U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stepped up his criticism of Albany today after he broke up the second bribery scheme involving the state Legislature in the past two days.
In the latest case, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, D-Bronx, was charged with accepting $20,000 in bribes to push legislation that would benefit a Bronx adult day-care developer.
On Tuesday, Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, was charged with trying to bribe New York City GOP officials to win the party’s nomination for mayor.
Bharara called Stevenson’s scam “a fairly neat trick that offends core principles of both democracy and capitalism, simultaneously, and it is exactly what the defendants managed to do.”
He added that “the allegations illustrate the corruption of an elected representative’s core function – a legislator selling legislation. And based on these allegations, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid the sad conclusion that political corruption in New York is indeed rampant and that a show-me-the- money culture in Albany is alive and well.”
At a news conference, Bharara knocked state lawmakers for not doing more to police themselves. He said they must see what is going on and turn the other way.
“Where do we go from here?” Bharara said. “The people of NY should be more than disappointed. They should be angry.”