Based upon a truly stunning, 7,000-word, front page lead in Wednesday’s New York Times, I think it’s safe to say that Wall Street’s popcorn futures market is going through the roof as you read this; and for good reason.
Let me explain. (A little, personal backstory, as it were.)
This story was buried on page 17 of this past Friday’s New York Times: “U.S. Issues Subpoena in Inquiry on Cuomo’s Closing of Moreland Commission.”
I missed it.
Early this evening, I read about—and watched—Tuesday morning’s rather bush league press conference between Westchester County Executive and Republican candidate for Governor Rob Astorino and Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate Zephyr Teachout, where they double-teamed Cuomo, based upon Friday’s news (see link in previous paragraph).
Knowing that the latest Siena poll had Cuomo leading Astorino, 60%-23%, I read a couple of related stories.
The first article was a piece regarding how NJ Governor Chris Christie doesn’t think Astorino stands a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Cuomo, so Governor Bridgegate won’t be making any campaign appearances for the guy (I swear, every time I see Astorino, he reminds me of Alfalfa from the 1930’s “Spanky and Our Gang” series).
In response, per Newsday, Astorino “…suggested Christie should consider quitting as chairman of the Republican Governors Association if he doesn't want to play that role properly.”
At this point, former Republican Senator Alfonse D’Amato jumped into the fray, and was quoted by Newsday, as follows…
…Republican D'Amato, who's been supportive of Democrat Cuomo for years, said: "I strongly urge Rob Astorino to apologize for calling two distinguished governors, Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, corrupt. With little resources to mount a serious campaign and with dwindling support, Rob Astorino isn't in the position to be picking fights and doing gimmicky press conferences. He should go out and show us that his campaign is not a 'lost cause.' ”
By 9:30, last night, I was rolling in laughter!
And, then I read the lead story (it's one of the lengthiest pieces I've read in the NYT in years, so the excerpt below is longer than normal, as well) in Wednesday’s NY Times (the headline really doesn't do the story justice; it is a "BFD")...
I strongly urge readers to take the time and read through this entire, truly stunning story to understand just how damning this may be to Andy Cuomo’s political future.
Cuomo’s Office Hobbled State Ethics Inquiries
By SUSANNE CRAIG, WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM and THOMAS KAPLAN
NEW YORK TIMES (PAGE A1)
JULY 23, 2014
With Albany rocked by a seemingly endless barrage of scandals and arrests, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set up a high-powered commission last summer to root out corruption in state politics. It was barely two months old when its investigators, hunting for violations of campaign-finance laws, issued a subpoena to a media-buying firm that had placed millions of dollars’ worth of advertisements for the New York State Democratic Party.
The investigators did not realize that the firm, Buying Time, also counted Mr. Cuomo among its clients, having bought the airtime for his campaign when he ran for governor in 2010.
Word that the subpoena had been served quickly reached Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aide, Lawrence S. Schwartz. He called one of the commission’s three co-chairs, William J. Fitzpatrick, the district attorney in Syracuse.
“This is wrong,” Mr. Schwartz said, according to Mr. Fitzpatrick, whose account was corroborated by three other people told about the call at the time. He said the firm worked for the governor, and issued a simple directive:
“Pull it back.”
The subpoena was swiftly withdrawn. The panel’s chief investigator explained why in an email to the two other co-chairs later that afternoon.
“They apparently produced ads for the governor,” she wrote.
The pulled-back subpoena was the most flagrant example of how the commission, established with great ceremony by Mr. Cuomo in July 2013, was hobbled almost from the outset by demands from the governor’s office.
While the governor now maintains he had every right to monitor and direct the work of a commission he had created, many commissioners and investigators saw the demands as politically motivated interference that hamstrung an undertaking that the governor had publicly vowed would be independent.
The commission developed a list of promising targets, including a lawmaker suspected of using campaign funds to support a girlfriend in another state and pay tanning-salon bills. The panel also highlighted activities that it saw as politically odious but perfectly legal, like exploiting a loophole to bundle enormous campaign contributions.
But a three-month examination by The New York Times found that the governor’s office deeply compromised the panel’s work, objecting whenever the commission focused on groups with ties to Mr. Cuomo or on issues that might reflect poorly on him.
Ultimately, Mr. Cuomo abruptly disbanded the commission halfway through what he had indicated would be an 18-month life. And now, as the Democratic governor seeks a second term in November, federal prosecutors are investigating the roles of Mr. Cuomo and his aides in the panel’s shutdown and are pursuing its unfinished business...
As I’ve often noted around here, this is the way things sometimes roll in political campaigns. Everything can change in a New York minute. (Especially in New York!)
And, that’s why I laugh to myself whenever I hear or read how those very serious people are telling us about the inevitability of a certain someone becoming our next president in an election that’s scheduled more than 27 months from now.
After participating in 25 Democratic political campaigns, I've learned one, over-arching rule: Ya’ never know what you’re gonna’ get.
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