Monday, July 28, 2014

Cuomo to be in Buffalo today, as ex-Moreland Commission figure testifies before a federal grand jury

Andrew Cuomo's obstruction of the Moreland Commission : a moment of truth for New York's political reporters

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. this morning at the University of Buffalo, his first public appearance since a damning article in The New York Times last week accused the governor of directing criminal investigations away from his political allies. The governor's appearance is timed to overshadow the Grand Jury testimony of Heather Green, who was the assistant to the former Executive Director of the now-defunct Moreland Commission, Regina Calcaterra.

To further establish Gov. Cuomo's obstruction of the Moreland Commission's investigations, will the media examine allegations of corruption by Cuomo allies : the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the Partnership for New York City (PFNYC), and the now-shuttered Committee to Save New York (CSNY) ?

If Gov. Cuomo truly obstructed the corruption investigations by the Moreland Commission, what were his motivations ?

By all accounts, the media has reported that Gov. Cuomo was acting to hide the questionable fundraising and other activities of his big money campaign contributors and other political supporters -- people, who had business before the state. If true, the actions of Cuomo administration officials to carry out Gov. Cuomo's obstructive orders will undoubtedly become the focus of some of today's Grand Jury testimony.

What light can Health Green show on Cuomo administration officials' backchannel communications with Ms. Calcaterra, the former Moreland Commission executive director, who was Gov. Cuomo's plant on the investigative panel ?

Whose pay-to-play activities were the governor trying to hide ?

So far, we know that the Cuomo administration was sensitive to the activities of REBNY, the Extell Development Company, the campaign commercial-related firm Buying Time, and the Committee to Save New York (and its funders) from coming under scrutiny. As the press looks for angles to keep alive this complicated story of obstruction of justice, will the press have the guts to further investigate the apparent pay-to-play implications of the questionable fundraising and other activities of Gov. Cuomo's big money campaign contributors ?

We know how whistleblowers have had to deal with intimidation and retaliation from the Cuomo administration. How do intimidation and retaliation of the press factor into allegations of obstruction ?

In a roundtable of reporters on last Friday's Inside City Hall on NY1, Senior editor for Politics and Policy at WNYC Radio, Andrea Bernstein, spoke about the hostility that reporters must put up with from Cuomo administration officials over criticisms in the press. Will reporters back down under the Cuomo's retaliatory mode in the fallout of the Moreland Commission scandal, or will reporters find the courage to finally report the whole truth about the years of pay-to-play corruption in New York State politics ? Stay tuned.


Cuomo’s Office Hobbled Ethics Inquiries by Moreland Commission (The New York Times)

Cuomo should shoulder blame for defunct anti-corruption panel, say irate commission members (The New York Daily News)

Cuomo, Astorino to Be in Western New York as Fallout from Corruption Report Continues (Time Warner Cable News)

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