4th C.D.: Blakeman, Rice in new exchange over her Moreland role

Kathleen Rice at a meeting of the Moreland Kathleen Rice at a meeting of the Moreland Commission on Jan. 7, 2013 Photo Credit: Office of the Governor

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Democratic congressional candidate Kathleen Rice’s campaign issued a statement Sunday rejecting her Republican opponent’s claims that she “hand picked” an email released to The New York Times involving her work on the troubled Moreland Commission on Public Corruption.

“In her role as a contributor to the integrity of the federal probe, Ms. Rice has not and will not be releasing such information [to the media],” Rice campaign spokesman Eric Phillips said in a news release Sunday.

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A June 23 New York Times story about Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s anti-corruption committee that has placed Cuomo and the commission under public scrutiny, quoted an Aug. 28, 2013, email Rice sent to the panel’s two other co-chairs, where she notes that the commission's chief of investigations, E. Danya Perry, had shared concerns about resistance she encountered from the panel's executive director when she sought to subpoena the Real Estate Board of New York.

"Danya can't be prevented from doing the most basic and noncontroversial aspects of her job," Rice wrote. "Thoughts??"

At a news conference in Mineola Thursday, 4th Congressional District GOP candidate Bruce Blakeman said Rice played a role in releasing the email quoted in the New York Times and called on her to release all of her emails related to her work on the commission.

“Unbelievably, Kathleen Rice released only one of potentially hundreds of emails to The New York Times when upon allegations of political interference, Rice merely asks other commission members for their ‘thoughts,’ ” Blakeman wrote in a statement posted on his campaign website Thursday. “That’s why the public needs to see all of Ms. Rice’s Moreland emails, communications and notes.”

On Sunday, Phillips said Blakeman’s claim that Rice had anything to do with releasing the email obtained by The New York Times is “100 percent wrong.”

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Rice’s campaign notes that the Times article “contains nothing to suggest that Rice was the provider of the email. And, according to the Times, the story’s reporting ‘included a review of hundreds of emails, subpoenas and internal documents.’”

Blakeman campaign spokesman Matt Coleman on Sunday declined to specify why the campaign believed Rice had provided the email in question to the New York Times.

Coleman said:  “If Ms. Rice has nothing to hide, why is she refusing to release all her Moreland communications?”

Rice’s campaign has said she is not releasing emails because it would “deeply compromise an ongoing federal investigation that she is assisting,” referring to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s probe into Cuomo’s abrupt disbanding of the commission in March.

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