The bribery scandals involving many members of the legislature have happened while they're gone from Albany on recess. But Governor Andrew Cuomo had a busy schedule with appearances around the state to promote the recently passed state budget, while taking questions on Senator Smith and others' arrests. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman takes a look at how Cuomo has responded to the arrests and whether this will hurt his reputation.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo had wanted to spend the week talking about the passage of three on time state budgets in a row. Instead, focus in the state shifted to back-to-back corruption scandals, potentially undermining the governor's message that Albany has improved during his tenure.
“I don't think it could get worse. You can only have every two days another scandal. I guess you could have one every day. I mean, would we take time off on the weekend?” asked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Cuomo has touted that state government under his tenure has been about functioning and an end to gridlock. It was a theme he highlighted in his State of the State Address.
“Gone is the political gridlock replaced with a government that puts politics aside, remembers why they're hear, puts the people first and makes the government work for the people of this state once again,” Cuomo said.
Yet the list of politicians in trouble with the law has only grown. Cuomo can celebrate three on time budgets, but the attention this week was given to Preet Bharara, the corruption-busting U.S. Attorney.
Bharara said, “Every time that a politician is arrested from New York, it should not feel like a scene from ‘Groundhog Day,’ and yet it does.”
Cuomo released a statement after the second corruption case broke, saying he was disturbed by the news: “The allegations of public corruption by City and State officials revealed this week are appalling. New Yorkers deserve a government that is as good as the people it serves and the events of the last few days fail this and every standard of public service.”
Earlier in the week, Cuomo sought to make a distinction between the actions of a corrupt few and the progress his agenda has made in Albany.
Cuomo said, “I think it's inarguable that the government is working better than it has in many, many years. It is functioning. You don't see the political gridlock that you saw in the past. It's not where Democrats are fighting with Republicans.”
It remains to be seen how Cuomo will respond to the latest crisis. He's being pushed to enact tough new campaign finance laws and empower the state Attorney General's office to also go after corruption.