Department of Justice had to sign-off on Cuomo investigation : NYPOST
Preet Bharara’s investigation of Gov. Cuomo needed pre-approval from the Justice Department in Washington.
In today's column, Michael Goodwin of The New York Post reminded New Yorkers that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's investigation into the Cuomo administration's reported obstruction of the Moreland Commission needed to be signed-off by the Justice Department.
Mr. Bharara, who is leading the charge on a once-in-a-lifetime renewal of government integrity, testified last year before the first hearing of the Moreland Commission, a corruption-fighting panel appointed by Gov. Cuomo and deputized by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Mr. Bharara's testimony before the Moreland Commission took place one month after Kenneth Lovett of The New York Daily News reported that Gov. Cuomo's campaign committee had received $100,000 in campaign contributions from Extell Development Company in the time leading up to the governor signing into law tax breaks worth $35 million for one of the developer's projects. Eventually, Extell was reported to have contributed over $300,000 to the governor's campaign committee. These and other revelations forced the Moreland Commission to issue subpoenas to Extell and four other developers.
Even before Mr. Bharara delivered his testimony before the Moreland Commission on the evening of Sept. 17, 2013, the stage was set by journalists and Moreland commissioners, who had already begun to draw attention to Gov. Cuomo's involvement in the unscrupulous machinations that makes Albany a cesspool of corruption.
Leaving the only unanswered question : when did Mr. Bharara seek approval from upper level Department of Justice officials in Washington, DC ? Was it last September, as he walked into the Moreland Commission to make his entry of appearance, by which point it was already know that Gov. Cuomo was playing dirty, or was it only very recently, based on Gov. Cuomo's alleged witness tampering of Moreland commissioners, by which point it was already known that Gov. Cuomo was playing even dirtier ?
As Mr. Bharara proceeds full-speed ahead on completing his office's due diligence of the unfinished Moreland Commission investigations and the separate investigation into the Cuomo administration's reported obstruction of the Moreland Commission's investigations, he has the full faith and support of the Washington office of the Department of Justice, meaning that Gov. Cuomo has no friends in D.C. to whom he could possibly appeal to, in turn, tell Mr. Bharara, "Pull it back."
A government attorney should seek pre-approval if a case consists of violations of State law, but involves prosecution of significant or government individuals, which may pose special problems for the local prosecutor. (9-110.310 Considerations Prior to Seeking Indictment)