YankeesGate? SeriesGate? Paterson Tries for Free Tix, Scandal Erupts

patersongrin.jpg Albany's such a mess. Now Fred Dicker at the Post reveals that Governor Paterson "secretly solicited five free tickets to last week's World Series opener, in apparent violation of the state ethics law..." But the cover-up, as always, is worse than the crime: A Paterson spokesman claimed the Yankees offered him the tickets on their own. Two Yankees bigs (both former Giuliani appointees ) deny it. An unnamed Paterson aide tells Dicker the Governor "solicited" the tickets, which are worth thousands of dollars, or at least a blow job...

The New York Public Interest Research Group is stunned by this "violation of the gift ban" on New York officials, and follows up with Jimmy Vielkind. "The Commission on Public Integrity should investigate whether the governor was involved in the solicitation of an illegal gift from a lobbyist," says the NYPIRG legislative director.

To compound the impropriety, the Governor may have sought by the impassioned rooting of himself and his guests to influence the games to his benefit: under terms of wager with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, if the Yanks win Paterson stands to gain an "all-access VIP weekend" in Philadelphia for a New York State resident to be chosen by lottery. This might be used to influence that lucky individual to support Paterson in 2010, thereby perceptibly increasing his vote total.

Alternate punchline here.

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