Preet Bharara going after troubled pols’ pensions

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U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said his office is going after the pensions of state lawmakers charged with a crime, filing court papers that seek to have them held by the federal government if the politicians are convicted.

Bharara, who has jurisdiction over New York’s southern district, revealed his plan to target pensions during testimony in front of the state Moreland Commission, a panel of mostly district attorneys tapped by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to root out public corruption.

“In pending and future cases, to the extent any public official has a pension interest that accrued while engaging in criminal conduct, we will use federal forfeiture law to claw back an appropriate dollar amount commensurate with that pension where appropriate,” Bharara said.

According to his testimony, Bharara’s office filed paperwork Tuesday in the corruption cases against Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, D-Bronx, signaling their intent to go after their retirement money.

Bharara’s remarks came during the Moreland Commission’s first public hearing in New York City. A second hearing is slated for today in Buffalo, with a third coming Tuesday in suburban Albany.

(Mary Altaffer, AP Photo)

Here are Bharara’s full comments, provided by his office:

Bharara Moreland Commission Testimony 9 17 13 by Casey Seiler

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3 Comments

  1. Politicians and municipal workers will be clean as a whistle if their pension is threatened for wrong doing ! Go Preet !

  2. I agree that Preet should go after these miscreants pensions. But laws and punishment of others never deter those convinced to do criminal things. They think they will get away with it. The key is voters throwing them out at election time. Every time an indicted pol gets re elected in Bklyn, Bronx or Queens, Westchester people get furious. Bit we can’t vote them out…. Their own people don’t care, or worse, they excuse the behavior because of common demographics. And that’s the t r u t h.

  3. Maybe Preet should look into what Astorino has been up to since taking office. You never know what you will find until you look really close and ask the right people the right questions.