Criticisms of the governor's compromised ethics commission are overblown, according to a flurry of statements released by members of the commission who clearly felt the cold barrel of Cuomo's "overwhelming success" against their necks. The governor's transparent attempt to twist the ugly reality portrayed in last week's Times report has now angered the federal prosecutor who's investigating the commission.
In a letter obtained by the Times, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara isn't buying the idea that these commissioners are independently speaking up to defend the commission they privately excoriated to the Times.
“We have reason to believe a number of commissioners recently have been contacted about the commission’s work, and some commissioners have been asked to issue public statements characterizing events and facts regarding the commission’s operation," the letter states.
Bharara then warns Cuomo that “To the extent anyone attempts to influence or tamper with a witness’s recollection of events relevant to our investigation…we must consider whether such actions constitute obstruction of justice or tampering with witnesses that violate federal law.”
To give you an idea of where our mayor stands on this mess, here's what Bill de Blasio said about the Moreland Commission scandal when he was asked about it at a press conference yesterday:
I haven’t focused on the Moreland Commission. It’s not something I know a lot about. I can tell you something about Andrew Cuomo. I’ve known him for almost twenty years. I think he is a person of high integrity. When I started working with him for the first time at HUD. We were dealing with unfortunately an agency that was well known for being very inefficient and unfortunately it had many instances of corruption within. I think he did an extraordinary job of helping cleanup HUD. Even Republican members of the Congress believed that HUD had gone through real reform. And so I think he has a long and impressive history of being an agent of reform.