Much of the coverage of Albany’s latest corruption scandal has focused on the bipartisan nature of New York’s dirty political culture.
Here’s how the Associated Press’s Michael Gormley breaks it down:
When New York Democratic Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada went to his Bronx health care clinic during an FBI raid last year, he rolled up in a Bentley luxury car.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, the year before, awaited sentencing in his federal corruption case at his luxurious upstate home on his 125-acre horse farm.
“Does anyone ever wonder how a senator affords a Bentley? How Joe Bruno had a big house?” asked David Grandeau, the state’s former chief lobbying investigator and widely seen by government watchdogs as one of Albany best gumshoes.
And sure, fair enough. When the last two Majority Leaders — one Democrat, one Republican — are packed off to Federal prison, you get the sense that there’s enough sleaze to go around.
But with the latest indictments of state Senator Carl Kruger and Assemblyman Bill Boyland, both Democrats from Brooklyn, it’s hard to avoid the sense that the Democratic Party in particular needs a house-cleaning.
Republicans can at least claim that they know how to run an old-fashioned political machine. That means a certain amount of dirt, but also an orderly system that keeps people more or less in line.
The Democrats, on the other hand, appear to have taken a big dose of incompetence along with their corruption, and that’s never a good cocktail.
That crooked bungling probably cost them Dems their majority.
On Sunday, the Watertown Daily Times urged Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo to step in and create an independent ethics commission.
Under the 1907 Moreland Act, the governor can appoint an independent commission with investigative and subpoena powers. Rather than wait while the Legislature dawdles, Gov. Cuomo should get started now.
That might be a good solid step toward protecting the public’s interests. But increasingly, it also looks like a needed step to save New York’s Democratic Party from itself.
As always, your comments welcome.