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The state chairman of the Republican Party on Wednesday ripped Gov. Andrew M. Cuomos plan to give himself power to appoint a new elections-law czar as politically shallow.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has called for creating a new enforcement counsel to investigate campaign-finance and ballot-related violations, in the wake of an alleged scheme to rig the New York City mayoral primary. Under the plan, Cuomo would nominate the enforcer; the state Senate would have to confirm. His plan also calls for creating open primaries and allowing voters to change their registration in a more timely manner.
As attorney general and gubernatorial candidate in 2010, Cuomo proposed giving the attorney general those powers.
GOP chief Ed Cox said hed be more comfortable giving the state attorney general who happens to be a Democrat these days power to go after political corruption.
He said a Cuomos plan would create a very partisan prosecutor.
Its simply outrageous, Cox said Wednesday at the State Capitol. It shows how little thought (Cuomo) has given this. Its all politically shallow. It shows theres no thought of whats good for New York but rather whats good for the governors political standing.
Cuomo, in a public-radio interview, defended the proposal. He said all prosecutors come with political backing. District attorneys are elected and federal prosecutors effectively are appointed by U.S. senators, he said.
Critics, Cuomo said, could say someone he appoints is beholden to the governor.
But, ultimately, someone has to pick someone, otherwise nothing happens, Cuomo said. Its called reality. Someone has to pick someone. God is not going to come down and say this person going be the enforcement (officer) for the (state) Board of Elections.