Critics ramped up their criticism today of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, saying he has been mum since a New York Times report last week about political interference with the Moreland Commission he helped create.
Schneiderman, who is seeking a second term in November, played a critical role in the commission’s formation a year ago: He deputized the district attorneys, giving them broad powers to investigate corruption in state government.
But the Democratic attorney general has offered no response to the accusations that there was pressure put on the panel to avoid subpoenas that directly impacted Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo answered questions today for the first time about the Moreland Commission.
“We haven’t had three words from the attorney general about what he knew, when he knew it and what he did about it,” GOP attorney general candidate John Cahill said in Albany today. “The people of the state need to know, deserve to know, from our attorney general what did he know about the alleged interference of the workings of the Moreland Commission.”
Cahill called it a “disgrace” that Schneiderman hasn’t commented.
When the Moreland Commission was formed, Schneiderman said, “This commission will be able to conduct a top to bottom investigation of New York state’s government.”
The only comment came last week from Schneiderman’s campaign defending his work, saying, “No attorney general in New York state history has been as aggressive in cracking down on public corruption as Attorney General Schneiderman.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout also knocked Schneiderman today, saying “I’m calling for Eric Schneiderman to take real leadership.”
She wrote him a letter saying that the commission is still technically empaneled and could look into the Cuomo administration’s dealing with the panel.
Schneiderman spokesman Damien LaVera said, “Our office cannot comment on ongoing or potential investigations arising out of the Moreland Commission, whether they are being pursued by our office or other prosecutors.”
The law requires that any criminal cases would have to be handled by state of federal prosecutors; the attorney general doesn’t have that authority. The Attorney General’s Office could do a probe, but it would need come from a referral from the governor’s office.