Astorino calls for criminal investigation into Cuomo administration

Posted at: 07/24/2014 12:10 PM
Updated at: 07/24/2014 5:24 PM
By: WNYT Staff

Critics and political foes are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to come clean about his involvement with the Moreland Commission.

It comes on the heels of a New York Times report that said Cuomo's administration meddled with the commission’s investigations.

NewsChannel 13 was told the governor was in Albany at the Capitol on Thursday, but he did not make himself available for this report. Instead, his spokesperson directed us to a 13 page rebuttal he gave to the New York Times about his involvement with the Moreland Commission.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s critics and political foes are calling for the governor to come out and face the music.

“I think Andrew Cuomo needs to speak out today,” said Rob Astorino -- Cuomo's Republican opponent for the November election. He expressed his thoughts on Talk 1300 radio Thursday morning.

He says a special prosecutor should be appointed for a criminal investigation into the administration.

“If nobody is investigating what state crimes were committed, then does he get off scott free on something like this,” Astorino said on the radio.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the governor's office pressured the Moreland Commission to stop subpoenas to a media-buying firm Cuomo used and The Real Estate Board of New York. The paper says members of The Real Estate Board of New York supported Cuomo’s campaign.

Critics say that is obstruction of justice. The anti-corruption commission was disbanded just months after it was created. Federal prosecutors are investigating the shutdown.

In a 13-page statement to the New York Times, Cuomo’s office didn't shy away from defending its handling of the commission.

His office said the governor created the commission and could not be accused of interfering with it.

The statement says the Moreland Commission was not independent, but early on the governor did say the commission would be independent and free to investigate anything.

“For anyone that thinks that NY has an ethics agency, get your head out of the sand and be realistic. You don't,” said former state lobbying watchdog David Grandeau. He says this is why corruption continues to blossom at the state Capitol. He says anti-corruption agencies only go as far as the powers that appointed them want them to go.

“Unless you have somebody in a position of authority that's not afraid to go where the facts lead them, you're always going to have the fiasco like you did with Moreland,” said Grandeau.

Some critics are even calling for the governor to resign. Rob Astorino says a lot of questions need to be answered here. That's why there needs to be a special prosecutor -- and let the investigation run its course.