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ALBANY -- Good-government advocate Blair Horner says Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s explanation Monday that he was simply advising his corruption commission, not interfering or steering it, falls short of what the public deserves.
“What should have been a legacy of fighting public corruption has become yet another symbol of Albany’s dysfunction,” said Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group in a column for WAMC-FM in Albany.
“And what the governor said only adds confusion,” Horner said in an interview Tuesday.
On Monday, Cuomo criticized media reports including a lengthy narrative by The New York Times that cited emails and interviews with commissioners that Cuomo and his top aide were interfering with the commission and dissuaded the panel from investigating Cuomo’s political donors and the company he uses for campaign ads on TV. He said the reports didn't portray the whole story, and said he didn't stop any subpoenas or investigations.
The same day as Cuomo made his first public comments on the conflict since the Times story last week, several members of the Moreland Commission on public corruption created by Cuomo rallied to defend the governor and his role.
Horner said the public deserves to see documents to judge the conflicting versions of the story by the Times and Cuomo.
“The governor should immediately release all relevant documents relating to its interactions with the Commission,” NYPIRG’s legislative director said. “New Yorkers have a right to expect that public officials meet the highest ethical standards.
“If he fails to do so, the result will be that the public agrees with the Times,” Horner said. “And if that happens, the sad story of the Cuomo administration’s track record of failed reforms will continue.”