3:54pm

Wed July 23, 2014
Politics and Government

Duffy will keep thoughts to himself on Moreland Commission

Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy says he had no direct knowledge of alleged meddling by his boss into an ethics commission the governor set up.

On a stop in Syracuse Wednesday, Duffy told reporters he had no "factual" or "direct" knowledge of the accusations made by The New York Times that the governor's office tried to stop the commission from going after groups and spending tied to the governor.

Duffy said he had no interaction with investigators on the commission and only knows what was in the article. He directed questions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office.

The Times alleges Cuomo's office thwarted attempts by the special body, known as a Moreland Act Commission, that he appointed to investigate groups with ties to him.

The paper reports a key staffer pressured commissioners to stop subpoenas to a media-buying firm Cuomo used and a large donor. 

When asked his reaction to the article, Duffy said he'll keep his thoughts to himself.

"I have no connection to that," he said. "My duties have not taken me there in any connection or conversation whatsoever. My policy has always been don’t comment on something you really don’t have any direct knowledge of. Otherwise, if I had direct knowledge, I would answer."

Duffy also said he has not been contacted by federal prosecutors looking into the possible manipulation. 

Cuomo's office defended itself to the paper, saying it would be a "pure conflict of interest" for a commission appointed by the governor to investigate the governor.

The article has spurred public backlash from state Republicans and opponents running against Cuomo this year for governor.

Duffy himself is stepping down as lieutenant governor after this term. He's been replaced on the ticket by former Rep. Kathy Hochul.

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