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Cox blasts Cuomo and Moreland Commission for ignoring complaints

By Robert J. McCarthy

   The new probe of a controversial fundraising committee with close ties to political operative G. Steven Pigeon has now entered the political arena.
   State GOP Chairman Edward F. Cox Wednesday criticized Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption for looking the other way on close political allies like Pigeon after the state Board of Elections voted unanimously on Tuesday to probe the WNY Progressive Caucus.
   "Andrew Cuomo sees the Moreland Commission as a tool to punish his political opposition," said Cox. "When it comes to his friends, Cuomo pulls his punches for political purposes.
    "By corrupting his own corruption commission, Andrew Cuomo has become a part of Democrats' culture of corruption," he added.
   Cox referred to several complaints registered with the Moreland Commission about the caucus, to which Pigeon contributed $100,000 of his own money, and which spent $267,000 overall in support of candidates opposed by Democratic Headquarters (which has never enjoyed a close relationship with the Cuomo political operation in recent years).
   County Legislature Minority Leader Betty Jean Grant, D-Buffalo, reiterated her "extreme disappointment"  this week that the commission never even acknowledged the complaint she filed last fall. Former Assistant District Attorney Mark A. Sacha also filed a complaint about the caucus with the commission, claiming it had illegally coordinated its activities with the candidates it supported.
   But the probe launched Tuesday by the state board at the request of Erie County's election commissioners -- Republican Ralph M. Mohr and Democrat Dennis E. Ward -- will only concentrate on alleged discrepancies in funds reported in campaign finance reports and the actual amounts spent on television advertising.
   Still, Cox said the board is now undertaking a probe that Cuomo's commission would not.
   "I commend the Board of Elections for taking swift action to investigate this apparent illegal activity," Cox said.

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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

rmccarthy@buffnews.com


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

tprecious@buffnews.com


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | jterreri@buffnews.com


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | jzremski@buffnews.com

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