BY ANTHONY J. BAZZO
OF YORKTOWN NEWS
TITLE: Has Albany’s Corruption Time To Go Finally Arrived?
Maybe, just maybe I will have to re-assess my comments regarding Governor Cuomo’s actions in the wake of the cesspool that is Albany. Maybe. Unlike the leading women’s advocate groups and women Assembly members, particularly Assemblywoman Sandra Galef who have still remained silent now that no reform bills or the so-called women’s agenda proposals have been passed by the legislature, Governor Cuomo has put his money where his mouth is. He has created as promised (finally political promise kept) a 25 member Commission To Investigate Public Corruption.
This commission has 10 sitting District Attorneys (both sides of the isle represented) plus New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as a special advisor. It has subpoena power to compel testimony and uncover documents. Plus, and this is where this commission is different from those that came before it, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has deputized all 25 members as Assistant District Attorneys. This gives them the power to investigate all branches of Government INCLUDING the Legislature. This commission’s mandate is to according to the Governor is to probe systemic public corruption and even the appearance of corruption in state campaigns, state government (meaning pay to play) and the elections themselves, (the buying of political backing of party lines). They will have the power to follow the money.
This is real power to uncover corruption. The Legislature, particularly their leadership, can not ignore, stymie, stonewall, or stack the deck with cronies who will protect them as they have done to past investigative commissions. How scared is the leadership of this power? Even before the Governor named who will be on the Commission, State Senate Leader Dean Skelos threatened to investigate the Governor with the powers invested in the Legislature. This is where the Governor did not blink. This is where the Governor doubled down on this commission by having the Attorney deputize the members.
Andrew Cuomo is a liberal. That however does not mean he can not read. Leading polls show his numbers tanking. They show that the public feels corruption is the number 1 issue. They show the public holds the Governor accountable for the inaction regarding reform. They show the public knew public financing of campaigns (his idea of reform) was just another means of allowing the purveyors of corruption to get their hands on more of our money. The public wanted none of that. They wanted heads to roll (mainly Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver). They were tired of our government being a laughing stock.
This did not happen in a vacuum. As I said the Governor’s poll numbers are tanking. The Legislature passed no reform. Did not even try. They thought the Governor was bluffing and with good reason. He made these threats 7 times before and did nothing. The difference this time is that unlike members of the legislature that only have to answer to their districts, the Governor has to answer to the state, ALL of it, not just New York City, his liberal base. He knows history. He can not even dream of Washington as long as New York is awash in malfeasance. He know’s a New York Governor’s path to D.C. rests in being a reformer. If he wants any chance to fulfil his dream, he must clean up Albany and have the scalps to prove it was done at his direction, not the Federal Attorney’s as has been the case. He can not claim credit for their work.
A Couple Of Side Bars:
You have to ask yourself, what is the Senate Leader afraid of? That Albany is corrupt is not debatable. That there are corrupt Senators is not debatable. That the corruption happened on his watch is not debatable. You would think that if he had any pride of leadership, he would welcome getting the dirty laundry out there. So what is he afraid of? Maybe it that like his counter part in the Assembly, he is part of a major tort law firm. Maybe it is because of that , he like his counter part has stood against any tort reform legislation. All common sense says that his reaction shows he is afraid of something. Maybe like Silver, his time has come to go also. Memo to Senator Greg Ball. If this commission adhere’s to its mission, and believing you are not part of the corrupt,cabal, speak out in support of this endeavor. My suggestion is you do not hitch your wagon to Skelos. You proposed true reform legislation. Be that reformer now that the Governor has given you cover to do so. There is no upside in supporting this present leadership. History is not on his side.
As for Assemblywoman Sandra Galef,. She pretty much kicked the throw out Silver can down the road by stating that she will wait to see what kind of reforms are enacted. None were. Nor was any of the Governor’s women’s agenda. Nothing, nada, zilch. So by her silence in the wake of these developments, her silence means she is okay with the cover up. More the pity. She among Assembly members has the cache to do something. As long as she wants that office, she is in no danger of ever losing it. She herself is incorruptible. If she spoke out, others would find the courage to back her. She could get enough hand full of Democrats and all the Republicans ( I believe you will find an ally in Assemblyman Katz if you ask) to enact change of leadership. Putting party first no longer means protecting Silver. What she thought he could do, he could or would not. Party first now means getting a new Assembly Leader. The women who were abused after the cover up deserve no less. This is what I say, what say you?