To the Editor:
State Sen. Terry Gipson needs to condemn Gov. Andrew Cuomo's use of campaign funds on criminal defense attorneys or admit that he's a hypocrite.
Last April, Senate Democrats proposed legislation that would "... explicitly prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay attorney's fees or other costs associated with criminal or civil litigation." Sen. Gipson co-sponsored the bill. At the time, Sen. Gipson said, "For too long unethical politicians have used their campaign accounts as personal ATMs and defrauded the public as a result."
Late last week, Andrew Cuomo announced he had retained the services of a high-profile defense lawyer in the ongoing investigation into his administration by the U.S. Attorney.
Cuomo intends to use money raised for his re-election campaign to cover his legal fees, an action that Gipson and Senate Democrats explicitly sought to outlaw.
Sen. Gipson's silence since Cuomo's announcement has been deafening. If Sen. Gipson and his fellow Democrats want real ethics reform, as they claim, why are they silent when their own governor engages in a practice they sought to criminalize?
Given the seriousness and the depth of the accusations made against the governor's office over interference with the Moreland Commission, Sen. Gipson must take a stand on this issue: Is it inappropriate for Andrew Cuomo to use campaign funds to pay for a criminal defense attorney, or was the bill co-sponsored by Sen. Gipson earlier last year more about election-year pandering than actual ethics reform?"
Ed Cox