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?