Doomed From The Start


The disbanding of the Moreland Commission whose job it was to investigate corruption in State government and the ensuing investigation of its workings by The New York Times, is reminiscent of Watergate or even the recent debacle by Governor Christie’s staff regarding the George Washington Bridge. Governor Cuomo founded the Commission amidst much public relations stating that it would restore confidence in government. It did not do that but it did implicate the Governor in the corruption which he said the Moreland Commission would investigate.

While the Governor initially said that the Commission was free to investigate state government as a whole, he and his staff caused subpoenas to be withdrawn when they were issued to Cuomo’s campaign contributors and firms utilized by him for advertising. This smacks of the type of “stonewalling” engaged in by the Nixon Whitehouse and his hatchet men John Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman. It reminds all of the firing of Archibald Cox or Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny.

It is the height of hypocrisy for the Governor and Commission members to raise and contribute millions of dollars in campaign contributions from individuals, corporations and special interests who either do business with the State or want some special favors from it. For all of their flaccidity, the members of the Commission and the Governor were on a course of self-destruction from the get go. Much like former Presidential candidate Gary Hart who famously said: “Follow Me”, the Moreland Commission, taking advice from Deep Throat, began to “follow the money.” They found it. It was in their and the Governor’s pockets — unbridled campaign contributions that corrupt officials at all levels of government. Tammany Hall has been moved to Albany and Washington, D.C.

Money buys you access, special favors and appointments. It creates appearances of impropriety and corruption, both direct and indirect. Attorneys who are also state officials may work part-time for a major law firm. They may not even have an office at the firm or do any actual legal work there. But they are so-called “rainmakers” who bring legal business to the law firms. The firm’s clients may need regulatory or other legislative help. They get it because they’ve made campaign contributions and/or provided business to the law firm. This is pervasive throughout state and national government.

Thank you Andy but public financing of campaigns is the way to go with advertising limited to actual records rather than attacks on opponents.

– Tom Liotti, Westbury Village Justice

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Thomas F. Liotti is an attorney in Garden City and Village Justice in Westbury. He is also an adjunct professor of litigation in the legal studies department at Nassau Community College.