The FBI is reportedly investigating New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office hiring practices.
According to the Albany Times-Union, senior staffers who were hired to work for the governor were allegedly listed and being paid by other state agencies, which would make the Democrat’s staff and budget look smaller than it really was.
The administration received a subpoena for documents months ago and is cooperating, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said, adding that other New York governors, presidents from both political parties and even the U.S. Department of Justice have all used similar staffing methods going back decades.
“In this environment, anyone can ask about anything,” Azzopardi said. “Given that the federal Department of Justice and the White House have a long history of utilizing this practice, perhaps the FBI can investigate them when this charade is over.”
Azzopardi claimed the process was lawful and noted that all agencies whose payrolls were being used to pay staffers were within the executive branch.
The Times-Union reported a few employees who work for Cuomo’s office were interviewed by FBI agents. The media outlet wrote the practice was “particularly widespread” and Cuomo’s father, Mario Cuomo who was the governor of New York from 1983 to 1994, used the same tactic.
Good-government groups have long criticized state officials for what they say is a lack of transparency when it comes to state employment spending. Brandon Muir, executive director of the group Reclaim New York, welcomed the FBI’s interest in what he called “Albany’s sleight of hand. With taxpayer money.”
Cuomo, who is seeking a third term as governor next year, has also been mentioned as a potential White House contender in 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.