Earlier today Joseph Pococo, former aide of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was convicted in a Federal court of collecting more than $300,000 in cash bribes. The eight week trial repeatedly revealed a culture of corruption in the state government, and, although the jury was divided on some charges, Percoco now faces up to 50 years in Federal prison at his sentencing on June 11th.
With Governor Cuomo’s regime in Albany under pressure from the conviction, News Growl asked the three declared candidates running against him in November for comment: Republican John DeFrancisco, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, and independent Joel Giambra.
Larry Sharpe responds to Percoco conviction
In a statement sent to News Growl, Libertarian Larry Sharpe pulled no punches with his reaction to the Percoco conviction, and what it says about the Cuomo administration:
“Sadly, the corruption in New York has become so common that the conviction of another one of King Andrew’s henchmen has gone mostly unnoticed. We’ve been immune to the stench of the swamp, and for good reason,” he said.
“There doesn’t seem to be another option, no obvious hope. This conviction is a feel-good Band-Aid on a diseased culture of corruption and bribery. We need a real change. A break from the old parties, the old ways. We need a new vision, under new leadership, for a new, New York.”
DeFrancisco tweets about conviction
News Growl corresponded with Senator John DeFrancisco’s Albany office, but so far has received no direct reply to our request for a statement. In a series of tweets sent through the afternoon, however, DeFrancisco has made his feelings clear. In fact, he sent the same wording twice in two separate tweets:
“[Governor Cuomo] allowed Percoco to illegally work on government business out of HIS office while no longer on the state payroll and servicing clients with business before the state, all while HE received campaign ‘donations'”
Hawkins calls for clean sweep
Former Green Party candidate and possible contender for November, Howie Hawkins, tweeted his comments on the conviction as well:
No matter how many politicians and insiders are sent to jail, the corruption in Albany has continued to grow under[Governor Cuomo] who extracts tens of millions in tribute from those seeking favors. Rotten to the core. Time for a clean sweep, full public campaign finance reform.
Cuomo evades responsibility
In a statement that made no mention of any personal responsibility for Percoco’s actions, Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged the conviction but otherwise gave a very muted response:
“The jury has reached a verdict and I respect that decision. While I am sad for Joe Percoco’s young daughters who will have to deal with this pain, I echo the message of the verdict – there is no tolerance for any violation of the public trust.
“There is no higher calling than public service and integrity is paramount – principles that have guided my work during the last 40 years.
“The verdict demonstrated that these ideals have been violated by someone I knew for a long time. That is personally painful; however, we must learn from what happened and put additional safeguards in place to secure the public trust. Anything less is unacceptable.”
While it is unclear how damaging Percoco’s conviction will be on Cuomo’s reelection bid, it is certain that his statement will satisfies neither his critics nor his opponents in the November general election.
Independent candidate Joel Giambra has not responded to News Growl’s request for comment or made any public statement on Facebook or Twitter.