Lee Hernandez is Morning Edition producer at WNYC.
'Independent' State Ethics Panel Perhaps Not So
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo repeatedly interfered with the commission he created to root out corruption in Albany.
An investigation by The New York Times reviewed hundreds of documents and interviewed dozens of members of the now-defunct Moreland Commission. The investigation found the governor's office urged the commission to withdraw a subpoena it had issued to an advertising firm with ties to Cuomo's 2010 gubernatorial campaign. It also showed the commission's work was bogged down by infighting and resignations.
"Subpoena after subpoena was just getting pulled back or getting blowback from the Governor's Office whenever it came close to entities that touched him," said Susanne Craig, Albany Bureau Chief for the Times.
In a statement to the Times, the governor's office defended its handling of the commission. It argued the body was created by the governor and ultimately reported to the governor, and therefore could not be accused of interfering with it.
The Moreland Commission was created last summer with great fanfare. It was abruptly disbanded in March. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have since launched an inquiry into the commission's work and its closure.