Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King is trying to pressure Gov. David Paterson to reveal details of the process that led to him selecting a little-known upstate congresswoman to fill New York's vacant U.S. Senate seat.
King -- who is considering running for Senate in 2010 _ says there could be an investigation if the Democratic governor refuses to say who influenced him and if anyone promised campaign favors or fundraising in exchange for picking Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand.
At various times, Paterson said the field included 10 to 20 more experienced Democrats. Some big names including Caroline Kennedy and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo also were in the running. Several other members of Congress and some local government officials also announced their interest publicly.
“There was a whole strange series of events,'' King told The Associated Press. “There is a crisis of confidence in the state. There is a cloud over Kirsten Gillibrand's appointment. To me, it's essential that the governor give a full explanation as quickly as possible.''
Paterson, who insists his process will remain confidential, never named the people he was considering for the job and refused to release any part of the extensive background questionnaire they filled out.
“The governor has clearly explained the thoughtful process he engaged in over the past several weeks to choose a senator,'' Errol Cockfield, Paterson's press secretary, said Saturday. “This included numerous interviews, outreach to a range of individuals across the state and a thorough vetting process.
“That culminated on Friday when the governor selected Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, who is the best choice for New York given her strong record of accomplishment, grasp of economic policy and her ability to work across party lines,'' Cockfield said.