Monday, August 11, 2014

Voters not keeping up with Moreland scandal, and some sick reporters celebrate this as good news for Gov. Cuomo

PUBLISHED : MON, 11 AUG 2014, 12:21 PM
UPDATED : TUES, 12 AUG 2014, 06:40 AM

A new poll shows that 86% of voters say that corruption in government is out of control.

However, 67% of people polled claimed that they were uninformed about the federal investigation into Gov. Cuomo's obstruction of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, perhaps the state's biggest corruption scandal of the last decade.

Many high profile political reporters keep defending Gov. Cuomo's obstruction of justice. Others predict that Gov. Cuomo will easily win reelection -- all, in contradiction to the legal realities of a federal criminal investigation into the apparent coordinated activities of the Cuomo administration that may add up to obstruction of justice charges, or worse. With a wayward press, it should come as no surprise that voters keep reelecting corrupt incumbents.

A top incumbent party leader, like Gov. Cuomo, oversees a state-wide army of elected officials, their staff, permanent government insiders, and other political operatives to work in orchestrated efforts to deceive the press, and, by extension, the voters.

The bias in the media favoring Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reelection is becoming more and more apparent, as the legal and political risks of a federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office into the Cuomo administration's obstruction of the Moreland Commission shows no sign of ending. Yesterday, former Missouri state Sen. Jeff Smith wrote in Politico that federal prosecutors are seeking Gov. Cuomo's scalp, in stark contrast to many high-profile press reports that predict no legal ramifications for the corrupt governor. Besides meddling in the Moreland Commission's investigation of political and campaign corruption cases, the Cuomo administration has overseen a corrupt state government that has been rocked by seemingly endless indictments of state politicians.

Mr. Smith, who himself had to serve a prison sentence in connection with charges of obstruction of justice for an underlying campaign finance violation, has courageously provided a public service to voters by speaking truthfully about the complexities of federal criminal law. Before Mr. Smith's editorial, many of New York's political bloggers have complained that voters have been being kept in the dark about Gov. Cuomo's legal and political scandals. Mr. Smith's editorial for Politico was released on the eve of a new Siena College poll showing that only a scant percent of voters are closely following the governor's Moreland scandal.

Only 11% of voters have been closely following Gov. Cuomo's Moreland Commission scandal.

That number has to radically increase by multiples, in order for voters to cast informed ballots. Will the press do its job ?

The low number of voters paying attention to Gov. Cuomo's legal and political scandals inspired Capital New York's Blake Zeff to celebrate that the Moreland scandal had done "little significant damage to Cuomo’s re-election effort." Last month, Maggie Haberman concluded that the federal investigation into the Cuomo administration "may ultimately amount to nothing." A misled public undermines the foundation of America's republican form of democratic government, which relies on its citizens to cast informed votes. This year, more and more citizens are scaling up their blogging activities, like the publisher behind the Perdido Street School blog, in order to independently inform voters by circumventing the compromised, corporate-controlled media.

Last year, the major New York City-based political reporters admitted during a post-Democratic primary forum that they had failed to scrutinise the then-presumed mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. This failure to vet for the city's electorate the eventual winner of last year's mayoral election may explain why Mayor de Blasio rapidly lost support from White voters after only a few months in office. Now, Mayor de Blasio is on the verge of seeing his last base of polling support, the minority community, turn their back on him. With Gov. Cuomo and his top aides facing the very real prospect of federal criminal indictments, will New York's political press fail voters again ?

Will Gov. Cuomo be investigated for campaign finance corruption ?

About two weeks ago, The New York Daily News reported that in preparing his legal responses to the on-going federal investigation into the Cuomo administration's reported obstruction of the Moreland commission, Gov. Cuomo had "sought advice from several lawyers." Frightened at the prospect that voters would retaliate if taxpayers had to foot the bill for Gov. Cuomo's own criminal defense attorneys, the governor indicated that his campaign committee would pay to defend Executive Branch officials in the federal investigation into the Moreland scandal. However, in his campaign committee's latest finance filing with the state's corrupt Board of Elections, only one legal invoice, in the amount of $10,000, was submitted by only one attorney, Elkan Abramowitz. What happened to the legal invoices of the "several lawyers" with whom the governor consulted ?

Many political bloggers also point out that the amount of experienced lawyering needed by Gov. Cuomo to fight back the serious charges being reportedly pursued by the U.S. Attorney's Office could not reasonably be performed for $10,000. The complexities of possible federal criminal charges range from plain witness tampering to the seriousness of obstruction of justice to, some political bloggers believe, racketeering, under which witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and now possible campaign finance violations could be added as lesser, included charges. In the past weeks, the governor has seen Heather Green, the assistant to the former executive director of the Moreland Commission, testify before a sitting Grand Jury. Larry Schwartz, the hand of the governor, has negotiated a voluntary appearance before federal prosecutors conducting the investigation into the Cuomo administration's obstruction of the Moreland Commission. And the governor was the target of a warning letter issued by federal prosecutors after one of the governor's staff members reportedly cajoled former Moreland commissioners into issuing controversial statements to possibly undermine the federal investigation. As these and other legal proceedings move forward, Gov. Cuomo faces a steady drip of embarrassing political setbacks that require the need for multiple legal consultations, research, analysis, and second opinions, given federal prosecutors' legal practice closing in around Gov. Cuomo. It's inconceivable that the cost of all of the necessary criminal defense work the governor needs right now could be done for only $10,000. Under state law, any discounts or gifts of services to campaign committees must be recorded as in-kind campaign contributions, something that wasn't reflected in the governor's last in-kind contribution schedule of his campaign committee's finance disclosure statement.


MEDIA BIAS : With shoddy legal analysis, Blake Zeff somehow concludes that Cuomo’s obstruction of Moreland acts as a prosecutorial gift to Bharara (Capital New York)

MEDIA BIAS : Besmirching U.S. Attorney as rogue cowboy, Wall Street reporters describe Bharara as "confrontational" (The Wall Street Journal)

MEDIA BIAS : Easily manipulated by Cuomo operatives, one columnist predicts that Cuomo will probably walk (The New York Daily News)

PAYING OFF MEDIA : Fending off Moreland scandal, Cuomo campaign spent more than $1.1 million on TV ads (The New York Daily News)

REAL TALK : Cuomo’s Slow-Mo Disaster : The New York governor is in deeper legal trouble than other press is willing to admit (Politico)

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