How Cuomo owns the Moreland report

Governor Cuomo. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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ALBANY—Unmistakably, the report issued yesterday by the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption bears the stamp of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The Democratic governor convened the 25-member panel that released its preliminary findings late Monday, which skeptics immediately said was remarkable in two ways: its recommendations mirrored Cuomo's recent legislative platform, and the alleged malfeasance it outlined was confined exclusively to the Legislature.

Publicly, legislators are biting their tongues despite long-held skepticism. One legislative adviser griped, "How many taxpayer dollars have been spent on the Moreland Commission just so they could propose a plan that was virtually identical to the one put forward by Governor Cuomo earlier this year? This was never about reform, it was a means to an end."

I whipped up this chart to illustrate the overlap. To a tee, the Moreland Commission included all the major elements of the program bills Cuomo introduced over the course of the last legislative session, including the controversial push for public campaign finance.

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At least one commission member defended the lack of focus on the executive branch. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, a Republican, said that was a ridiculous expectation, despite insistences by Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that the commission would be independent.

“I think we’re making a mockery of this whole process if we try to pretend that a group of us that’s been appointed by the attorney general and the governor is investigating the attorney general or the governor,” Mahoney said in an interview on Capital Tonight. “So, I never subscribed to that notion to start with, and there has been no conversations inside the Moreland Commission to do anything other than address public corruption and these instances that are outlined in this report, which are all legislative.”

Cuomo, in a statement, said, “I want to thank the Commission members and staff for their dedication and public service, and look forward to reviewing the Commission’s findings in detail and continuing to work with the legislature to enact systemic reform.”