A promising start on government corruption comes to a disappointing end
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There was a long list of other alleged infractions for which Bruno was never tried. He was sentenced to two years in prison in 2010, but his conviction was overturned on appeal in 2011. The now 84-year-old Bruno is set to be retried beginning May 12, according to the Albany Times Union.
Bruno set the tone for an anything-goes, pay-to-play Legislature. Democratic Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. was convicted of bribery last month. Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, another Democrat, was found guilty of bribery and conspiracy in January. Democratic Sen. Shirley Huntley was convicted of mail fraud last year, and pleaded guilty to falsifying evidence in an attempt to cover up the theft of taxpayer money. One of Bruno’s successors as Senate majority leader, Pedro Espada Jr., a Democrat, was found guilty of embezzling from health care clinics in 2012. Republican Sen. Nicholas Spano pleaded guilty in 2012 to tax evasion. Democratic State Comptroller Alan Hevesi was convicted in 2011 on charges connected with a pay-to-play scheme involving the state pension fund. Sen. Carl Kruger, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to corruption and bribery in 2011.
That’s only a partial list of New York’s law-breaking lawmakers, who have left a lasting tarnish on the Legislature’s image. In a scathing 98-page report issued last December, the Moreland Commission identified a host of potentially illegal acts by legislators, but did not name names.
Cuomo ran for governor in 2010, in part, on a campaign to clean up Albany politics. The commission was a step in the right direction.
We agree with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that the commission, comprising district attorneys from across the state, should have been allowed to continue its work. Bharara called its demise “premature.” The Legislature, which has proven that it should not be left to police itself, needs independent oversight. We are pleased that Bharara has seized the commission’s case files and is considering taking over its mantle.