Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Common Sense: Cuomo decommissioned" and other mumbles and bumbles by Jerry Kassar about the Moreland Commission

To start with:  Governor Andrew Cuomo has hardly been "decommissioned" by any of what Jerry Kassar was saying this week about the Moreland Commission story in the Times last week


Maybe, Kassar thinks he can get close in behind the New York Times and catch the draft of its blockbuster expose of Governor Cuomo's "interference" with the Moreland Commission


More likely, Marty Golden's Chief of Staff is trying to finesse the facts surrounding his boss, State Senator Golden's, and the State Senate Republican Caucus' negative involvement with the Moreland Commission 


Here's how Kassar tells it in the lead section of his weekly column in the Home Reporter: "Governor Cuomo creates a commission to investigate government corruption that he claims is independent, but in his view has no authority to investigate most of the government.  He then has his closest aide interfere when his appointed  panel of district attorneys running the commission begins to follow trails that lead back to him.  Throw in a little violence and you have the makings of an episode of 'House of Cards.'  ***   The story line gets better. The commission apparently was only formed to intimidate the legislature with the intent of causing members to do what Cuomo wanted on some potential high profile pieces of legislation.  ***   Once again, the commission members -- most of whom were sworn law enforcement officials -- were not aware that they were simply being used for this purpose until the governor’s chief aide Larry Schwartz began to issue instructions through a commission executive director who was reporting back to the governor’s office on a daily basis. So much for independence...."  (See ""Common Sense: Cuomo decommissioned"  by Jerry Kassar, 7/28/14, Home Reporter/ Spectator [http://www.homereporternews.com/news/government/common-sense-cuomo-decommissioned/article_9747a8f2-16ca-11e4-b075-0019bb2963f4.html]).  So far so good, right ?   Maybe, not so much !

No mention of  Golden's open expression of hostility to every aspect of Cuomo's Moreland Commission from the beginning


Nowhere in his column does Mr. Kassar indicate to his readers that his employer, State Senator Martin J. Golden was unalterably opposed to the Moreland Commission's mandate to look into government corruption, including a close look at the NYS Legislature, Assembly and Senate. Nor does Kassar  mention that Golden's GOP State Senate caucus went to court to fight Moreland Commission's subpoenas of various materials from GOP State Senators. And Kassar conveniently does not mention that the very same interests whose investigation by the Moreland Commission caused some of the most intense reaction from the Governor and his top lieutenant Larry Schwartz were the same or closely related interests to those that have had interactions with Kassar's own boss, State Senator Golden, over the years.

4 comments:

Galewyn Massey said...

UPDATE: THE "REACHING THE BOILING POINT" EDITION

LATE BREAKING NEWS

U.S. Attorney fires a shot across Cuomo's bow, in the form of a sternly worded letter to panel of prosecutors on Moreland Commission to preserve evidence, not to interfere with witnesses and do nothing to alter perceptions and recollections

According to a report in the New York Times, "In an escalation of the confrontation between the United States attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo over the governor’s cancellation of his own anticorruption commission, Mr. Bharara has threatened to investigate the Cuomo administration for possible obstruction of justice or witness tampering. *** The warning, in a sharply worded letter from Mr. Bharara’s office, came after several members of the panel issued public statements defending the governor’s handling of the panel, known as the Moreland Commission, which Mr. Cuomo created last year with promises of cleaning up corruption in state politics but shut down abruptly in March...." (See "U.S. Attorney Warns Cuomo on Ethics Case" by Susanne Craig, Thomas Kaplan & William K. Rashbaumjuly, 7/31/14, NY Times [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/nyregion/us-attorney-warns-cuomo-on-ethics-case-.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0]).

Anonymous said...

What is the exact timing on these two things, Preet Bharara and Eric Schneiderman meet for lunch, and Preet Bharara sent a letter warning the Cuomo Administration about a possible investigation for obstruction of justice and witness tampering?

Galewyn Massey said...

BACKFILL: THE "LET'S DO LUNCH AND ISSUE SOME WARNINGS" EDITION

BHARARA AND SCHNEIDERMAN DO LUNCH THEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON GOVERNOR CUOMO AND HIS GUYS

LANGUAGE OF WARNING LETTER IS STARK AND SPECIFIC

Liz Benjamin's post in the State of New York Politics on Wednesday said, "At the height of Moreland madness, two of the most high profile players in this seemingly never-ending saga – US Attorney Preet Bharara and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – met for a very public lunch in lower Manhattan yesterday, multiple sources confirm. *** The Democratic duo was spotted lunching at City Hall Restaurant – an eatery favored by members of the New York City political set due to its proximity to (you guessed it) City Hall. Schneiderman and Bharara have known each other in a professional capacity for the past several years, but aren’t personal friends, according to a source familiar with their relationship...." (See "Bharara and Schneiderman Do Lunch" by Liz Benjamin, 7/30/14, State of Politics - NY [http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2014/07/bharara-and-schneiderman-do-lunch/] [following this posting was this notation: "This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on July 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm"]). Assuming the lunch was "yesterday" from 7/30/14, it happened on 7/29/14.

According to a report in today's New York Post, "The development [Bharara's warning letter]came after Bharara dined with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a key potential witness in the investigation. *** Neither camp is saying whether Cuomo or his panel was on the menu...." (See "Bharara weighs tampering & obstruction probe of Cuomo administration" by Joe Tacopino & Carl Campanile, 7/31/14, NY Post [http://nypost.com/2014/07/31/bharara-weighs-tampering-obstruction-probe-of-cuomo-administration/]).

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TOUGH TALK IN U.S. ATTORNEY'S LETTER

Also, a key portion of the Times report cited in my comment of "... July 31, 2014 at 12:00 AM..." above states:
"The letter from prosecutors, which was read to The New York Times, says, 'We have reason to believe a number of commissioners recently have been contacted about the commission’s work, and some commissioners have been asked to issue public statements characterizing events and facts regarding the commission’s operation. *** To the extent anyone attempts to influence or tamper with a witness’s recollection of events relevant to our investigation, including the recollection of a commissioner or one of the commission’s employees, we request that you advise our office immediately, as we must consider whether such actions constitute obstruction of justice or tampering with witnesses that violate federal law.' "

Galewyn Massey said...

BACKFILL: THE "MORE VERY IMPORTANT STUFF THAT JERRY KASSAR WOULD NOT DARE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE SHUTDOWN OF THE MORELAND COMMISSION" EDITION

IMPORTANT STUFF LIKE >>>> GOVERNOR CUOMO SHUT DOWN THE MORELAND INVESTIGATION JUST WHEN SUBPOENAS WERE SUPPOSED TO GO OUT TO STATE SENATE CAMPAIGN TREASURERS IN CONNECTION WITH AN INVESTIGATIVE REPORT ABOUT QUESTIONABLE CAMPAIGN EXPENDITURES BY TWENTY-EIGHT [28] NY STATE SENATORS

One of the former members of the Mareland Commission is reported by the Albany Times Union to have said that the commission's former executive director, Regina Calcaterra, tried to dissuade the commission's efforts to meet during a three-month stretch between January and March. This was a critical time when Governor Cuomo was hammering out the state budget with legislative leaders who were eager to see the Moreland Commission shut down. Even more significant for Kassar's boss Marty Golden, in February, the commission's former chief investigator, Danya Perry, prepared a detailed report outlining questionable campaign expenditures by 28 state senators that was distributed to the commission. The report in the Times Union further stated that Damien LaVera, a spokesman for Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, said that investigator Perry's files were not turned over to the Attorney General's office when Perry left her position as Moreland Commission Investigator in February (See "Moreland Commission shut down as panel mulled Senate subpoenas" by Brendan J. Lyons, 7/25/14, Albany Times-Union/ timesunion.com [http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Timing-an-issue-in-panel-demise-5645692.php]).