- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The New York Times on Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Moreland Commission.

July 29

Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally took public questions on Monday about a scorching report in The Times last week that revealed how his aides had interfered with ethics investigators in Albany.

The governor’s delayed press briefing was a defiant attempt to defend himself against politically damaging evidence of his conduct. Once again, Mr. Cuomo has changed his story about the way he created, handled and then suddenly disbanded the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

When Mr. Cuomo appointed the commission last year, he promised commissioners they would be “totally independent.” They could investigate anybody in state government, even him, he said. Then, as The Times reported, his top aide tried to head off investigations that touched on the governor’s own interests. The aide, Lawrence Schwartz, told some investigators that the governor was off-limits and their job was to go after legislators.

Mr. Cuomo abruptly shut down the commission in March, and in April argued that because he had created it, “it is mine. It is controlled by me.”

Now, he’s trying to sell New Yorkers another unconvincing spin. At a press briefing in Buffalo on Monday, he said that his administration had merely offered “advice” to commissioners and investigators. “Independence doesn’t mean you get holed up in an ivory tower and you don’t talk to anyone,” he said.

The investigators who had to respond to the governor’s pressure almost certainly did not view the directives of his aides as optional.

On Monday, he made a preposterous claim that the commission’s work was “a phenomenal success” when, in fact, the commission was shut down halfway through its term and had not concluded its investigations.

Preet Bharara, United States attorney in Manhattan, has taken over the commission’s inquiries. Any truly independent investigation of corrupt practices in Albany will now depend on Mr. Bharara’s work. What is truly disturbing is that Mr. Cuomo now wants to deny interfering with the commission while claiming that its job was done.

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Online:

http://nyti.ms/1qL8Mlz

The Albany Times union on state tax breaks for the entertainment industry.

July 29

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