Pierre Rinfret, the Republican candidate for governor of New York, charged Thursday that aides to Gov. Cuomo might be auditing his tax returns to turn up information that might hurt the GOP campaign.
"I would not be surprised to see my state tax returns investigated very shortly," Rinfret said at a press conference after a brief meeting with President Bush at the White House. "I've been around a long time, and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen."
Rinfret, in response to reporters' questions, said he had no evidence that Cuomo wants his taxes investigated.
"No, the guys down the line who like him very much may do it," he said.
"I've been in politics a lot of years, and I've seen it done," he added.
Asked whether he had seen this done when he served under President Nixon, he nodded in agreement. He was economic policy spokesman during Nixon's 1972 campaign and a White House aide to Nixon.
Rinfret said he will make his 1989 tax returns public if the governor does. He said the governor has released a summary of his taxes and income but has not made public his tax returns.
At his meeting with the president, Rinfret said Bush told him "he wants to see Mario Cuomo beaten, and he told me that I should do everything I know how to beat him, and that he would be very pleased to see (Cuomo) beat."
He quoted Bush as saying:
"Hit 'em and hit 'em hard. You've gotta win."
He also said Andrew Card, White House deputy chief of staff, indicated Bush would campaign for him in New York, if his schedule permits, and that the Republican National Committee would see to it that his campaign received significant financial help. No specific amount was mentioned, he said.
Rinfret accused Cuomo of punishing upstate counties. He said the state's review of five sites in Cortland and Allegany counties as possible locations for a low-level radioactive waste dump were part of a pattern of making Republican counties "the fall guy." The governor has suspended the search for a dump site.
Rinfret also cited the state's refusal to complete Route 17 through Cattaraugus County as another example of political discrimination.
He again criticized the governor for failing to serve in the armed forces during the Korean War but brushed aside questions about the failure of two prominent Republicans, Housing Secretary Jack F. Kemp and Vice President Dan Quayle, to serve on active duty. Kemp was in the Army reserve in the 1950s, and Quayle was in the National Guard during the Vietnam War.
Rinfret declined to comment on Kemp's recent criticism that Rinfret was a narrow pro-choice candidate at odds with traditional Republican values. He said he did not have an opportunity to meet Kemp on this trip to reconcile their differences.
Kemp was angered by Rinfret's criticisms of President Reagan's tax cut policies. Rinfret acknowledged Thursday that he predicted the 1981 tax cuts would result in the nation's first $100 billion budget deficit.
Rinfret accused the governor of failing to enforce the State's Taylor Law that prohibits strikes by public employees. The Republican said he would fully enforce the penalty against strikers that calls for loss of two days' pay for every day on strike.