Bharara: When will the public say enough is enough?

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U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said only the public can get frustrated enough to push for reforms in Albany.

Speaking yesterday on NY1, Bharara stayed clear of any talk about his ongoing investigation into the Cuomo administration’s disbandment of the Moreland Commission and his probes into lawmakers’ campaign spending.

Bharara NY1But he did offer a rebuke of the culture in Albany and questioned when the public will demand change. He’s said in recent months that his office would investigate corruption in Albany because “we are the people who do our jobs.”

“The public should be frustrated that it keeps sending to Albany, and to other elected places, people who disproportionately are breaking the law and are violating their oath to uphold the public trust,” Bharara said in the interview with Errol Louis.

“And only when the public gets frustrated enough – because this is not a problem that prosecutors can alone solve, and I’ve been saying that for a long time – and only when the public gets frustrated enough, I think, will you get some kind of reform in Albany and in other places where reform is needed,” he continued.

Louis asked if using wiretaps in public-corruption cases is common — as Bharara did with former Assemblyman Nelson Castro, who was wiretapped for four years.

“I think it’s a powerful tool. It’s not the only tool,” Bharara said.

Bharara urged to let his office complete its Moreland investigation without interference. In April, he questioned Cuomo’s decision to end the panel’s work.

“I did not put together the Moreland Commission,” Bharara said on NY1. “I stand by the statement that I made, but a lot of people have been saying a lot of things, and I think what’s important now is for the investigators and prosecutors in my office and others who are working on this to just do their work.”

Bharara said he doesn’t have eyes on a political run: “No,” he said, when asked.

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  1. Where Are We Really Headed In NY State

    It is ultimately special interest groups and the people of New York State who have allowed and even encouraged the State Legislature and the Governor’s office to be used to fund special interest groups and continue to grow government employees, state costs and expenses at a horrible cost to NY taxpayers, NY businesses and New York’s economy.

    Until Albany is willing to make real cuts in spending (including pay, benefits and pensions) by eliminating erroneous regulations and burdensome bureaucracy that small businesses and residents are forced to deal with New York State’s economy will never recover or return to a true free-market capitalism model.

    Since the late 70’s until now, NY State government has been nothing more than a shell game.
    Who does the NY GOP and Ed Cox think they are kidding when they roll out the George Pataki years as the wonder years for NY State ?!?!
    An exert from The Empire Center’s E. J. McMahon’s recent column on NYC Pensions;
    “Making matters worse, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the city’s labor unions had agreed in May 2000 to “restart” pension calculations based on peak asset values, departing from a rolling five-year average that included lower values from prior years. That same spring, then-Gov. George Pataki and the state Legislature approved public-pension sweeteners that drove nearly $13 billion in cumulative pension cost increases for the city from 2000 to 2010. These included an automatic cost-of-living boost in pension benefits, enacted over Giuliani’s objections.”
    Link to article http://www.empirecenter.org/publications/the-big-apples-big-pension-bite/

    The bar has been set far too low for NY taxpayers by the NY GOP when they use the Pataki years as the standard we must again achieve in NY State Government.
    Folks, if our leaders can’t envision a future better than the George Pataki or the Mario Cuomo years, NY State is doomed to failure.

    The Republicans are bad and the Democrats are even worse.

    I would be surprised if a significant number of those currently employed by NY State over the past 40 years could run or manage a profitable business without the benefit of government handouts or special considerations by NY State government.

    I am sure we can all point to examples of a County Legislature slowing down some of this government growth.

    That being said, I doubt we have ever had enough good state legislators in office at any one time to even begin to consider slowing down government growth and spending, let alone stopping it or even reversing it, as many of us know, is what must ultimately occur for NY State to again prosper for everyone.
    The NY State Legislature has been, and continues to be, an abysmal failure.

    • NY State has a population of about 19.5 million people and a budget of 140 billion
    • Florida also has a population of about 19.5 million people but has a significantly smaller budget of 77.1 billion.

    With only basic math skills anyone can see the NY State Governor and the legislature have a huge problem with spending taxpayer money responsibly.

    At this point, it might be quicker and less painful to rebuild from the ashes than reform NY State if we could somehow collapse the entire NY State Government & fiscal system.

    For the past ten years I have been telling anybody who will listen that the entire state has a very real problem with underfunded pensions to meet promised payouts in addition to a spending problem. The amount of income tax, real estate tax and sales tax that will have to be raised to cover these underfunded and over-promised pension obligations for the next 20 years of current and incoming pensioners may be incompatible with building a vibrant, healthy economy.

    The current model being used by our Governor and State Legislature is simply unsustainable.

  2. Speaking of special interest groups, this link spells out in nauseating detail how Cuomo’s friends in the NGO’s are killing drilling in NY. A report (THE CHAIN OF ENVIRONMENTAL COMMAND) by the U.S. Senate committee on Environment and Public Works – http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=53280dcb-9f2c-2e3a-7092-10cf6d8d08df Embedded in the link is another link to a 92 page report that spells out exactly what is going on in NY with drilling. The PARK FOUNDATION must be brought under control and be held accountable as they are literally killing farms and farmers in NY in their fanatical drive to kill drilling.

  3. Is this the letter that moved Bharara to investigate the Moreland Commission?

    “We (journalists) do our job and we expect you to do yours”

    To: Preet Bharara
    United States Attorney
    Southern District, New York

    Re: Civilian Crime Report Against the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption

    March 14, 2014

    Dear Mr. Bharara;

    At the September 17th, 2013 Moreland Commission public hearing in NYC, you extolled the role of investigative reporters:

    “So to repeat a longstanding comment of investigative journalists, I think they have become a dying breed, although there are still a few extraordinary practitioners, some of who I think are here and watching this evening. But with each press outlet that closes or downsizes, opportunities to ferret out fraud and waste and abuse are lost, and that is too bad because, as Edward R. Murrow once observed, quote, “a nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” But maybe the ranks of investigative journalists will be fortified. … maybe fresh new outlets whose editors are bent on doubling down on political investigations, will provide grist for commissions like this one.”

    I am one of the “extraordinary practitioners” of investigative journalism who was present at the commission hearing and was watching when you spoke those words and I write for two outlets whose editors are indeed bent on exposing political corruption; Truthout.org and the Blackstar News. My recent articles document, respectively, the murder of anti-corruption whistleblower Sunny Sheu and corruption in the nomination and confirmation of NY State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, two important stories otherwise unreported in the mainstream news.

    My latest article in the Blackstar News exposes criminal acts by members of the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption itself. Specifically, it shows how members of the Moreland Commission maliciously altered the official transcript testimony of citizen witnesses, ostensibly to remove the names of certain favored parties from the official record. This constitutes violation of federal laws in the Southern District of NY State. Furthermore, according to Precise Court Reporters, the company that transcribed the hearings, the Moreland Commission specifically forbade them from making corrections to the official transcript, including misspellings of the names of witnesses.

    These acts constitute a federal crimes under 18 U.S. Code § 1512, including: (c) Whoever corruptly— (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding… shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

    I am hereby submitting the Blackstar News article to you as evidence in a formal Civilian Crime Report. I am submitting this complaint under oath and with full understanding that any false statements therein expose me to prosecution under 18 U.S.C. Section 1001. Under law, you have two options in regard to this complaint. If the information in my complaint is true, you must investigate and prosecute the subjects of the complaint. If the information is untrue, you must arrest me for lying to a federal officer. Failure to perform one or the other would represent dereliction of duty by your office.

    Investigative journalism is only valuable to the extent that it motivates politicians and law enforcement officials such as yourself to act. We do our job and we expect you to do yours. Law enforcement’s failure to act on crimes reported by investigative journalists renders encouragement and enablement to criminals, and discourages and endangers the very journalists you praised at the September 17th hearing.

    Please confirm receipt of this complaint. I look forward either to being contacted for more information on this case, or to being arrested for lying to a Federal Officer. I hereby swear that the information contained in this letter and the attached article are true to the best of my knowledge.

    Sincerely,

    Will Galison
    Reporter, Blackstar News

  4. News Agencies and Journalist only sensationalize stories to build up their ratings and careers. There is no more truth in reporting, some of you tell outright Lies and want to pass it off as your opinion, which isn’t reporting news, it’s spouting personal BS. Then again, we have the Patriot Act for putting a tight stranglehold on true Investigative Reporting.

  5. All the Years the Republicans Held Power on

    The GOP loses elections because more people in NYS hold progressive beliefs and values. As long as you cater to the 30% pro-gun, anti-abortion base, you’ll get 30-40% in elections. You could win if you talked only about taxes and economics, but when the chips are down, it’s always the social issues bulls–t that motivates your base. For those of us who would like something different than Cuomo, you don’t offer it with an ultra conservative candidate who will repeal the SAFE Act to satisfy upstaters, and roll back rights we have to follow our own consciences in place of what YOUR church teaches. Rational tax policy and readjusting spending wasn’t done in ALL THOSE YEARS REPUBLICANS HAD THE SENATE AND GOVERNORSHIP

  6. Too Many New Yorkers on

    Too many New Yorkers are more concerned about Jeter Jets Giants Knicks and BS on AGT, Voice, and other drivel than about what matters
    And too many New Yorkers waste their brains watching the pure invented theories on Fox News Channel than actually reading all perspectives with the overpriced internet access they pay for
    Sad that smart state NY is really stupid and willing to be lead around like a donkey