I Think that the US Attorney Just Painted a Target on Hizzonner Cuomo

With the indictment of Sheldon Silver, it is clear that the US Attorney is going to be turn over some rocks in Albany, but it now sounds as if he is drawing a bead on Governor Cuomo and the Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos:

One day after charging one of New York’s leading lawmakers with exploiting his office to obtain millions of dollars in kickbacks and bribes, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York delivered a stinging condemnation of the culture of corruption in Albany and said the system was set up to breed misdeeds.

The prosecutor, Preet Bharara, speaking at the New York Law School on Friday, castigated how deal-making has long been done in Albany — by “three men in a room” (the governor, the State Assembly speaker and the State Senate majority leader), who work in secret and without accountability to decide most vital issues.

For decades, state government has essentially been controlled by the three leaders. When they emerge from their private meetings, issues are usually settled, with no cause for public debate.

Mr. Bharara said this structure could lead to the kind of corruption outlined in the criminal complaint unveiled on Thursday against Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat who has been the Assembly speaker for two decades.

If the charges are proved true, he said, then “at least one of the proverbial three men in a room is compromised.”

If that is the case, he said, “then how can we trust that anything that gets decided in Albany is on the level

By concentrating power in the hands of so few, he said, good people are discouraged from running for office because they know they will have little influence on important matters.

If you are one of the three people in the room, you have all the power and everyone knows it,” he said.

There is no need to brook dissent, encourage debate or explain yourself. “If you are one of the three men in the room you keep people in the dark because you can,” he said.

Mr. Bharara seemed to revel in mocking Albany and ridiculed the very concept of “three men in a room.”


As an example of such thinking, he cited the former leader of the State Senate who instructed his members to deliver their public disclosure forms by hand rather than mailing them so as to avoid any possible federal mail fraud charges — the unspoken assumption being that lawmakers might have lied on those forms.


But he urged voters to get angry, to demand change. “My hope is that in bringing the case,” he said, “there will be reform.”

“That almost happened with the Moreland Commission,” Mr. Bharara said, referring to the anticorruption panel established by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that was looking at lawmakers’ behavior when the governor shut it down. “But it turned out to be a little bit fleeting.”

It sounds to me like he’s looking at Cuomo very closely.

Leave a Reply