US Attorney: Corruption "Appears Rampant" in New York Politics

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

(Yasmeen Khan)

Members of a state commission on public corruption delved into the extent of the problem they are tasked with investigating by listening to testimony on the issue Tuesday night. The commission held its first public hearing at Pace University, where Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, testified that government corruption "appears rampant."

"The ranks of those convicted in office have swelled to absolutely unacceptable levels," said Bharara.

Bharara also announced to the Commission that his office is moving to take away the pensions of state officials who have been convicted of corruption. He said he intended to include pensions as part of the property that convicted officials would have to forfeit. 

Dozens of New York politicians have been convicted of corruption in recent decades, but their lucrative public pensions have remained untouched due to a provision of the state constitution. Bharara is testing that provision in a case against Democratic state Senator Malcolm Smith of Queens, who is accused of scheming with officials in New York City and Rockland County to raise funds for a mayoral campaign.

The Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July, is tasked with examining "systemic public corruption" in state government, political campaigns and elections. Commissioners expect to submit an initial report to the governor by December 1.

Tuesday's hearing, held in a relatively small room at Pace, could not initially fit all members of the public wishing to attend who had lined up outside.

"The public is angry over the corruption in Albany," said Dick Dadey, executive director of the non-profit group Citizens Union. "This is the first public meeting of the Moreland Commission. The public should be able to witness what is going on here tonight." (The hearing was webcast, and more members of the public were allowed in as others left.)

The Commission plans to hold at least three more hearings this fall, in Albany, Buffalo and another in New York City. Additional hearings may also be scheduled.

With the Associated Press


Julianne Welby


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Comments [4]

wgalison from france

I was one of the few citizens allowed into the "hearings". At least a hundred others were denied entrance, despite having registered in advance.

I was only allowed to enter because I had recorded a conversation I had the day before with the Administrative Assistant, in which he confirmed that I would be able to speak. At first he denied remembering our conversation, but when I threatened to post the recording on Youtube, along with a recording of his denial, he relented.

All but one of 15 citizen-witnesses mentioned corruption in the judicial branch, including the complete dysfunction of the "Judicial Oversight" agencies, which police judges and lawyers, but not a question was asked by embers of the commission.

The reason for their disinterest is that they are deeply implicated in the corruption of the NY courts.

Commission co-chair Milton Williams is also the Chairman of the infamous "Fund for Modern Courts", which is an architect of judicial corruption in New York State.

Other conflicts of interest abound in this committee, and when one witness asked what the protocol was for dealing with conflicts of interest, Chairman Fitzpatrick threatened to have her removed by security.

It;s all on the video:

Sep. 21 2013 10:30 PM

Hopefully the Cuomo Commission will also investigate the crimes & corruption of the Port Authority. Crimes such as the theft of lost property from inside of the Port Authority Bus Terminal’s Lost & Found Dept. by its supervisors, and the illegal policy of throwing lost valid passports that are found in the bus terminal in the garbage. Now just imagine the damage a terrorist cell could do with those valid passports or an identity theft ring. Such a blatant national security breach is inexcusable, unconscionable and criminally irresponsible.

In this age of global terrorism and rampant identity theft, the Port Authority is a reckless shameful embarrassment of bi-state transportation agency where it comes to safety & security in this area. To ignore this gaffe would be a crime on all levels of local, state & federal government and all persons in a position of responsibility. Action must be taken against these insane incompetent criminals in the Port Authority before more innocent lives are lost.

Google “Donna Lebourne abc news,” & “found, stolen, trashed by PA.” and see the crimes & corruption for yourself.

Sep. 20 2013 04:07 PM
Hohn Paut Adams from NYC.

The success of lobbyists and special interests groups in buying the loyalties of politicans, especially two-bit ones that occupy the NYS legislature, had become the accepted norm in DC and in many states. In MA, they are just as bought out, witness their refusal to past an anti holding the cell phone while you drive law. This sends the message that it's also ok to text while driving. And that, to anybody paying attention, has become absolutely endemic. At stoplights, half the people have their heads down.

Sep. 18 2013 12:03 PM
Lind from West Village

All sound and fury signifying nothing. How many "hearings" They are DA's and prosecutors, what are they waiting for? Smoke and mirrors....

Sep. 18 2013 09:05 AM

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