Saturday, November 28, 2009
Organized Crime pols voting
How Albany Operates Like the Mob
Testimony during Bruno's trial "suggested the Senate often looks over its shoulder in the same way the mob does," writes Danny Hakim (NYT)
1. Hidden Books
Federal prosecutors said the absence of recordkeeping in the Senate was an impediment in their recent investigation of Joseph L. Bruno, the former Senate majority leader, which used subpoenas to try to pull back the veil on the notoriously secretive Legislature Prosecutors Assail Albany Record Keeping (NYT)
Lawmakers can hide their role in making politically motivated grants — known as “member items” . . . They are required to disclose almost nothing about their outside business interests
“You would think for the amount of money that’s being handed out,” said Andrew T. Baxter, the acting United States attorney for the Northern District of New York, in Albany, “there would be a process that was a little easier to sort out where the money was going and why, and who was causing it to happen.
2. Documentation Missing
Lawmakers dole out hundreds of millions in grants each year, but it was often not clear which lawmaker was responsible for a particular grant. And at times there appeared to be deliberate distortions in the Senate’s records. One senator, Elizabeth O’C. Little, an upstate Republican, testified at the Bruno trial that she had no idea how she came to be listed as a sponsor of two large legislative grants in her district. The grants, totaling $250,000, went to a union local that invested pension money with a company that employed Mr. Bruno.
3. No Records
The U.S. Attorney said “there is a lot of information, or a lot of decisions being made, without any paper follow-up, without any type of documentation that would allow us to say, ‘O.K., this individual has business with the state, and this individual has personal business with this part-time legislator.’ ”
4. Paying Off the Cops
Michael Cherkasky, New York State’s top ethics regulator said the Assembly proposed changes to overhaul legislative ethics oversight was “doomed to fail,” in part because it would leave the Legislature to police itself. Regulator Criticizes Ethics Plan (NYT)
5. Goo Goos Clueless or Pay Off
Mr. Silver’s plan has support from civic groups . In 2005 Good Government groups worked with Bruno to passing lobbying and ethic reform at the same time he was using his government position to rip off the tax payers according to federal prosecutors. It is clear that the goo goos because they support reforms proposed by legislatures are a hindrance to real reform in Albany.
True News has been reporting how New York politics has tuned into organized crime for the past year: Political Organized Crime - Part I *** Organized Crime Politics - The Rigged Election System *** Organized Crime pols voting *** New York’s Political Mob Wars *** Gov Where Is Our Seabury Commision? To Investigate the Crime Wave of Corruption in NY