March 12th, 2010
10:38 AM ET
5 years ago

Possible rival says Cuomo acted too slowly

Andrew Coumo recused himself from an investigation of Gov. David Paterson, but not quickly enough for some critics.
Andrew Coumo recused himself from an investigation of Gov. David Paterson, but not quickly enough for some critics.

(CNN) – One of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's potential political rivals has criticized the length of time it took the state's top legal officer to recuse himself from investigations into the governor.

Cuomo appointed retired Judge Judith Kaye as independent counsel to run the investigations into Gov. David Paterson after a preliminary probe
determined "there are credible issues that need to be resolved," Cuomo said during a Thursday conference call.

The governor, a Democrat, announced two weeks ago he will not run for a full term in office. Cuomo is widely expected to make a bid for Paterson's job, and before his announcement Thursday, had drawn some criticism for investigating the governor.

Former Rep. Rick Lazio, the likely GOP New York gubernatorial nominee, said it took Cuomo too long to appoint an independent counsel to oversee the probes.

"After calling for an independent prosecutor for weeks, I am glad that Andrew Cuomo finally agreed with me and recused himself from this investigation," Lazio said in a Thursday statement. "It should not have required two weeks and a drop in the polls for Andrew Cuomo to recognize what he should have instinctively known from the beginning."

Cuomo told reporters it was "out of an abundance of caution," that he brings in Kaye. The attorney general said that Kaye has agreed to work pro bono, thus adding no additional costs to the taxpayer.

A majority of New York state voters questioned in two polls conducted this week said they wanted a special prosecutor to be appointed to lead the investigation rather than leave the probe in the attorney general's hands. One of the surveys, by Marist College, also indicated that Cuomo's approval rating stands at 54 percent, down 13 percentage points over the past couple of weeks.

Most polls also indicate that Cuomo leads Lazio by a more than 2-1 margin in hypothetical general election matchups.

Kaye will investigate whether Paterson lied about his intentions to pay for World Series tickets and whether he interfered with a domestic violence case involving a top aide.

Kaye "will provide a proper investigation and avoid any possible appearance of any political interest or conflict whatsoever," Cuomo said. The
team of lawyers and investigators already involved will continue their work and report to the judge.

Paterson became governor in 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in disgrace.


Filed under: Andrew Cuomo • New York
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Doug,lib jersey

    Ha ha, the average New York Democrat would still vote for the Democrat even if he or she attacked their family. You seen them on Jersey Shore, while they may not all talk like that, every Democrat in New York and New Jersey thinks like that. Sorry, not one republican in all of America is as evil.

    March 12, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. dondie

    My opinion of Cuomo fell 100 stories with no parachute when I heard that he was taking over this investigation. True, his political instincts seemed to be out to lunch and oblivious to the lowest rungs of ethics. I'm just thrilled to find out that I was not the only one who immediately felt that something was terribly wrong with him leading the investigation. I have a new found respect for the New York electorate for pointing out the obvious which Cuomo seemed to overlook for two long anxiety filled weeks of shock and awe. Why does it always take the electorate to sound the first alarms? Did no one in government or his office dare to immediately raise a red flag of concern?

    March 12, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Lee in TN

    More criticizm from the sidelines. The modern day republicans are a party of "do nothing" and criticize anyone who does. It would be nice if they had an idea for a change and the motivation to actually do something with it.

    March 12, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    And the Campaign has started. The same old school plays of politics here in NYS. Finger pointing, Monday night quarter back, he said, she said, in the meantime the State is falling apart.
    Time to clean up our State Government and vote these clowns out, they are too busy representing the special interests and have forgotten the people of NYS.
    These two Cuomo and Lazio are the best the two major parties can come up with to be the leadership of my home? Very sad another election where you have to pick the best of two evils and get no representation in return. No wonder young people and business is running out of NYS.

    March 12, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Vincent Petrosino

    Isn't Lazio the same GOPer who lost to Hillary Clinton when Guiliani backed out of running against her? Consider the source here! Cuomo is the man for New York just as competent and fearless as his dad was. Good Luck, Sir!

    March 12, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Rick Lazio is silly political wanna be. He would have equally criticized Cuomo if he had recused himself earlier on the grounds that he was abondoning his responsibilities as Attorney General to further his political career.

    Lazio is such a hack...and certainly is not qualified to be the governor....or even, for that matter, be the GOP's critic of those who ARE qualified.

    March 12, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but....

    Funny, Doug, but the states with the highest murder and violent crime rates are all red states. Do a little research for once. NYS is not even in the top 10. Nor is NJ. So much for the "kind and generous" real Americans in the red states. If you don't believe me, just go to a red state and observe how they drive. Have a nice day!

    March 12, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Annie, Atlanta

    If Paterson isn't running again, where is the conflict in Cuomo doing the job he's paid to do? What am I missing.

    March 12, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. S Callahan

    I like Cuomo...but truthfully..I like him in his role now..he's good at it.

    And with the tide changing I do think Lazio is going to sweep himself right into office just from 'fed up' mentaility alone. We will see.

    Judge Kaye is fair and honest. I'm glad she is heading the investigation and perhaps shed some light on the 'political whipping' in the background and maybe even by 'whom'.

    March 12, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Pragmatic

    "Sorry, not one republican in all of America is as evil..." huh? Karl Rove comes to mind ... and more names than CNN has room to post ... can't leave Cheney, father & daughter off the list ...

    March 12, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Edwin

    @Doug,lib jersey,

    I have read some pretty evil stuff from republicans on these blogs...

    Not to say all evil people are republicans, but the party is not a house for saintly goodness! Scum accumulates at the fringes of EVERY political party.

    March 12, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |