Corruption in NY Legislature is “systemic,” Bharara says

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Bharara-Silver-AP

After winning guilty verdicts against New York’s two former legislative leaders, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the cases show a broader problem with the state Legislature.

Bharara, in an interview with the New York Times, said a lack of oversight and loose laws are part of the problem in Albany — which has had nearly 40 lawmakers face ethics woes since 2000.

“The corruption in the State Legislature in Albany has not been episodic,” Bharara told the paper.

“It’s been systemic, and if nothing else, the trials revealed that there’s a deep culture problem, and a matter-of-factness about how at least these two defendants, who’ve now been found guilty, went about their daily corrupt business with barely a thought about it.”

Bharara has led a crusade against government corruption, and he’s had stunning results: nearly a dozen lawmakers have been convicted under his watch, including two in the Hudson Valley: former GOP Sens. Nick Spano and Vincent Leibell.

But nabbing former leaders Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver, a Republican and Democrat, respectively, over the last month has been Bharara’s top achievement so far.

They were two of the “three men in a room” that controlled state government.

The third man in the room, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has previously drawn the ire of Bharara for shutting down a corruption-busting panel in 2014. Cuomo’s aides have also been accused of interfering with the Moreland Commission’s work.

Bharara wouldn’t say what other public corruptions he is pursing.

But he did tell the Times that the ability of lawmakers to earn outside income and porous laws with weak disclose requirements, as well as power concentrated with the legislative leaders, creates a dangerous mix.

“It makes it harder to prosecute the bad apples when every apple is able to be nontransparent about that outside income,” Mr. Bharara said.

“I’m trying to suggest that these are things that are really, really worth talking about.”

(AP Photo)

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7 Comments

  1. The buck stops at the desk of Andy Cuomo who is part of this whole situation. He’s filthy! It’s time for loser Cuomo to resign or be indicted and removed from public office.

  2. Well he should take a look at Westchester County, especially the airport. Then again it’s possible they don’t want to look that close, it would be to big of a scandal for the people to comprehend.

  3. Actually he and the Feds should focus on Westchester’s Senator Latimer, heard of too many things going on to be just hearsay.

  4. house of Cards on

    Well he should take a look at Westchester County, especially the airport. Then again it’s possible they don’t want to look that close, it would be to big of a scandal for the people to comprehend.

  5. Hey Jane, and your little Robby is just oh so clean and innocent right? As it says it the Bible, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. ” and your boy is in up to his eyeballs. Calling Him and his crew of bandits, including the 2 at the airport “Conservative ” is epitome of an Oxymoron. It’s funny how moron is in there also.

  6. I think I’ll wait for the journal news to break the story on the airport. Your usually off base ( and way off most of the time). Here’s your logic,

    Q: Pete and Repeat are in a boat, Pete falls out who’s left?
    A: Repeat
    Q: Pete and Repeat are in a boat, Pete falls out who’s left?

    You ought to come up with some new material. Didn’t work in the last election so why keep repeating it?