Bharara was recently admonished by a federal judge for hyping unproven charges against Silver. So it will be interesting to see whether any Skelos indictment is unveiled with less fanfare. Style questions aside, though, Bharara doesn’t seem to be letting up on his quest to shake up Albany. The prosecutor shifted into high gear last April after Governor Andrew Cuomo unplugged the Moreland Commission, which Cuomo had empaneled to probe the role of money in state government and to pressure the legislature into passing tighter ethics rules. “This is what Cuomo loosed on the world,” a state Senate operative grumbles.
The governor got some new ethics laws out of his Moreland maneuvers. But the aftermath may be more than Cuomo bargained for. With Silver toppled and Skelos under investigation, Albany is tuned in, wondering if Bharara will go after the third man in the room next.
Some of the evidence the Moreland Commission found on Sheldon Silver was used by the feds in their investigation of Silver that ended with his arrest.
The NY Times is reporting that the investigation into Skelos "grew in some measure out of the Moreland Commission, an anticorruption panel that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo created in 2013."
Cuomo knew exactly what the Moreland Commission was investigating because his hand-picked executive director of the commission was feeding information to his office, sometimes in real time.
Cuomo shut the Moreland Commission down in return for some lukewarm ethics reforms and a budget deal.
If Cuomo knew that Moreland was working on investigations into Silver and Skelos and shut the commission down anyway in order to get his budget deal, doesn't that make him part of a conspiracy to cover up crimes?
US Attorney Preet Bharara at the Silver press conference:
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said “lax outside income laws” were to blame for Silver never disclosing the illicit payments. He also noted that the deal cut between Cuomo and the legislature to shut down the Moreland Commission was a “great relief” to Silver.
“The show-me-the-money culture of Albany has been perpetuated at the very top of the political food chain,” Bharara said.
If shutting the commission down was a "great relief" to Silver, you can bet it was a "great relief" to Skelos too.
Doesn't the man who gave these two corrupt politicians that "great relief" deserve some scrutiny for those actions?
We'll have to see what Preet Bharara thinks about that.
I would bet my APPR test component rating tonight that Cuomo isn't happy that Skelos seems to be about to follow Silver into a perp walk.
And that's not even going into Cuomo's own ethical messes.
Let's not forget, his man Larry Schwartz had subpoenas to Cuomo donors "pulled back" so that the Moreland Commission couldn't investigate them.
Dunno if the feds picked up that strain of the investigation, but if they did, it will be interesting to see what they find.
It was reported yesterday that REBNY members made 10% of all donations in state level elections, and half of those donations went to just one politician - Andrew Cuomo.
We know that REBNY members received a bunch of tax breaks after donating Cuomo.
And we know that the donor that Schwartz had the subpoena "pulled back" from was REBNY.
Awful lot of smoke there.
Is there fire too?
If so, will Preet Bharara put it out?
Even if Cuomo gets into some serious legal sh*t it won't do us any good now. His evaluation law is signed, sealed, and delivered. It will not just disappear if the cuffs get slapped on him.ReplyDelete
And Cuomo got paid $700K for a book that sold 3000 copies--that scam did in one of our nations former Speakers of the House. Who owns Harper Collins? Rupert Murdoch's News Corp...where have they benefitted from NY State contracts? Cuomo is likely going down and he truly deserves to be indicted.ReplyDelete
Yes,there is that too. But I think the subpoenas that got pulled back are worse.Delete
Cuomo will not be next.ReplyDelete
Our evals won't go away.
Cuomo will be with is until at least 2018.
In 2017 he will try to destroy the TRS and isolate Tiers 1-4 and heavily modify them for the worse.
He and NYSED are learning right now. Opt out, tests not designed for teacher evaluation, parents....learning all of it. Our evals will be modified to close all of those problems for him and to maintain his goal of firing assloads of teachers.
NYSUT will continue to think that it has some kind of say and voice, but will continue to be handed bigger-than-expected defeats.
Do you think he has the political muscle for that too?
1) he can open the tiers and just isolate the teachers within the tiers.
2) NYSUT doesn't think it's a thing to worry about...which is actually good Vegas-odds that it is something to worry about.
3) I have had like 3 independent legal people who know from Albany that it is possible to isolate teachers within the tiers.
With Cuomo, if it is possible....watch out!
And then watch EVERY public employee union in NYS push for term limits ... what Cuomo "can do" and "will do" is all conjecture. You want a nuclear option? Pension reform as part of a constitutional convention (especially in light of the obvious corruption in Albany) will blow it all up. I don't think Cuomo is THAT stupid and vengeful.Delete
I agree w/ 6:52 AM anonymous. Cuomo will not have the muscle to push anything like that through. With Silver gone and Skelos going, the party leaderships will have less control over their members as well. The kind of pension changes that are talked about in an earlier comment would be very divisive and you would need to see strict party discipline to get those through + a strong popular leader to push them. I don't think we'll have either of those in the next few years.Delete
Cuomo won't be next because he didnt break the law. He doesn't have to. He exists in the margins and in loopholes. He knows everyone, has shit on everyone, and is willing to play rough. Shutting down Moreland, while awful looking, unethical, and deeply troubling was legal. It was his commission. Does anyone really think he did that without serious (evil) legal thinking behind it? It wasn't a knee jerk. Even if he did it to help out Silver, he didnt break the law. So many people associate bad behavior with illegality. Sometimes the stinkiest shit is legal. This guy's entire life has been about his advancement without having humor, intellect, humility, or compassion. Guys like that know every square inch of the law and its limits.....because they go right out to those limits.ReplyDelete
Please stop thinking that Cuomo will get indicted. Even with Silver and maybe now Skelos, there is nothing to report. Just ALOT of "wow, that guy is an asshole!" moments for the US attorney but no crime.
And our evals!?? Hahahaaha. Those aren't going anywhere. They will just be modified so the result is the same (harming teachers) but with parents being quiet, tests being "legit," and opt out rendered meaningless. Not sure of the mechanisms, but we'll see soon enough.
The man failed the bar exam four times - he's not that much a genius. He;s canny and crafty, certainly without scruples. But he's not God and he's not invincible. Nobody is - especially when they have as many enemies as he does. Might not be Preet who takes him down, but make no mistake, Cuomo will get his eventually.Delete
A solid and obvious point, I grant you: Cuomo is no genius.Delete
But he deeply entrenched to say the least.
I hope he gets his!
He's got a lot of people who want to see him get his. He has very few friends, few allies, his loyal staff has mostly left his service (other than Percoco) - he's a lot more isolated and in a tenuous situation than you think. Yes, he pushed through his ed agenda this time around - but even that can cause problems for him. He used up a lot of leftover political capital for that and what happens when the reforms turn out to be an obvious mess and sew chaos in the system? He cannot blame SED or the Regents this time around...Delete
And what's more is that even if some lawbreaking by Cuomo is uncovered by the US Attorney, that doesn't mean an automatic indictment. The lawbreaking has to be of a sufficient heft in order to provoke an indictment. This is the sitting Governor of the State of New York. This isn't some asshat assemblyman. This isn't the governor of North Dakota. New York is kind of a big deal. The US Attorney is not in the business of undermining the executive powers of the states. That's not anything he or anyone on DC want to play with. So, even if there is some lawbreaking by Cuomo (unlikely), it kind of has to be a whopper. Silver and Skelos are sort of one thing. The Governor of one of the most economically, culturally, and politically important states is orders of magnitude higher than those two.ReplyDelete
There is no evidence of the requisite whopper of illegality on Cuomo's part.
Evidence of world-class prickdom? Millions of metric tons.
Sheldon Silver, the second longest serving Assembly Speaker in the history of New York, was an "asshat assemblyman"? Because that's who went down earlier in the year.
Second point: US Attorneys don't go after sitting governors?
Tell that to the two governors in Illinois, Ryan and Blagojevich, both of whom went to prison.
It remains to be seen what happens with Skelos and his L.I. GOP senator buddies.
But don't kid yourself - Cuomo's worried:
Solid clear points again. Noted. I love this blog because it brings perspective and clarity.Delete
However, the point I was after is that A Governor from NY (with the last name Cuomo) is BIG POTATOES! From an outside looking in perspective Silver is a no name....but Gov. Cuomo! This ain't Ohio or Illinois! But your point is well taken and an important one.
Digressing but couldn't help think of you when I saw this: From Channel 11 WPIX - Yale graduate takes 8th grade common core exam. You would think he'd score a perfect score right?ReplyDelete
Thanks - will check it out!Delete
Now let's put on our memory hats - what about Governor Eliot Spitzer? Whatever happened to him? Of course, he took aim at Wall Street and is a Jew. Cuomo, of course, has neither of these attributes.ReplyDelete
Just to point out that NY can have a governor taken out.
Yes, and Paterson was taken down too. The ticket thing, along with the witness tampering, kept him from a reelection run.Delete
Please explain in detail what "opening up the tiers" means? I am in tier 4 in the 25/55. I know there is a constitutional convention coming up in 2017. Any details are MUCH appreciated!!!ReplyDelete
I'm not exactly sure what "opening up the tiers" means - presumably cutting benefits to each one separately - but if it's to happen it must take place at the constitutional convention, where the provisions protecting our pensions are to be weakened or eliminated.Delete
Opening the tiers means that in a NYS Constitutional convention, the details that make up each tier can be modified. Most have thought that by doing that you do it to every unit in that tier....police, state workers, teachers, legislators, etc. turns out that isn't true. A tier can be modified at a convention to impact just one unit....teachers for example. That's why this convention matters. Cuomo would love to screw the teachers and mess with tier1-4 just for us. It is possible. Period. Watch for it.Delete
Stop fear mongering ... AnonymousApril 17, 2015 at 6:52 AMDelete
And then watch EVERY public employee union in NYS push for term limits ... what Cuomo "can do" and "will do" is all conjecture. You want a nuclear option? Pension reform as part of a constitutional convention (especially in light of the obvious corruption in Albany) will blow it all up. I don't think Cuomo is THAT stupid and vengeful.
reality-based educatorApril 17, 2015 at 6:57 AM
I agree w/ 6:52 AM anonymous. Cuomo will not have the muscle to push anything like that through. With Silver gone and Skelos going, the party leaderships will have less control over their members as well. The kind of pension changes that are talked about in an earlier comment would be very divisive and you would need to see strict party discipline to get those through + a strong popular leader to push them. I don't think we'll have either of those in the next few years.
BAhara is a Wall Street operative his prosecution is a political act a selective act. perhaps the threat of prosecution is being used to guide the decisions of the elected officials a la j Edgar HooverReplyDelete
Yes, but he;s also out of Schumer's shop and Schumer hates Cuomo. Don't underestimate the power of personality in politics too.Delete
Capital has (super)personhood under amerikan law...Delete
And the old arguments that the legislators would never let that happen and that teachers would hit the streets....well, all that is over. Look at what happened a few weeks ago. Abandoned by most legislators and there are still tons of teachers that don't know what happened, let alone flipped shit and hit the streets. A little bit but not enough to spook spook legislators.ReplyDelete
I would hope that would be different if they went at the pensions. But I know I should never underestimate the apathy of my fellow teachers - I've seen it too often.Delete
Word. The real issue with the eval system IS NOT the eval system. It was 1) Once just the Gov., but now the entire legislature no longer thinks they need teachers' support to survive politically, and 2) Once the Gov, now the entire legislature sees that they can handle anything teachers' can toss at them from a civil disobedience point of view.Delete
They threw us an existential crisis and we really didn't do much. Period. Long term lesson learned. The eval system will fail and be replaced. The above 2 points are now permanent.
For sure, Opt-Out tossed them a monkey wrench, and a good one, but they'll deal with it. And besides, thats a parent thing that NYSUT jumped aboard real late.Delete
From my understanding a constitutional convention has to be approved via a voter referendum. Is this the case?ReplyDelete
Yes. And it is understood that there will be more than enough voter approval. Especially with Albany Corruption as of late. Thats not a hurdle. Voter approval is more of a given.Delete
That is nonsense. There has always been political corruption. There will not be a constitutional convention because it is too risky an enterprise for both the right and left; unions and politicians; business interests, etc. Voter approval is not a given by any group. This is complete fantasy.Delete
Maybe six hundred plus locals should just refuse to sit down and negotiate another APPR agreement. Local should just say--been there done that. Is the Taylor Law still in effect...just sit on the present negotiated deal on evaluation! Districts will be obligated to pay staff--and frustrated because we did not sit down with them. If Cuomo wants to hold back aid--tell the districts to "go talk to their your legislator and dictator--we've been there and done that once before!" Not doing it again!!ReplyDelete
A suggestion to many of the folks who are worried about their pensions: the more you harp about pensions the more this issue will be in the forefront of discussions on this and many other blogs. Folks, please get a grip on reality. NOTHING is a given BUT, look how the opt out movement is causing all sorts of angst with our politicos. Hey, remember ... they voted for THIS! What you will see next week is an even BIGGER opt out for the math tests. Damage control is going to be imminent but, it isn't going to make this go away. The tide is turning. Our best and ONLY hope is to awaken the sleeping giant - PARENTS! Parents want what is best for their children. Parents know that most teachers are worth their tax dollars at the end of the day. Private schools and charter schools cannot possibly educate the MASSES. This failed experiment will end (when is anyone's guess and much damage will have been done). In the meantime, PLEASE get a grip! We will persevere and get through this together. Hang on ... !ReplyDelete
I would guess that Obama pressure will spare El Cuomo. It's all rigged anyway....ReplyDelete
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