Thursday, June 26, 2014

No transparency on Democratic backroom deals in new State Senate coalition pact

A new alliance between New York State Senate Democrats and an obstructionist breakaway faction was negotiated behind closed doors.

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Democrats make a priority of taking back control of the State Senate over enacting long-overdue reforms to address Albany corruption and ethics scandals

Backroom deals negotiated by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will keep the same corrupt Albany politicians in office, although the mainstream media is spinning this sad state of affairs as a political win for state Democrats.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, highlighted the broken political system up in Albany that does nothing to fully address how a spree of political scandals can be traced back to a lack of government ethics reforms.

Indeed, Mr. Bharara criticized Gov. Cuomo for going soft on ethics reforms, and the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan refused to rule out a probe, if necessary, to determine whether Gov. Cuomo improperly interfered with, and later negotiated away the disbanding of, the Moreland Commission.

"We're going to look at the documents, we're going to see what the facts are, and if there are questions that are appropriate to ask...there are strong-willed and aggressive — but fair — people in my office who will ask those questions," Mr. Bharara said on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show.

During Mr. Bharara's appearance on WNYC last April, he made the observation that it appeared that Gov. Cuomo may have bargained away the opportunity to bring about corruption and ethics reforms for short term political gain.

Fast-forward to this month, and it appears that Mayor de Blasio formed a pact with Gov. Cuomo for short-term political gain to form a new Democratic Party alliance in the State Senate that also overlooks the long-over due overhaul to the state's corrupt political system. Already, some reporters are printing observations that Mayor de Blasio is taking political credit for the new State Senate alliance, but the press refuses to acknowledge that the same corrupt politicians are staying in power.

Moreover, the new State Senate accord reached by Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo speaks nothing to the long string of political, campaign, and public corruption scandals playing out right now from City Hall all the way up to Albany.

One wonders whether now that Mayor de Blasio has gotten the same dirty Albany grime under his fingernails, if that means that by continuing to put reforms on the back burner in exchange for short-term political gains, then Mayor de Blasio is going to be fully seen as keeping the corrupt Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in power in one legislative house, even though Speaker Silver is second only to Gov. Cuomo to obstructing corruption and ethics reforms up in Albany.

Already, Mayor de Blasio is being seen by more and more reform activists as looking for opportunities to prioritize the scoring of cheap political points over reforms. Many mainstream reporters mock the mayor for describing routine City Hall announcements as "historic" and "transformative" that have no basis in reality. Furthermore, many independent political bloggers note how Mayor de Blasio's rhetoric about being a "progressive" neglects to address the need to enact underlying structural reforms to overhaul the broken political system here in New York City. Tellingly, one of the mayor's outstanding campaign promises that has never been mentioned since his inauguration is the mayor's promise made last summer to bring further reforms to the city's corruptible campaign finance system.

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