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Cuomo Administration Scandal Threatens To Consume Rest Of Session

Mike Groll

It’s been reported that federal subpoenas in a probe of the Cuomo Administration cover over two dozen companies doing business with the state, and several of Governor Cuomo’s top staff, but Cuomo says his understanding is that it focuses on just two people who the governor has cut ties with.

Cuomo says he believes the targets are limited to his former close associate, Joe Percoco, who is being scrutinized for taking consulting payments from companies doing business with the state. Cuomo says he didn’t know who Percoco’s clients were.

Asked whether, as Percoco’s boss, he should have scrutinized the matter more closely, Cuomo said, “The state has tens of thousands of employees. They’re not supposed to be cross-examined to make sure they’re following the rules.” He said it’s up to the individual employee to follow ethical guidelines and face the consequences if they violate them. 

Cuomo says he also did not know of lobbyist Todd Howe’s long history of financial troubles and a felony conviction for writing a bad check, saying the two were not really close friends. “I didn’t really have communications with Todd Howe. I would see him at events.”

Howe has worked for Cuomo and his father, the later former Governor Mario Cuomo, on and off since the 1980s. The governor said he was not sure whether Howe worked for his 2014 re-election campaign.

Cuomo says he’s conducting his own investigation. “If anyone did anything wrong, I will be the first to throw the book at them,” he said.

The governor said he has not been subpoenaed or questioned by the federal investigators.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.
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