corruption

Blair Horner: Another Albany Pol Bites The Dust

May 16, 2016

Some of the big news in state politics last week was the sentencing of former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.  Skelos, like the former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was convicted of corruption.  Skelos was sentenced for five years in prison for his activities in shaking down businesses for often no-show jobs for his son.  A couple of weeks earlier, Silver received 12 years for his corrupt schemes that enriched him by millions of dollars.

Another week, another series of ethics controversies in New York.  The week began with the leak of a confidential report by the state’s elections enforcer that alleged that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had engaged in an illegal effort to circumvent campaign contribution limits in his 2014 push to bolster the re-election prospects of some sitting state Senate Democrats, who presumably would be more favorable to the democrat mayor’s city agenda in Albany.

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

Prosecutors have asked a judge to send former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to prison for over a decade while his defense lawyers say he deserves little or no time behind bars.

Tuesday is not only New York’s Presidential primary. It also the day for two special elections to replace the disgraced former leaders of the legislature, who lost their seats after being convicted on multiple felony corruption charges.

Despite the gloom over many upstate New York businesses, there has been one very bright light – its lobbying industry. For decades, New York’s lobbying industry has had an almost unbroken streak of growth – with almost each year setting a new spending record.

HV Assemblywoman Unveils Ethics Reform Package

Feb 26, 2016
Courtesy of the Office of Assemblywoman Sandy Galef

With one good-government leader calling this session Albany’s “Watergate moment,” a lawmaker from the Hudson Valley has introduced an ethics reform package trying to create distance between those who seek to influence the law and those who make the laws. Her effort comes a few months after the former Senate and Assembly leaders were convicted of corruption.

With the conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, one question that remains is what state lawmakers will actually do to prevent corruption.

WAMC's political observer Dr. Alan Chartock offered his thoughts to Lucas Willard on Midday Magazine.


Blair Horner: The Former Speaker Is Convicted

Dec 7, 2015

When former Assembly Speaker Silver was convicted of corruption on all counts, there was also a second conviction: Albany’s way of conducting the public’s business.  From the court proceedings’ first days, it was clear that Albany’s ethics were also on trial.

Governor Cuomo and the current legislative leaders have downplayed efforts for new reforms in Albany, following the conviction of the former Assembly Speaker on seven counts of corruption. 

Former Speaker Assembly Silver is now facing up to 20 years in prison for illegally gaining millions of dollars through his outside employment. The former Senate Leader. Dean Skelos, is in the midst of another federal corruption trial, accused of misusing his influence to gain jobs and money for his son.

Blair Horner: Albany On Trial

Nov 16, 2015

As the former New York State Senate Majority Leader goes to trial and his former counterpart Assembly Speaker is still in court, it has become clear that whatever the outcome, Albany’s ethics is on trial.

Schneiderman To Sit Out Politics For Now

Oct 23, 2015
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says he’s made a decision to stay out of politics for now, due to a climate of corruption and ongoing investigations by his office.

A former New York state assemblyman has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after he was caught in a sting operation accepting bribes from a carnival promoter and two undercover FBI agents posing as out-of-town real estate investors.

  In his 60-plus years as a trial lawyer, Gerry Spence has never represented a person accused of a crime in which the police hadn't themselves violated the law. The police and prosecutors won't charge or convict themselves, and so the crimes of the criminal justice system are swept under the rug. Nothing changes.

According to Spence, too many police officers are killers on the loose, and every uninformed American is a potential next victim. He discusses this in his new book, Police State: How America's Cops Get Away with Murder.

An ex-chairman of New York's short-lived Moreland anti-corruption commission says it has altered scandal-scarred Albany's landscape despite its early shutdown.

Blair Horner: Is Albany Throwing In The Towel On Ethics?

Aug 3, 2015

  Even by Albany’s scandal-stained record, last week was unique: 2 state Senators were found guilty of corruption in two separate trials.  Former State Senate Majority Leader John Sampson and current Deputy Majority leader Tom Libous are now facing prison time for violating the public’s trust.

Given the historic nature of those convictions, it would be reasonable to expect reaction from Albany’s political leadership.  But that was not the case.  Instead of news releases and calls for action, only the sounds of crickets were heard from the state Capitol. 

  Gary Hart is an American politician and a former Colorado senator, serving in Congress from 1975 to 1987.

His new book, The Republic of Conscience, is a meditation on the growing gap between the founding principles of the United States Constitution and our current political landscape.

Cuomo Admits Corruption Cloud Hampering Deals

Jun 10, 2015
Andrew Cuomo
Matt Ryan

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledges that the cloud of corruption over the capitol is making it harder to achieve end of session deals. Cuomo says currently, there are no deals on any end of session issues, including renewal of New York City rent laws and a related property tax cap, or an education tax credit the governor is pushing.

Rich Honen - FIFA

Jun 9, 2015

Corporate attorney, Rich Honen, pays us a visit once a month with some thoughts on headlines from the business world.

This month we'll speak with him about the implications of the controversy surrounding the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

Rich Honen is with Phillips Lytle LLP where he is the partner in charge of the Albany office.

  Another New York legislative leader has been arrested on corruption charges.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Chris Gibson tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that his fellow Republican Dean Skelos should no longer be the Senate leader.

This was recorded before Skelos stepped down on Monday 5/11.

Composite Image by Dave Lucas (WAMC)

A November trial date has been set for a jury to hear the corruption case brought against former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Federal Judge Valerie Caproni set the Nov. 2 trial date on Tuesday after Silver pleaded not guilty to the latest indictment.

Outside court, Silver said he was glad a trial date was set because he's looking forward to being vindicated by a jury.

He said he feels no different about the indictment after prosecutors added a new claim against him last week.

4/16/15 Panel

Apr 16, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC's Alan Chartock, SUNY Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Professor, Rosemary Armao, and political consultant, Libby Post.

Scheduled topics include EU Google Case; Hernandez Guilty; de Blasio Midwest trip; Iraqi PM on Yemen; Gyrocopter landing on Capitol lawn; Skelos corruption; new studies on exercise.

  With former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver facing federal corruption charges, Albany’s reputation has seen better days.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Chris Gibson tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock several ethics reforms are needed. 

  The world is blowing up. Every day a new blaze seems to ignite: the bloody implosion of Iraq and Syria; the East-West standoff in Ukraine; abducted schoolgirls in northern Nigeria. Is there some thread tying these frightening international security crises together?

In a riveting account that weaves history with fast-moving reportage and insider accounts from the Afghanistan war, Sarah Chayes identifies the unexpected link - corruption - in her book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security.

A state assemblyman from New York City has been charged by authorities with using his campaign funds for personal expenses.

8/26/14 Panel

Aug 26, 2014

  

  Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, Times Union Associate Editor Mike Spain & Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include:
Syria Warning
Ferguson Update
VA Corruption Trial
Drawing Poor to Elite College
Emmy Awards

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

A new poll finds that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is still feeling the fallout from the demise of his Moreland Commission, a panel that was investigating corruption in the legislature. Cuomo disbanded the commission as part of the state budget deal.

wikipedia commons

Halfmoon town supervisor “Mindy” Warmouth faces up to seven years in prison after hearing charges Thursday in connection with allegedly stealing thousands from her campaign committee.

New York's anti-corruption commission that's asking state lawmakers to reveal private law clients has the backing of the state Bar Association, which says attorney-client privilege doesn't bar the disclosure required in 20 other states.

The New York State Bar Association argues the names often are already in public court records; they're just not collected in a place for the public and ethics enforcers to see.

More Senators On Wiretap

May 8, 2013
New York State Senate

Nine more names of New York state Senators and others potentially involved in corruption were made public Wednesday, when a judge ordered prosecutors in the case of convicted ex-Senator Shirley Huntley to make public the names of  her colleagues that she had secretly recorded.

Eight more names of lawmakers  and others potentially involved in corruption were made public Wednesday, when a judge ordered prosecutors in the case of convicted ex- Senator Shirley Huntley to make public the names of  her colleagues that she secretly recorded.  WAMC's Capitol Correspondent Karen Dewitt reports.

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