ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he has no regrets about his decision not to ask a former top aide more about his outside consulting arrangements in 2014, which have now come under scrutiny in a federal investigation.
Speaking to reporters in the Adirondacks, Cuomo said the "onus" was on Joseph Percoco, his former aide and campaign manager, to follow the state's ethics laws.
Percoco, long one of Cuomo's most-loyal confidants before his departure for the private sector early this year, reported received between $70,000 and $125,000 in consulting payments from a pair of firms with business before the state in 2014, when he was off the state payroll running Cuomo's re-election campaign.
"If you're a state employee, you know the ethics rules," Cuomo said. "You know the legal regulations. The onus is on you to follow them, not for you to be questioned and then follow them."
Last week, Cuomo acknowledged Percoco had told him he may perform outside consulting work while off the state payroll. But the governor said he never asked who Percoco was accepting fees from.
Percoco reported the income on his state-mandated financial disclosure forms.
Many of the Cuomo administration's top economic-development initiatives are now under investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Cuomo's office received a subpoena for information earlier this month, leading the governor to launch an internal probe, too.
Both Percoco and lobbyist Todd Howe -- a former aide to Cuomo and his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo -- are believed to be at the center of the probe.
When asked if Howe worked on his re-election campaign, Cuomo said he didn't know. Politico NY reported this week that Howe had a desk in Percoco's office during the 2014 campaign.
"I wouldn't call us close friends, but (Howe) worked for the state for a number of years," Cuomo said. "But I have no knowledge of his personal situation."
Percoco's outside income was filed on a disclosure statement filed with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, a board created in 2011 that has been a frequent target of criticism for its voting structure and frequent appointment of former Cuomo staffers.
Asked about JCOPE, Cuomo said the board has been "proven effective."
"I don’t think this is about JCOPE," Cuomo said. "We’re looking at two individuals to see if they did something improper, and the first responsibility lies with that individual. "