Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, December 7, 2015

Cuomo Was Either Lying Then Or He's Lying Now

Casey Seiler of the Times Union on Andrew Cuomo's post Shelly Silver-conviction defense of his Moreland Commission shutdown:

To restate: Of the three people who brought about the panel's abrupt finish, Cuomo is the only one who remains unprosecuted by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

So when he decided to do a Q&A with reporters the day after the Silver verdict came down, the governor should have been able to see a question about the commission coming from far off, like a thunderhead on the prairie.

"The Moreland Commission did do its job," Cuomo said Tuesday at the Apollo Theater.
If he had stopped there, he would have been fine. That line sort of conjures up the complementary images of investigators hard at work or, for the more imaginative listener, a soldier in a World War II combat film who falls on a grenade so his platoon can take out a German pillbox.

The governor, alas, did not stop there.

"The Moreland Commission was not an investigative, prosecutorial commission," he continued. "That commission was to spur — to educate the public, to spur the Legislature to pass ethics laws, which they did."

That description directly contradicts several things, including the fact that the panel was named "The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption," and that 10 of its 25 members were sitting district attorneys.

It also belies a 30-second TV ad that Cuomo released two weeks after launching the commission in July 2013 — the first TV spot in his re-election campaign.

Its now-quaint title: "How We Are Cleaning Up Albany."

"Trust is everything to me," the governor says straight into the camera. "That's why, for all we've accomplished to fix state government, our job's not done until we've cleaned up the legislative corruption in Albany. So I am appointing a new independent commission, led by top law enforcement officials from all across this great state, to investigate and prosecute wrongdoing."

The precise words the governor would deny 17 months later appear as text: "Investigate and prosecute wrongdoing."

Cuomo reappears on screen, looking resolute. "Politicians in Albany won't like it, but I work for the people."

There are only two possible explanations for these contradictions: The governor was not telling the truth then, or he is not telling the truth now. He should figure out which is which, and let the people know.

Given that an unnamed "state official" with some weird verbal tics gave an "extended interview" to the Buffalo News, along with providing "dozens of documents" to defend the administration against allegations that the Buffalo Billion Project bidding process was rigged for Cuomo's donors, it seems someone on the second floor of the Capitol is worried about where US Attorney Preet Bharara is going next in his corruption investigations now that he's got a conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on seven corruption counts and will soon have a conviction on former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

That person with the anxiety over Preet's next move ought to be worried because there is much smoke around the Andy Cuomo donor thing, something the Moreland Commission was about to look into until the governor's secretary at the time told them to "pull back" a subpoena going out to the governor's donors.

That Cuomo can so transparently lie about the Moreland Commission now shows you just how desperate he is feeling over all of this.

Again, maybe nothing happens here and the US attorney never finds enough to go after the governor (or decides he doesn't want to go after the governor at all.)

But Cuomo's actions these days suggest otherwise and show a politician clearly worried that something bad is coming down the pike for him legally and he needs to get some defense on the record now.

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