The business of corruption

Do you want to know how deep the muck is in Albany? You only need to ask a few questions. Common sense questions.

You know many of our legislators have been indicted and convicted the last few years. For taking bribes. For extorting money. From outfits that want or get favors from state government. We could fill an entire wing of a prison with them. Maybe we should install cells in the basement of the Assembly.

Last year was a banner year. The leaders of both houses were convicted.

A major property developer gave big bucks to both of them. Question: Was this new? Answer: No way. It also gave $200,000 to the previous leader of the Senate. Secretly. For his legal defense fund. He went to jail.

Question: Did this developer give money to other state lawmakers? Answer: Oh, yes. Many hundreds of thousands. To many legislators.

Do you suppose this developer just might have given money to officials like comptrollers? You know, the comptroller for the Big Apple? The comptroller for New York State? These guys decide how billions in pension money gets invested.

The answer is yes. About $150,000 to one. And $200,000 to the other. That we know of.

This developer was clearly out to buy the state’s political machine. But…but, goodness, the machine is headed by the Governor. Surely…?

The answer is yes. The developer has given over $1.2 million to our Governor Cuomo. And $205,000 to the Dems Assembly Campaign Committee. And $1.5 million to a similar Republican group. And $266,000 to the Independent Dem Caucus. It co-led the Senate for five years. The developer stuffed another $142,000 into its leader’s pockets.

It is pretty clear this developer was in the corruption business. Which raises two questions: 1. Have the politicians who’ve taken this tainted money sent any of it back? 2. Are you crazy?

Question: Do you suppose this is the only company that lobbies with checkbooks in Albany? Answer: The list of lobbyists is as long as your arm. In small print. They are in the business of buying what they want from our lawmakers.

Question: Do you suppose we now know about all the checks written by the big developer? I will let your common sense answer that.

Question: Do you think maybe money was not the only bribe? Answer: Of course not. There is an army of folks who get paid to do nothing in this state. They get paid by firms that bribe our legislators. The legislators say “Sure, we’ll write this bill the way you want it. But you have to give jobs to our pals and relatives. No-show jobs.”

Or they demand the firms steer contracts to businesses of their families or buddies. Assembly leader Silver had the developer run lots of its legal work through a favorite law firm. The law firm kicked money back to him.

The corrupt lawmakers invite companies that want favors to (ahem) contribute to their favorite charities. Charities that do sweet little charitable work. But employ lawmakers’ relatives and mistresses.

Question: Why do you suppose the Governor has not offered to return his fat share of money from the corrupt developer? And why do you suppose he halted the work of his Moreland Commission? Its job was to root out corruption in Albany.

I’m just askin’ questions. My bet is that you know the answers.

From in Morgan.

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