By Aaron Short -New York Post – October 22, 2014
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara took an indirect swipe at Gov. Cuomo Wednesday, telling a radio interviewer that it takes independence and longevity by investigators to root out corruption – two things Cuomo’s ethics commission lacked.
“If you want to solve any problem, a corruption problem or anything else, and you decide to employ an investigative body, the only way the body will get to the root of the problem… is if it has independence,” Bharara said on Albany’s “Capital Pressroom.”
“Independence is an incredibly important thing and it is also is true that longevity of a prosecutor’s office matters also. When you’re trying to solve a problem you need some amount of longevity.”
Bharara chided the legislature for not taking any action to clean up its “entrenched” culture of corruption and said a prosecutor by himself “won’t solve the problem.”
“When you talk about corruption in Albany there has not been historically enough policing and there has not been enough self-policing,” he said.“I’m not aware of any effort among the legislature.”
But Bharara assured listeners that his office is pursuing a number of leads after federal authorities took over the Moreland Commission’s files when Cuomo disbanded the panel after only nine months.
“We have the files, we have some of the smartest people in law enforcement continuing what was begun and that’s what we care about,” said Bharara, whose office is also investigating the conduct of Cuomo aides in steering the commission.
The prosecutor refused comment on whether reported political pressure Cuomo exerted on commission members constituted a federal crime or should be a campaign issue two weeks before Election Day.
“I don’t presume to tell the voters what they should or should not think,” said Bharara.