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Blakeman to Rice: release emails from stint on corruption panel

Congressional candidates for New York's 4th District Kathleen

Congressional candidates for New York's 4th District Kathleen Rice, left, and Bruce A. Blakeman, right, pose for portraits. Credit: Howard Schnapp / James Escher

Republican congressional candidate Bruce Blakeman on Thursday called on his Democratic opponent Kathleen Rice to release all emails from her time as a co-chair of a state anti-corruption commission.

At a news conference in Mineola, Blakeman, who faces Rice for the 4th Congressional District seat of retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), took aim at her role with the Moreland Commission on public corruption.

A New York Times article last week said the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who appointed the 25-member panel, "deeply compromised" the commission's work by "objecting" when it focused on groups with political ties to Cuomo.

Cuomo has denied interfering with the commission, saying his administration offered only advice.

"In our search for the truth, we are asking [Rice] . . . to break her silence and tell the public exactly what she knew regarding any political interference," Blakeman said.

Eric Phillips, campaign spokesman for Rice, the Nassau district attorney, said in a statement: "The fact that Bruce Blakeman is asking Kathleen Rice to deeply compromise an ongoing federal investigation that she is assisting shows you just how deep into the gutter Blakeman's career as a political insider has fallen. This is further proof that the more Bruce Blakeman opens his mouth, the better Kathleen Rice's chances are of winning."

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office has been investigating the shutdown of the commission, and pursuing unfinished corruption cases.

Blakeman said a Rice email quoted in the Times article suggested she had knowledge of possible interference by the Cuomo administration.

In an Aug. 28, 2013, email to the commission's two other co-chairs, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick and attorney Milton Williams, Rice noted that the commission's Chief of Investigations E. Danya Perry had shared concerns with her about resistance she had 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??"

"If Kathleen Rice knew that crimes were being committed, or at the very least allegations of unethical conduct, she as a prosecutor has an absolute, non-delegable legal obligation to disclose that conduct immediately to the state attorney general or the United States attorney," Blakeman said.

Phillips declined to comment on Rice's email, citing "the ongoing probe."Rice stepped down from the commission in January after announcing she was running for Congress


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