If you’ve wondered what’s up with all the recent corruption and scandal in Albany, remember this: It’s nothing new.
Today we revisited the remarkable impeachment of William Sulzer—the first and only governor to be impeached. The Assembly voted 100 years ago today in an early morning vote, 79 to 45 to impeach Sulzer, a Democrat, on campaign-finance fraud.
He battled Tammany Hall right after he took office in 1913 and made quick enemies with powerful boss Charles Murphy. Sulzer’s bluster, part of a move toward progressiveness in the state and the country.
Sulzer lost the battle, and his impeachment was officially approved in the Senate in October that year. Oddly, he was elected to his old Assembly seat a month later and returned to the Capitol for two uneventful terms.
Sulzer’s crash-and-burn tenure has parallels to Eliot Spitzer, historians said.
Spitzer too came in and fought with the Legislature in 2007, took on individual lawmakers and tried to shake up Albany. He too crashed in a prostitution scandal 13 months in his office.
Here’s my interview with the state’s historian Robert Weible below Sulzer’s portrait at the Capitol.