New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's Toxic Reign
New York State is in the grip of massive corruption. The Cuomo family is implicated in many scandals over the past decade, including the 2014 shutdown of the Moreland Commission, a public corruption watchdog panel he himself set up, but closed once members got too close to Governor Andrew Cuomo's own fraud and deceit. Sure, there will be many investigations now in NY State to find out all of Cuomo's bad acts, but this effort can be seen as digging up a giant tree....you must also get all the roots under the ground, too.
From the Editor:
New York State is in the grip of massive corruption. The Cuomo family is implicated in many scandals over the past decade, including the 2014 shutdown of the Moreland Commission, a public corruption watchdog panel he himself set up, but closed once members got too close to Governor Andrew Cuomo's own fraud and deceit.
Sure, there will be many investigations now in NY State to find out all of Cuomo's bad acts, but this effort can be seen as digging up a giant tree....you must also get all the roots under the ground, too.
Read this current article in New York Magazine March 12, 2021:
Abuse and Power Andrew Cuomo’s governorship has been defined by cruelty that disguised chronic mismanagement.
Why was that celebrated for so long?
ALBANY, NY (WRGB) — The Albany County District Attorney’s Office says it is aware of reports Governor Andrew Cuomo unlawfully got family and friends COVID-19 tests at the height of the pandemic, but right now law enforcement officials tell CBS 6 because no one has formally reported the alleged abuse to local authorities, they can't move forward and are urging witnesses to report what they know. As of Tuesday afternoon, sources who spoke to newspaper reporters had not reported the information to Albany County authorities.
“Today we are calling on him to launch that investigation.”
New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy publicly called on Albany County District Attorney David Soares to investigate Cuomo after a new report from the Washington Post, further detailing allegations Cuomo used the state police to drop-off COVID-19 tests to family members in the beginning months of the pandemic in 2020, when hospitals and nursing homes couldn’t get them because of short supply.
“They couldn’t get the tests for employees or patients, yet the governor was providing valet service for VIPs and members of his family,” Langworthy said.
New York Senate GOP Leader Rob Ortt has already called on the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics to investigate the testing scandal.
MORE: Governor Cuomo accused of showing favoritism to family with COVID testing
“This is a clear violation of the public officer's laws,” Ortt said.
Ortt likened the scandal to filling up your friend's car with gas on your company's dime, but more serious considering the resource in question could have saved lives.
“He used state resources to deliver tests to a specific group of people, whose only eligibility for those tests was their relationship to the governor,” Ortt said.
In response to our inquiry on the scandal, a spokesman for the governor wrote, "There was no 'VIP' program as the Washington Post describes -- when priority was given, it was to nurses, guardsmen, state workers and other government officials central to the pandemic response...it's absurd and offensive that blind sources are twisting and distorting the facts."
“Like so many other scandals they don’t really deny it. What makes Chris Cuomo special? CNN couldn’t get him a test?” Ortt said.
Democratic New York lawmaker Phil Steck (D-Colonie) sits on the committee heading the Cuomo impeachment investigation.
MORE: Times Union reports governor, others got priority COVID-19 testing
“I do think there is politicization on the Republican side. I think the GOP is a party that as a whole favors the wealthy and the connected, so my opinion is this is our governor not being a Democrat,” Steck said.
While he believes it's politicized, Steck agrees the testing scandal should be investigated.
“His family is one thing but when you’re going out of your way to help the wealthy and well-connected that shouldn’t sit well with the average New Yorker,” Steck said.
Steck tells CBS 6 he believes the impeachment investigation will also look into the testing scandal but says the committee has not convened to formally make that decision. Spokespersons for the Albany County DA's office and JCOPE said they can't comment.
Flashback: NY Gov. Cuomo disbands his own ethics watchdog commission
Cuomo disbanded his own anti-corruption panel, the Moreland Commission, in 2014
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo drew calls for his resignation or impeachment this week after damaging new details emerged about the state’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in nursing homes and subsequent withholding of vital information on the death toll – with even Democratic critics calling for greater transparency from the governor’s office.
It’s not the first ethics scandal to rock Cuomo’s long tenure in office.
Back in April 2014, Cuomo drew criticism after disbanding the so-called Moreland Commission, a public corruption watchdog panel that he had set up just months earlier.
The 25-member commission, made up of a number of New York prosecutors, was looking primarily into political corruption and campaign finance violations for nine months, from July 2013 until Cuomo shut it down, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
The abrupt end was part of a deal with state lawmakers that led to the creation of new ethics rules in Albany, the state capital.
But the shutdown came before the commission had completed its investigations into numerous lawmakers, and Cuomo was accused of interfering with its work and looking out for his political allies.
The New York Times in July 2014 reported that Cuomo’s office had "hobbled" the commission’s efforts and that Cuomo’s then-secretary to the governor, Lawrence Schwartz, allegedly told members to back off of its probe into an advertising firm that counted the governor among its clients.
Cuomo’s current secretary to the governor, Melissa DeRosa, was named in a bombshell New York Post report Thursday about a leaked conference call with top state Democrats regarding the administration’s controversial handling of the coronavirus pandemic at nursing homes.
On Friday, DeRosa addressed the call.
"I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request [about data on the nursing home crisis] to deal with the federal request first," she said. "As I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked. But we are committed to being better partners going forward as we share the same goal of keeping New Yorkers as healthy as possible during the pandemic."
Back in 2014, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara seized the commission’s paperwork and picked up where it left off after Cuomo shut it down, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Bharara secured convictions of two major state political figures: former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, and former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican.
Bharara had also conducted a nearly two-year investigation into the Cuomo administration’s handling of the commission but gave up after finding "insufficient evidence to prove a federal crime."
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