December 12, 2016

Cuomo And De Blasio Compete For The Worst Ethics Scandal In New York

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NY) may loathe each other, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have one very big thing in common: a long history of questionable ethics.

This weekend saw major new developments into scandals surrounding both Cuomo and de Blasio. Both politicians have made headlines all year because of the federal and state investigations into their respective administrations. Before these new revelations de Blasio was already the subject of five different ethics investigations, while Cuomo has seen some of his top aides indicted on corruption charges.

On Friday, Cuomo was brought into direct contact with his scandal when the governor admitted that he’d already met with federal prosecutors concerning the corruption case against his longtime aides:

“Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Thursday that he had met with federal prosecutors about the corruption case brought against some of his close associates, including Joseph Percoco, a longtime aide whom the governor viewed as family. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, said the interview had involved the sprawling indictment involving bribery and bid-rigging in state projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Even worse, Cuomo disclosed to the New York Times that he might be called as a witness in the corruption trials:

“Mr. Cuomo said he could be called as a witness in the case — perhaps for the defense — though ‘no one has suggested that’ he will be.”

Cuomo must have thought he was having the worst week in New York, until he saw the New York Daily News on Saturday. Always competitive with Cuomo, de Blasio’s Daily News front pages have leapt him back into the lead in the race for most corrupt New York politician, non-living in the woods division. That’s because a New York Daily News investigation into de Blasio’s political activities has shown that the de Blasio administration was nothing but a massive pay-to-play scheme:

“Collectively, the findings point to a concerted City Hall effort to target those doing business with the city for checks far in excess of routine campaign donations. Investigators looking at de Blasio’s fund-raising tactics have found evidence that donors expected something from City Hall in return for their generosity.”

In total, the Daily News found that of the $4.3 million de Blasio’s political non-profit Campaign for One New York raised, “at least $3 million” came from donors who had “business pending with the administration.” Given this shocking statistic it should come as no surprise that the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, the Manhattan District Attorney, and the Joint Commission on Public Ethics are all investigating de Blasio and the Campaign for One New York.

Both Cuomo and de Blasio are famously ambitious for higher office. Yet even the Democratic Party isn’t reckless enough to nominate another New Yorker dogged by ethics scandals in 2020. Cuomo and de Blasio might be able escape the big house, but the only way they’re getting to the White House is if Donald Trump has a New York themed party.