Tim Wu and Rob Astorino may not have a ton in common, but they both charged Wednesday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office had broken the law in dealing with the Moreland Commission.
Mr. Wu, running to secure the Democratic nod for lieutenant governor on the Zephyr Teachout ticket, told reporters in a conference call he believed the governor had committed “official misconduct.” His call came just hours after Mr. Astorino held a press conference to accuse the governor of breaking the law.
It’s not the first time the campaigns have seen eye-to-eye — Mr. Astorino and Ms. Teachout once held a joint press conference decrying Albany corruption.
Ms. Teachout has previously called for Mr. Cuomo to resign over reports in the New York Times that his office sought to steer the corruption-busting panel away from groups tied to the governor.
“The ongoing pattern of attempting to sort of pull back subpoenas and so forth, when you have deputized the attorney general, when they are acting as prosecutors, is probable cause for solicitation of official misconduct,” Mr. Wu said. “The fact that they don’t ultimately do it might be a different case.”
One of the top prosecutors on the commission has argued they didn’t take the advice of the governor’s office to drop a subpoena and eventually served it.
Mr. Wu added: “It’s still a crime–solicitation. To bend the prosecution in favor of allies and donors is itself criminal solicitation.”
He was careful to point his accusations on Gov. Cuomo’s staff and not on Mr. Cuomo himself. The candidate also said that the district attorneys who made up the commission have the jurisdiction to investigate crimes like solicitation without the governor’s approval.
“If the district attorney needed the government’s approval to investigate such a crime, that would be a problem.”
Mr. Wu said he was shocked no state law enforcement officials had spoken out yet about the Moreland Commission.
“We haven’t heard from the Attorney General,” he said. “If this were Congress, we would immediately have hearings. It is somewhat shocking to me that there’s been, so far, no word from the State Senate or Assembly of hearings on this issue.”
While Mr. Astorino called for a special prosecutor, Mr. Wu called for those already in place to take action.
“When you had the Chris Christie bridge-closure emails disclosures,” Mr. Wu explained, “there were no less than three or four investigations immediately launched. You had the legislature involved, the U.S attorney, and district attorneys involved. And in New York State, I think the contrast is really stark.”