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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Blakeman demands Rice defend time at Moreland
(Page 3 of 4)
Brian Racow/Herald
Bruce Blakeman, a former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature and a Republican candidate for Congress, held a press conference on July 31 in Mineola, where he called for his Democratic opponent, District Attorney Kathleen Rice, to explain her role at the Moreland Commission, a state anti-corruption panel she co-chaired.

When asked at his press conference if he was announcing any new information that the Times did not report, Blakeman said he was: that Rice has “refused” to answer questions about the Moreland Commission. The Times stated that Rice declined, via a spokesman, to comment for the article.

Blakeman argued that the public cannot trust government if an anti-corruption panel is itself corrupted, and therefore Rice should address recent media allegations.

“Let’s give Kathleen Rice the benefit of the doubt by letting her come forward, reveal her emails and communications, and tell the public what she knew,” Blakeman said.

Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, a good-government group, said he does not believe it would be constructive for Rice or other Moreland members to speak publicly about the commission’s doings. “The fallout from the Moreland Commission is so convoluted now that we need to let the U.S. attorney clean up the mess,” Dadey said. “Members of the commission or others speaking about it now will further muddy the waters and lead to greater public confusion. The stakeholders, including the governor, that are connected to the commission, will try and put their best foot forward in explaining how the commission operated.”

Dadey said that Rice has even less of an obligation to publicly explain her Moreland role than her two co-chairs, because she left the commission early to run for Congress.

In an interview with the Herald in early February, shortly after she declared her candidacy, Rice said that she was “very proud of the work that we did on the Moreland Commission.”

“We gave the governor a very substantive report in December of last year that made some substantive recommendations about how we can level the playing field in the world of politics and government by trying to take away the undue influence of money on the political process,” she said, “and hopefully the governor and the Legislature will move to enact some of our recommendations. That’s my hope.”

Phillips said last week that Rice “stands by the important impact she was able to have on several fronts of political reform.”

Bharara, however, has said he believes the commission came to a “premature end.”

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