In Surprise Move, Indicted Assemblyman Fights Corruption Charges

Brooklyn Assemblyman William F. Boyland, Jr., has decided not to seek a plea deal with prosecutors. If Boyland goes on trial, New York's public corruption problems are guaranteed to stay in the headlines.

There have been so many charges thrown against Boyland over the last few years, it's hard to keep track: bribery, filing false travel expenses, and misuse of taxpayer funds.

And Boyland is not alone. Bill Mahoney, a watchdog with the New York Public Interest Research Group, says more than 30 public officials have been accused of various forms of corruption over the last seven years.

He blames loose campaign finance laws for fostering a climate in which elected officials are comfortable taking large gifts.

Last week, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, proposed one solution: stripping officials convicted of corruption of their pensions.