After Bruno Verdict, Cuomo Again Asks for More Power to Police Albany

ALBANY—Andrew Cuomo has a proposal to tighten up ethics enforcement in the wake of the conviction of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno: just let him do it.

“You can go create another bureaucracy, and if it was a truly independent bureaucracy, I would support it,” Cuomo said on a conference call, in which he announced more companies are working with him to ferret registered sex offenders out of social networking sites. “Or you could do what I proposed three years ago. And two years ago. And one year ago: you could give the attorney general of the state of New York, which is an existing office, subpoena power to do the government corruption work. You have a whole office! Why do you always have to set up another office? You have a whole office, you have qualified attorneys, attorneys who have proven themselves to be effective, and they are once again today. Give them the authority and the jurisdiction to actually do the policing of politicians in Albany. Sometimes it’s that simple.”

Cuomo touted his own record as a reformer, pointing to his investigation of the state comptroller’s office under Alan Hevesi.

“Literally from day one in this office I changed the thrust from an exclusive focus on Wall Street ,or a primary focus on Wall Street, to a primary focus on Wall Street and on State Street and I’ve probably done more than any attorney general in modern political history to police government corruption and propose all sorts of ethics reform packages–part of which, by the way, is the comptroller reform package which I’m trying to fight now on for reforming the comptroller’s office,” Cuomo said.

This is interesting: his “predecessor” was of course Eliot Spitzer, who after an abrupt departure from the governor’s mansion is now, reportedly, considering a run for comptroller. David Paterson has said Spitzer’s skill set might work in that office, where Cuomo might prefer to have someone other than Tom DiNapoli on the 2010 ticket with him. I asked Cuomo about a Spitzer candidacy directly, and he said nothing.

“I have no comment,” he said. “Thank you for asking, Jimmy, but as your question suggests, I have no comment.”