Gov. Andrew Cuomo took to the radio Wednesday to tout the second phase of his legislative plan to scale back corruption, saying he believes the state needs to take a “comprehensive approach” and not act on an “isolated snapshot.”
Cuomo laid out his electoral reform plan Tuesday, taking aim at the state’s Wilson Pakula law and beefing up the state Board of Elections for enforcement.
The Democratic governor said he wants to make sure the Legislature is taking a “broad-enough view.”
“We tend to be episodic and take these isolated snapshots. This is not just about a very specific case,” Cuomo said on “The Capitol Pressroom,” a public-radio program. “This is not about a bad shingle; this is about a bad roof, and let’s pull the lens back a little bit and look at the roof. I want to take a comprehensive approach to this.”
The “specific case” he was referring to, of course, is that of Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat who was accused by prosecutors of trying to bribe his way on the Republican ballot line in the New York City mayor’s race. Smith would have needed a Wilson Pakula certificate — basically a blessing from party leaders — to run on the party’s line.
Cuomo has laid out two planks of his three-pronged plan thus far, the first of which was a proposal to bolster the state’s bribery laws. He hasn’t laid out a specific proposal for changing the state’s campaign finance system, but has expressed support for a public funding option similar to the system in New York City.
On Tuesday, Cuomo was asked why he wasn’t putting his proposal in bill form; instead, it was announced via press release. “I will give you a hint,” Cuomo said Tuesday. “Normally, when we release bill language before an agreement it means the probability of that bill passing is very, very low,” telling reporters it “polarizes” the Legislature and makes it tougher to get an agreement.
On Wednesday, Cuomo said he was trying to joke with reporters. Instead, he said sometimes those in Albany introduce a bill in the name of “posturing and issuing a press release” rather than putting forth legislation that will pass.
“I should have known better than to try to have fun with the (Capitol reporters) at a press conference,” Cuomo said. “They say, ‘Oh, lighten up and have some fun and just be yourself and be light and happy.’ Then you have a little fun and they take it seriously.”
(AP Photo / Mike Groll)