpose was primarily personal and political. Almost as soon as Cuomo heeded Spitzer's call to investigate Bruno, the tables turned. Cuomo was also investigating whether the governor and his aides had improperly enlisted the State Police in spying on Bruno.
In a sloppy three-week rush to judgment and race for press primacy over competing investigations being conducted by Albany County District Attorney David Soares and then-Inspector General Kris Hamann, Cuomo's Troopergate report superficially addressed the Spitzer administration's sins and ignored and whitewashed Bruno's blatant misuse of the state fleet.
On the Bruno side of Cuomo's probe, neither the majority leader, nor anyone else was questioned under oath. No documents were subpoenaed. Cuomo exonerated Bruno, concluding that if a day of private and political events included any amount of time when Bruno arguably was doing the state's work, the massively expensive use of the state's airplanes was lawful.
The omissions and superficiality of the Cuomo Troopergate probe and the resulting lack of confidence in its findings spawned eight additional Troopergate investigations by Soares, the inspector general, the Senate's Investigation Committee, the State Investigation Commission and two now-defunct state commissions for ethics and public integrity.
The reason for the whitewash was obvious. Any finding of state aircraft misuse by Bruno would have instantly evoked comparison with far more serious and pervasive patterns of misuse by both Gov. Mario Cuomo and allegedly by Andrew himself when he was secretary of housing and urban development.
"Air Cuomo" was the name given to the reports and records showing that during just four of Mario Cuomo's twelve years as governor, Cuomo family members (including Andrew) took 729 trips on the state's aircraft. After leaving office, he reimbursed the state $29,000 for a small number of these trips.
During the planning stages of Andrew Cuomo's unsuccessful bid to become governor in 2002, he flew on the federal taxpayers' tab to New York 24 times, purportedly on HUD business. During that same period, Andrew Cuomo visited no other state within his jurisdiction more than four times, not even California with twice the population and housing of New York.
Cuomo has been quite successful at hiding his corruption and right now he's getting help from the current attorney general, Eric Scheniderman, on hiding his role in the Troopergate investigation.
But this is the kind of stuff that will come out eventually, no matter how Cuomo tries to hide it.
This is especially so if he tries to run for president in 2016.
Light will be shone on his entire political career and he'll have to be really adept at hiding this stuff from opposition researchers in other campaigns.