NY Gov. Cuomo has put friends in high places

Associated Press
Sunday, February 27, 2011

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is finding the tightrope he walks between being a reforming outsider and the consummate insider is a little tighter these days.

The Democrat, and son of former Gov Mario Cuomo, is taking heat for some of the longtime friends who have grown up with him in New York and are running the some of the special interests that he has vowed to rein in as Albany's fiscal and ethical top dog.

However, as Cuomo was fond of saying as attorney general when he targeted conflicts of interest and as governor when pushing an ethics law to require legislators to disclose private sector clients: "Self-policing is an oxymoron."

"I take a friend's advice, plus or minus, with a grain of salt," Cuomo said Thursday, after acknowledging another longtime friend on his Medicaid reform task force. Michael Dowling worked in Cuomo's father's administration and now is CEO of the North Shore LIJ Health system. "I know their perspectives. Everyone has perspectives."

Some have a problem with that, including the Center for Justice and Democracy, a medical consumer group critical of Cuomo's Medicaid task force.

"It is clear for all to see that Mr. Sachs was influencing state policy to the benefit of paying clients," said Joanne Doroshow of the group that opposes caps on medical malpractice judgments sought by Cuomo's task force. "If you go to bed at night and there is no snow on the ground and then you wake up and find snow — you can safely conclude it snowed.”

For a copy of the complete article, contact CJ&D.

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