ALBANY — The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the Cuomo administration’s hiring practices, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed to the New York Law Journal on Friday.
News of the investigation was first reported by the Albany Times Union on Friday. The newspaper reported in May that only a handful of new hires among two dozen in the governor’s office were on the governor’s payroll. Instead, the individuals were drawing their salaries from various state agencies and public authorities.
FBI agents have interviewed governor’s office employees who are being paid by state agencies and authorities, the Times Union reported. The FBI declined to comment to the New York Law Journal.
The Cuomo administration dismissed the inquiry by federal officials as “absurd.”
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said the practice of hiring executive chamber employees and paying them through other state agencies and public authorities is a “longstanding practice.”
“In this environment, anyone can ask about anything, but the fact is the longstanding practice of detailing staff from Agencies to work in the Executive Chamber dates back over 50 years to at least the Rockefeller administration and extends to the White House and the federal Department of Justice. 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 said in an email.
“The agencies are all part of the same executive branch, and this administration follows the exact same lawful hiring process we inherited from previous administrations stretching back decades. If there are questions about it, call George Pataki,” Azzopardi added.
Azzopardi said the executive chamber was served a “document subpoena months ago. ”We have cooperated, providing necessary documents,” he said.
— Additional reporting by B. Colby Hamilton