New York Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo is under severe pressure from critics to resign following his alleged meddling in the report of anti-corruption panel he established last year. The Moreland Commission, according to reports by the New York Times, had commenced investigation into alleged public corruption perpetrated by political firms hired by Cuomo, and other major donors to the governor’s 2013 political campaign.
Preet Bharara, Manhattan-based US Attorney is reportedly leading federal investigators to probe involvement of Cuomo and top officials from his office in their meddling with the outcome of the commission’s report. Opponents including Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo’s potential rival in the gubernatorial primary are at the vanguard of calls for his resignation if revelation about the interference proved to be true. “If Governor Andrew Cuomo directed or even knew that his top aide was obstructing and interfering with the Moreland Commission, he should immediately resign,” Teachout said.
Also on Cuomo-Must-Go campaign is an affiliate of Nation Good Government group, Common Cause New York which said in a statement that “the people of New York….should be deeply disturbed by the report’s well documented pattern of interference.” The group urged Cuomo’s administration to ensure that the anti-corruption commission’s recommendations are enacted fully without delay.
Executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund, David Donnelly reacting to the allegation said “The only way for him and the rest of the people in Albany to bring back their reputation is to pass small-donor public financing.” Donnelly added that Cuomo has “zero credibility on the issue of money in politics.” His group is a leading and active advocate of push for legislation in favor of reforms in campaign financing.
Lawrence Lessig, professor of law at Harvard, and campaign finance reform advocate was quoted as saying that “If the charge is true, then Cuomo should go: as quickly as (former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer) did, for the hypocrisy here is worse, and so the party can get on electing its next governor….hopefully this time, the one honestly focused on reform.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo’s office has issued a response to the allegation in a 13-page rebuttal, citing a number of reasons including the fact the report fell short of saying the truth, especially for believing in the independence status of the commission. According to the defense, the governor has at inception of the commission indicated his willingness to be open for probe when necessary. The commission was disbanded in March 2014 by Cuomo following passage of legislations believed to fall short of the commission’s recommendations including the enactment of a small-donor public financing system.
David Donnelly somewhat share similar sentiments with most analysts on his summarization of the alleged Cuomo administration’s intervention in the report, saying, “This is a system wide corruption in Albany, You could replace Cuomo tomorrow and you’d still have rot in Albany.”