Cuomo Introduces "The Public Trust Act" After Last Week's Scandal Fest

Last week, New York government, on both a city and state level, bore witness to corruption in its purest form.

In a matter of days, a mayoral rigging scheme was uncovered that involved the City Council, the State Assembly, and business interests. And then we found out about yet another plan in the Assembly that involved wire-tapping, bribing and, once again, business interests. The Halloran/Smith and Stevenson/Castro debacles revived a question that has driven New York politics for years: is it really that driven by money?

Well, in any sort of political scandal pile-up, the government has to make it seem like it's doing something. That's your cue, Cuomo.

Yesterday, the Governor announced a legislative package entitled "The Public Trust Act" to help fix what he called "a truly ugly picture of our political landscape."

It's basically a round-up of anti-bribery measures, which include: lowering what it takes to arrest someone for bribing; rising the punishment for it; and fining the hell out out of people that see it yet fail to report it. Also, he wants to give prosecutors of the state the privilege of prosecuting grand jury witnesses if cold hard evidence of bribery is on the table, with or without their testimonies.

The only person in the room not too thrilled about the package was State Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos, who argued that corruption, whether we like it or not, is an inconvenient truth of politics: "no legislation can prevent someone from committing a corrupt act."

And Cuomo agreed with him. "You have power, you have money, you have ambition, you have greed. You put all those chemicals in one test tube, you shake it up and bad things happen," he said at the press conference.

Of course, this is true but criticizing an attempt to make this action just a wee bit harder to pull off seems counterproductive.


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Corruption? Self dealing? You mean like this: Obtaining luxury seats for himself and top aides at the Buffalo Bills’ stadium in a deal to keep the state’s only NFL team from leaving.

Another example of Cuomo rushing to pass laws based upon media attention. We don't need fast laws, we need good laws. We don't need a hysterical Governor acting like chicken little. Under Cuomo NY has experienced the demise of 39,453 NY state businesses last year, Cuomo is raiding $1.75 billion from the reserves of the off-budget State Insurance Fund (SIF). Coumo can not even hold on to his democratic majority which is in the middle of a corruption scandal and “show-me-the-money culture” and “pay-to-play politics.” He has disenfranchised the Northern and Western part of New York with his SAFE Act.. He can’t make a decision, either way with respect to fracking. New York has the highest taxes in the nation, is the most indebted state, with 33 percent of income dedicated to borrowing. It is ranked as the least "business-friendly" state in the country and if that were not bad enough NY has the distinction of being the least free state in the union and is called the “Nanny State” with politicians legislating what we eat and drink. Municipal governments from Nassau County to Yonkers to Syracuse are teetering. And during Mr. Cuomo’s time in office, unemployment has risen above the national average. 9% of the state’s 2000 population left for another state between 2000 and 2011 — the highest such figure in the nation," see the study by George Mason's libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center.

Felix Colon
Felix Colon

No. Pure and simple. In one of the most economically powerful cities in the world, money and politics will always mix like water and paper; seeping into each & every crevice. All that can be done is reactive measures such as this one.

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