Calls for impartial state prosecutor to be appointed
GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is upping the ante of the Moreland Commission scandal, claiming Andrew Cuomo likely broke the law by allegedly failing to refer criminal evidence gathered by the Commission to law enforcement. Astorino is calling for an independent state prosecutor to investigate the allegations.
In a July 30 press release, Astorino pointed out that “Section 63.8 of the state’s Executive Law clearly reads:”
VI. If in the course of its inquiry the Commission obtains evidence of a violation of existing laws, such evidence shall promptly be communicated to the Office of the Attorney General and other appropriate law enforcement authorities, and the Commission shall take steps to facilitate jurisdictional referrals where appropriate. The Superintendent of the Division of State Police shall, as appropriate, authorize the Attorney General, pursuant to the provisions of Subdivision Three of Section Sixty-Three of the Executive Law, to conduct an investigation of any indictable offense or offenses arising out of any activity that is the subject of an inquiry by the Commission, and to prosecute the person or persons believed to have committed the same and any crime or offense uncovered by such investigation or prosecution or both, including but not limited to, appearing before and presenting all such matters to a grand jury. The Commission shall cooperate with prosecutorial agencies to avoid jeopardizing ongoing investigations and prosecutions.
The specific allegation Astorino has honed in on is that of a possible “no-show patronage scam” involving many influential politicos, including some chummy with the governor like Vice Chairman of the NYS Independence Party Doc Cavallo. The New York Post, following up on the NY Times bombshell investigation, reported that Cuomo called the hounds off Cavallo and others. Cuomo has accepted the nomination of the Independence Party for the November election against the advice of many in the political community, who complain the ballot line is little more than a political racket that trades jobs for endorsements.
Astorino said that Cuomo has provided no indication he referred this matter to law enforcement before he shut down Moreland and if that is indeed the case, he has broken the law.
“U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the Cuomo Administration and the Moreland Commission for possible federal breaches of the law, but here it looks like state law may have been violated, which may be outside of Mr. Bahara’s jurisdictional bounds,” Astorino, currently the Westchester County executive, said. “The only way to get to the bottom of this is for Mr. Cuomo to produce evidence right now that Moreland criminal probes were referred to the State Police and other law enforcement authorities, or for an impartial special state prosecutor to be appointed to look into why these cases were not referred. If Mr. Cuomo shut down criminal probes of political cronies without passing along accumulated evidence, that would be a very serious charge, indeed.”