“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Monday, March 1, 2010

New York: US Capital of Corruption?

It's been quite a week for New York politicians.

First, tax cheat Charlie Rangel suffered yet another damaging disclosure. This time, in addition to revelations of his non-payment of taxes on various real estate properties, and misuse of rent-controlled apartments in New York City, the chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, it was revealed that he took trips to the Caribbean which were paid for by corporations. This is a clear violation of ethics rules.

His, and Frisco Nan's reactions were both predictable and disappointing. Rangel essentially claimed that his aides' actions aren't his responsibility, so he was innocent of anything.

Of course, members of Congress are among the first to conduct public hearings accusing corporate CEOs of guilt when employees of their companies engage in misconduct.

The House Speaker, having recently alleged she runs 'the most ethical House' ever, refused to remove Rangel from his Ways & Means Committee post, claiming that there was no serious national damage involved, so she saw no reason to take disciplinary action.

Further, as the linked article notes, she was surprised a Democratically-controlled ethics panel even bothered to publicly admonish Rangel.

Suffice to say, all of this demonstrates just how hopelessly tone-deaf and out of touch with voters Rangel and Frisco Nan are. They may be re-elected in their safe districts in November, but I'm guessing neither will be in the majority when they are.

Then we come to New York governor David Paterson's decision not to run again, amidst two scandals. One is his misuse of his office to strong-arm and intimidate a woman from proceeding in her case of physical violence abuse against one of Paterson's aides.

Paterson unwisely got involved, rather than show some sense and tell the aide that, as governor, nothing he would do would be proper.

Paterson also evidently set the state police upon the complainant.

Then it has come to light that Paterson may have favored a political supporter in the choice of to whom to let a casino-related contract.

Lest you think Paterson's final capitulation to his party to not run again is good news, look who is waiting in the wings.

AG Andrew Cuomo, running for governor, was one of the major culprits in sparking the recent financial sector meltdown, as HUD secretary for Bubba Clinton.

Cuomo has behaved thuggishly, using the Martin Act to bully several financial executives and companies, including BofA, Merrill Lynch, John Thain and Ken Lewis. Oblivious, all the while, to his own culpability in the mess, due to his actions while HUD Secretary to provide more, riskier mortgages to poorer people who could not really afford home ownership.

It doesn't look like New York's governance nightmare is going to end anytime soon.

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