Andrew Cuomo might want to source his campaign ads more carefully. In his latest television spot, which started running statewide last week, Cuomo claimed to have “brought integrity and reforms … targeting fraud and abuse” during his tenure as Bill Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Except that the 2001 report by the Government Accountability Office he backed it up with also blames a housing-rehab scandal on his “insufficient or inexperienced staff.” (The scandal resulted in several indictments, though not of his staff.) Strategists for Cuomo’s attorney general opponent Mark Green pounced on the ad’s inconsistency last week and referred to two additional GAO investigations into the rehab program, including a 1999 report that claimed Cuomo and his HUD staff had “done little to address the problems identified by its Inspector General and others.” Cuomo explains: “Nobody claims perfection here. I’ve never said HUD is perfect or that there’s not more work to do at HUD. When I started at HUD, Congress wanted to eliminate it. I said, ‘Give me a couple of years, and let’s see if we can’t turn the ship around.’ That’s my claim. We turned the ship around.”
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