Albany's unfinished business, Part I
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The other big disappointment was the governor’s termination of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, which had brought hope to those who want good, clean government in Albany. State politicians and pundits are promoting the idea that the commission was formed to coerce the Legislature to enact stronger public ethics laws. Cuomo said that once they did so, in this session, there was no more need for the commission.
That’s fundamentally wrong in two ways. It’s wrong because the laws that were passed do nothing to investigate current corruption, and take only a checked-swing swipe at future criminal and unethical behaviors on the part of our public servants. It’s also wrong because, while Cuomo may say his commission was a tactic to force better laws — one that succeeded — the creation of the commission was actually his defensive response to loud public outcry over the dozens of legislators and other public servants who have been hauled off to jail and demands for anti-corruption action. Cuomo may have gotten new laws, but we don’t think the public got clean government.
We’re glad U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara quickly stepped in to seize the commission’s files and forbid the Assembly and Senate from destroying any records related to the commission’s investigations. We hope that Bharara’s office can do what the commission members were prevented from doing and the governor and legislators didn’t do.
We’ll have more on Albany’s unfinished business next week.