Time to restore the comptroller’s full auditing powers


I don’t want to toot my own horn but I have been saying for some time that one of the most disgraceful things Andrew Cuomo and his lackeys in the Legislature have ever done was depriving Comptroller Tom DiNapoli of some his audit functions over state development projects. You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out why Cuomo wanted it done. He didn’t want anyone questioning his power to give out projects for millions of dollars at a time.

Look at it this way — if you are a governor like Cuomo who raises millions of dollars to run for office, one and one makes two. Is it possible that some of the big donors to the Cuomo coffers will run, not walk, to put money in the Cuomo campaign fund if they get big, big contracts? Answer is, “Does a bear walk in the woods?”

Under the state Constitution, it is the job of a separate comptroller to keep the venal governors and others honest by looking over their shoulders. So Cuomo gets the Legislature to agree to take away some of the audit and pre-audit functions from DiNapoli, one of the last honest men on two feet in state government. It’s no wonder that Cuomo has never been enamored of DiNapoli. Yes, from the moment they did that awful thing, attempting to neuter DiNapoli, I have been screaming that this was a new Cuomo low. Then some of Cuomo’s very top aides get themselves indicted for treating the state like their own proverbial candy store. That trial is coming on as fast as an express train, but that train may be derailed in that Cuomo has to run for governor in 2018 before he runs for president in 2020.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that Cuomo would have learned his lesson and stopped with his anti-DiNapoli nonsense? No, the guy just can’t help himself from being jealous of his playmates in state government.

You know that sometimes people do good things because they have ulterior motives. Why the state Legislature went along with Cuomo’s nonsense in the first place is beyond me. Some of them may have been convinced by Cuomo’s plea that if they took away DiNapoli’s auditing powers, things would run more smoothly. Well, we saw how smoothly they ran. People will certainly go to jail.

Additionally, Cuomo ticked off the Legislature by not giving them the raise they haven’t received for so many years. Now they want to get even with Prince Andrew, so can it really be a coincidence that all of a sudden, they want to restore the comptroller’s powers? Smells like revenge to me.

Of course it makes sense that the Republicans in the Senate may want to both get even and stop Cuomo on his way to a third term. Democratic Boss Heastie, who used to be the boss of the Bronx and is now the boss of the Assembly, will have to think this one through. He will not want to help the Republicans destroy a fellow Democrat, but his people are really riled up and this is one good way to slap Cuomo in the face. Not only that, Cuomo is always properly lecturing the denizens of the deep in the Legislature over their lack of ethics. With this new plan, the anti-Cuomo Legislature gets their revenge and, incredibly, does something really good and ethical at the same time. In fact, the bill that would repair the damage is actually too good to be true so it probably won’t pass. If it does, Cuomo will veto it.

The problem once again is that no one knows beans about how things work in Albany. Comptrollers? Audits? Whaaaa? But when people begin to steal and sell contracts, you had better believe that it is a very good thing to have an independent, honest comptroller like Tom DiNapoli.