NEW YORK (PIX11)-- Governor Cuomo ran for office pledging to clear up corruption in Albany. Now he's the center of an ethics controversy over his short-circuiting a commission he created to investigate corruption in the legislature.
With a long-standing culture of corruption in Albany that has brought down almost 40 politicians over the past decade, nearly ten this year alone.
Cuomo created the 25 member Moreland Commission to expose wrongdoing in the scandal-scarred legislature, it was expected to be in operation for about 18 months, but after less than a year, the Governor disbanded it. He had promised the panel total independence, but is accused of compromising its work by meddling in its business.
Morgan Pehme, editor-in-chief of City & State Magazine which first raised questions last Spring about the Governor's interference, told PIX11 News that the Governor's "interference is the height of cynicism."
The Governor has gone on the defense, insisting his office never exerted inappropriate pressure on the anti-corruption panel, but claimed his administration merely offered what he called "conversation and advice" to the group.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Preet Braharra has begun an inquiry into what happened. Paul Newell, the Democratic District Leader in lower Manhattan, is calling for an independent state investigation as well.