Updated 5:21 p.m. ET, 7/31/2014
(CNN) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo defended the work of a commission designed to quell corruption in New York state politics against a report that his office interfered with the panel's investigation.
"By definition the commission took advice and opinion from many, many people," Cuomo said Monday in response to questions about a top aide's communication with the Moreland Commission, a group appointed last year by the Democratic governor.
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Cuomo, who is up for re-election this year, underscored that a co-chair of the short-lived commission, attorney William Fitzpatrick, said the investigation was "100 percent independent."
"It's called conversation and advice. This is a commission that was talking to all sorts of people," Cuomo told reporters after a speech on the economy at the University at Buffalo.
"Independence doesn't mean you get holed up in an ivory tower and you don't talk to anyone," Cuomo said, acknowledging that his aides did talk with the commission members but its independence was never compromised.
The New York Times reported last week that Cuomo's office opposed the commission targeting groups with ties to the governor.
In its quest to wipe out violations of campaign finance laws in the state, the commission issued a subpoena to a firm that had done advertising for Cuomo's 2010 gubernatorial campaign. According to the New York Times report, the governor's senior aide, Larry Schwartz, then pressured the commission to withdraw that order.
Now, the U.S. Attorney is calling into question the validity of the commissioners' statements in defense of the investigation, reportedly sending a letter to the governor's office that warned of possible obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
The New York Times reported that the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York said in the letter that it has reason to believe people with ties to the governor contacted commission members to influence their public statements made earlier this week on the credibility of the commission.
Cuomo's office responded to the letter on Thursday saying they are aware of the letter and have had discussions with the "relevant parties."
"The New York Times published a story last week that generated a wave of news reports across the state, some with numerous inaccuracies, and we wanted to correct them. We discussed these concerns with relevant parties," the statement said.
"Several members of the Commission (District Attorneys and a law school dean) issued personal statements to correct the public record. These statements reiterated comments they had made over the past year."
The commission's termination has also been called into question since it was abruptly ended earlier this year. The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is looking into why the commission was ended as well as the commission's unfinished work.
Cuomo insisted Monday that the commission had served its purpose after the assembly passed a set of ethics laws, and that's why it was discontinued.
"It was not dismantled," he said in response to a reporter's question. "By design we said the commission has one purpose, to get an ethics law passed."
CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report.