When you’re the liberal governor in the progressive capital of the country and lose the endorsement of the New York Times, you know you screwed up. But Governor Cuomo is lucky; New York is so blue that he’ll probably win the September 9 primary and a second term come November. Nevertheless, his ethics commission to root out corruption in state politics devolved into a fiasco, which even has the U.S. Attorney’s office looking into why the Moreland Commission was shut down so abruptly (via NYT):
Mr. Cuomo became governor on that platform and recorded several impressive achievements, but he failed to perform Job 1. The state government remains as subservient to big money as ever, and Mr. Cuomo resisted and even shut down opportunities to fix it. Because he broke his most important promise, we have decided not to make an endorsement for the Democratic primary on Sept. 9.
The worst moment of all came when Mr. Cuomo blocked the progress of the independent commission he set up to investigate corruption after the panel began to look into issues that may have reflected badly on him and his political supporters. As The Times reported in July, Mr. Cuomo’s closest aides pushed back every time the commission began looking at the governor’s own questionable practices, including a committee set up to support his agenda, which became Albany’s biggest lobbying spender and did not disclose its donors. Now a United States attorney is pursuing the questions the commission raised, including the ones the governor wanted dropped.
Mr. Cuomo says the purpose of the commission was the leverage it gave him to push an ethics law through the Legislature and that he disbanded the panel when the law, agreed to in March, achieved roughly nine of 10 goals. But the missing goal — a strong public finance system that cut off unlimited donations — was always, by far, the most important method of reducing corruption, a much bigger reform than the strengthened bribery laws he settled for.
While the Times credited Cuomo with legalizing gay marriage, trampling on the Second Amendment, and raising the minimum wage, they suggested that voters who are disappointed with him might want to vote for his opponent in the Democratic primary, Fordham Law School Professor Zephyr Teachout. She's the only person running who isn’t under investigation. Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, is also under the microscope regarding ethics violations during his re-election bid as Westchester County Executive.
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