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Sunday, January 25, 2009

EDITORIAL: Bruno's indictment should spur ethics reform

EDITORIAL: Bruno's indictment should spur ethics reform
The Tonawanda News - North Tonawanda, NY January 25, 2009

— It’s time for a quick check on the definition of the verb “to consult.” Average Americans might consult a friend about the merits of a particular shirt or blouse: “Does this make me look fat?” They could fairly consult an attorney when drafting a will. It would be reasonable to consult a physician if having persistent medical problems, or a trusted mechanic if buying a used car. All legitimate consultations to be sure. Sometimes the advice is free; sometimes it comes at minimal cost. One does not, however, seek the paid “consultation” of a major political figure if they have business before this person, on say, how best to ensure the favorable advancement of said business. And average Americans certainly don’t pay millions for the “advice.” But in New York politics, words don’t even mean what they’re supposed to, so this should come as no shock. Take retired state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, whose political consulting charade netted him some $3.2 million in “consulting fees” from interested parties with lucrative businesses under Bruno’s control — when he wasn’t dispensing advice on how to get things passed. 

As one of Albany’s infamous three men in the room, hardly a penny spent by this state didn’t require at least his knowledge, if not outright backing. Bruno, of course, was finally indicted Friday by federal prosecutors who allege he took the huge sums of money improperly and without disclosing to the public his personal financial ties to the very interests he was tasked with overseeing. The only surprising thing about Friday’s news is that it took this long for prosecutors to slap him with the charges.

Joe Bruno was and always will be an embarrassment. A professional huffer-and-puffer, he fawned outrage in front of television cameras any time someone he didn’t like did something he didn’t approve of — an almost daily occurrence for the better part of two decades in office. All the while, he was peddling his own power and parlaying it into lucrative “consulting” fees in the back room. We find it hard to believe that any advice from such a world-class blowhard was worth $3.2 million, except for the tremendous influence he had over the way our money was spent. 

Joe Bruno should get his day in court, then he should get his term in prison. Gov. David Paterson should take this as only the most recent example of rampant corruption in the state capital and force the issue of ethics reform. Public servants shouldn’t also be private consultants. Lawmakers should be made full-time and a law should force them to declare all non-state business to the public. The law should go even further, allowing for the ouster of members found in violation by a bipartisan ethics committee. Otherwise, we’re just waiting for the next Joe Bruno to come along.


Anonymous said...

well it SHOULD spur action but these ghastly political scandals always seem only to quiet the roars of the crowds; to make it LOOK like heads are really rolling.

Anonymous said...

Really "tough' newspaper blustering. Stop this media hypocrisy. There is plenty of stuff on corrupt judges and court cases to report,but newspapers avoid the topic. Bruno exists because Silver exists and Kaye existed and Lippman exists. Time for the media to get off their rears and report judicial corruption and both Silver and Bruno's deals. Report the judicial cases involving Cuomo protecting corrupt judges and public officials.

Anonymous said...

Something might happen if this Bruno story gets uglier. Wouldn't that be nice......

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of a connection between Bruno and the Westchester Matrimonial and Family Courts.
Montagnino, Donovan etc?

Anonymous said...

I emailed the Judiciary Committee from the list on the right.
FYI - this email bounced back

Anonymous said...


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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2
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