Democratic leaders call for Cuomo inquiry to be turned over to Attorney General
Edward McKinley is reporting for the Times Union New York Democratic leaders Sun., Feb. 28, rejected a proposal from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that a review of the sexual harassment allegations made against him be conducted by an investigator chosen by the state attorney general and a Cuomo-appointed judge. Officials said that Cuomo must instead make a referral to State Attorney General Letitia James so that she can use subpoena power to conduct a full and proper investigation. Several Senate Democrats also said that if the governor refuses to refer the matter to James for a full investigation, they would support a change in the law that would allow James to open her own investigation. The news comes days after former Cuomo staffer Lindsey Boylan published an essay detailing her claims of harassment by Cuomo. Then The New York Times late Saturday released a story on a second female former staffer's allegations of workplace sexual harassment by the governor. Beth Garvey, Cuomo's legal advisor, released a statement early Sunday saying that Cuomo's office would support an investigation controlled by the attorney general and the chief judge and the two would choose an outside lawyer to "conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report" with complete autonomy. In a statement released that afternoon, James wrote, “To clarify, I do not accept the governor’s proposal. The state’s Executive Law clearly gives my office the authority to investigate this matter once the governor provides a referral. ...I am the duly elected attorney general and it is my responsibility to carry out this task, per Executive Law. The governor must provide this referral so an independent investigation with subpoena power can be conducted." Without a referral, any inquiry would be toothless. Cuomo staffers could not be required to testify, nor could documents be demanded. Most Democratic leaders in New York called for the investigation to be handed over to the state AG, including Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who rarely wades into controversial political matters, and Cuomo's own head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Basil Seggos. Read the full story in the Times Union.