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Cuomo says he could respond with his own investigations if lawmakers probe his administration

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday in a radio interview warned lawmakers who may launch investigations next year that his administration could also probe spending like member items, grants and contracts.

Investigations committees in the Senate and Assembly will be led by Sen. James Skoufis and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, two Democrats who have been critical of the governor.

But Cuomo in an interview with WAMC suggested his office has oversight powers as well that could make life difficult for the Legislature.

“Look, you can always get into an investigations battle. They have oversight committees,” he said. “I have every state contract, every member item contract, every grant that the Legislature does goes through my government, so I could investigate every one of those.”

Cuomo insisted he didn’t want it to come to that, comparing the dynamic to the likelihood of investigations by incoming Democrats in the House of Representatives who have vowed to launch inquiries into the Trump administration.

“That would be counterproductive and a waste,” he said. “That’s what’s going to happen in Washington now.”

Cuomo said those investigations aren’t a waste of time, but said the Democratic House is aiming to “slow down the president from doing bad things.”

He’s more concerned with Democrats in Albany showing “they can function.”

“I think one of her first priorities is show we can function,” Cuomo said of the incoming Senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “This is not 2009.”

Legislative investigations could prove tricky for a governor who launched a Moreland Commission to review potential corruption in the state Legislature, only to shutter it in 2014 after an agreement was reached on ethics reforms in the state budget.

The closure of the commission was sharply criticized by Cuomo’s opponents at the time. In 2015, both top lawmakers in the Senate and Assembly would be arrested on corruption and fraud charges.

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