Who in Carl Heastie’s office thought that giving a free pass to Andrew Cuomo was a good idea? The Assembly speaker had slow-walked the impeachment probe against the soon-to-be-former governor for months, hoping that Cuomo would exit on his own. The report from AG Letitia James forced Heastie’s hand and he threatened to start formal impeachment against Cuomo, which is what may have finally pushed the Lov Gov into resigning.
Apparently Heastie thought that let him and the majority Democrats in the state legislature off the hook. After a weekend of criticism, however, Heastie has second thoughts about his second thoughts:
Reversing course, the New York State Assembly will continue its broad investigation into Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and issue a report with its findings, lawmakers said on Monday, following fierce bipartisan backlash over the decision to suspend the inquiry.
Carl E. Heastie, the speaker of the Assembly, had announced on Friday that lawmakers would close their investigation into Mr. Cuomo and would no longer move to impeach him, despite finding “credible evidence” regarding allegations made against him. Mr. Heastie, a Democrat, made the announcement days after Mr. Cuomo said that he would resign, citing constitutional concerns with impeaching a governor who was leaving office.
If you want to know why Heastie might have second-squared thoughts, look no farther than the poll Jazz analyzed earlier today. A majority of voters in deep-blue New York want to see Cuomo frog-marched into police custody over sexual assault allegations. This is no time to circle any wagons around Cuomo, whose decades in public office hardly demonstrated any party-based solidarity and camaraderie in the first place. If anything, it’s Pile-On Party Time.
Or to put it another way, it’d be time to pounce and/or seize, if Heastie was a Republican.
Heastie took flak from both sides of the aisle over his original decision to bury the report. One Democratic state senator said Heastie owed taxpayers the report, in more ways than one:
Heastie’s announcement about the end of the investigation was met with a negative response from Democrats and Republicans in the legislature.
“The taxpayers paid for this investigation, and I think the taxpayers deserve to see what the Assembly has found,” tweeted Sean Ryan, a Democratic New York state senator. “Release all the evidence to the public.”
Let’s not forget that the impeachment probe dealt with more than just allegations of sexual harassment — a lot more. In fact, that scandal became a late addition to the impeachment process after the media showered attention on the allegations. Heastie had insisted on conducting an omnibus investigation into all of Cuomo’s alleged misconduct, including the cover-up of nursing home deaths, the use of staff to work on his book after netting the $5 million advance, abuse of state resources as favors to friends and families, and others. James’ report only shines a light on the one big scandal, not the multitude of corruption in which Cuomo allegedly engaged. Taxpayers and voters deserve some answers on those other accusations too, especially since Heastie used all of that as an excuse to take as much time as possible without taking any action.
In fact, one has to wonder why Heastie was reluctant to issue the report at all. Could it be that it might show that his committee didn’t actually accomplish much … other than waste a lot of time until Cuomo finally got too toxic to protect?