The culture of corruption in Albany has arguably reached a fever pitch in light of the resignation tendered by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) today. Skelos and his son Adam were brought up on federal corruption charges on May 4 that include extortion, fraud, and bribe solicitation.
All of this just three months after New York State Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) was also brought up on federal charges related to kickbacks and bribery.
Two out of the “three men in a room” have now seen their political legacies go down in flames.
The third man, Governor Andrew Cuomo, has experienced his own ethics issues relating to the Moreland Commission—a commission that he created only to subsequently disband when the commission started investigating matters uncomfortably close to Gov. Cuomo.
One consistent variable in these three cases comes in the form of one man—the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Preet Bharara is known for his no nonsense attitude and ability to see justice done.
However, if you ask New Yorkers they may take a pass at the moment seeing as Cuomo and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer both had the same sort of reputation. Spitzer resigned as governor when it was found out that he had been soliciting prostitutes in Washington D.C.
No, I’m not speaking about members of Congress and their tendency to align themselves with big business interests that directly harm the interests of the American people. Not those prostitutes. Think more along the lines of high priced call-girls.
Anyway, Mr. Bharara and his office have proven an admirable desire so far to see justice done and corruption uprooted. It seems as if Mr. Bharara is going with the “head of the snake” strategy as of late.
After Sheldon Silver went down, Adam Skelos apparently became more acutely aware—or paranoid—of government surveillance.
“It’s like fucking Preet Bharara is listening to every fucking phone call,” the younger Skelos said.
“It is,” his father replied.
One thing is for certain. Mr. Bharara, an Obama nominee, doesn’t seem to be interested in head-hunting with party identification in mind. This is important not only because it lends more credence to what Mr. Bharara is trying to accomplish, but also makes it clear that this has nothing to do solely with party lines.
It has everything to do with a culture of corruption in New York’s state capitol that has been allowed to run rampant for years and years on both sides of the aisle. It has become overwhelmingly apparent that the only color that matters in Albany is not red or blue.
And until something is done to combat the epic amount of corruption that exists in Albany, the people of the State of New York will continue to be on the losing end. Hard working men and women whose lives are played with by downstate and capitol region bureaucrats who couldn’t give a damn about them.
If I hear another New York politician lament the exodus of young, bright college students to other places, I will be sure to remind them that the reason we’re leaving is because they have done nothing to alleviate the pain that their corrupt, selfish, and self-serving actions have done to the great state of New York.
I’m sitting in Ohio writing this article. A life-long New Yorker who would love to have the opportunity to intern or work for someone who truly had the passion to turn New York around.
I just don’t believe it can be done at this point. My newly earned college degree will hopefully help someone or something else in the meantime while New York continues to shoot itself in the face on the way to its foot.
NEW YORK TIMES
CAPITAL NEW YORK