View From Here
By David Mark Greaves
I was once working behind a stationery store counter and a customer I knew made a purchase of less than two dollars and requested a receipt. The gentleman was in dress and manner the epitome of a trusted church deacon and I said to him, “Surely, no one would question you”. He looked me in the eye and said, “There should be no question”. It is the apparent opinion of United States Attorney Preet Bharara that the deacon sets an ethical bar that is far too high for Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the New York State Legislature to clamber up to, much less jump over.
Speaking on the Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC), the U.S. Attorney said he has questions he feels have to be asked in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s disbanding of the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, whose work, which grew out of the investigations the U.S. Attorney’s office had done, was “incomplete”. And “without making any prejudgments”, he said, “it’s up to the public to ask why was this commission disbanded so early”, and that’s why investigators from his office were taking control of the commission’s files while he was speaking on the show.
“From where I sit, when you begin something you finish it. And when you start something with great fanfare you don’t, I think, unceremoniously take them off the table without questions being asked,” he said. “In a world where public corruption remains a serious problem and there are investigations that have begun, they should be finished.”
Asked by Lehrer if he was suggesting that the governor “traded away an ethics investigation for a short-term political gain”, Bharara said, “I don’t know what facts will come to light once we look at the files. And I don’t know what went on and what deals were struck”. He noted that, “In a letter I sent to the commissioners, I said there was ‘an appearance that cases were being bargained away in exchange for a political deal’, and I don’t know the answer to those questions, but they are legitimate questions to be asked”. Questions such as why would the governor make a bargain on the state budget that included stopping ongoing investigations into the ethics of the member body on the other side of the table? “Thinking people want to know why that happened,” said Bharara. He wants to see the receipt.