A promising start on government corruption comes to a disappointing end

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Bharara, perhaps more than anyone else, knows the extent of the shady dealings of too many state officials. Last September, he warned the Moreland Commission at its first hearing that “Public corruption, based on all evidence, appears rampant, and the ranks of those convicted in office have swelled to absolutely unacceptable levels.”

The commission’s all-too-brief work surely has not reduced that swelling.

Last July, State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “New Yorkers want real reform, and expect and deserve the officials they put in office to be working to serve the public interest, not their own. This commission will be able to conduct a top-to-bottom investigation of New York state’s government, and move us forward to repair our broken political process, strengthen our representative democracy and give New Yorkers the quality of leadership they deserve.”

New Yorkers still want real reform, but it seems to us that the governor has traded a useful government watchdog for more legislative harmony and only marginally strengthened ethics laws — another disappointingly political quid pro quo.

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