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Government

NYS gets a Black Eye from the Feds

640px-NIE_1905_Albany_-_Capitol(NYS) Federal prosecutors produced a series of arrest warrants for state and local politicians from both parties in the last weeks.1 Apparently unable to internally police reportedly widespread corruption among state legislators, NYS has been the target of federal investigations into what has been called a “pay to play” culture in Albany – where politicians receive cash in return for favorable treatment in new legislation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is seeking to reassure NYS voters that the problem has been identified and that there will be new legislation to curb corrupt behavior by state and local lawmakers. As a rumored aspirant to the US presidency, Cuomo appears to be in full damage-control mode, as some recent polls show a softening of support for him.2 Even so, Cuomo is trying to weaken expectations for a thorough cleanup through suggesting that corruption is part and parcel to politics.

The New York Times has an op-ed piece calling for public financing of state elections in order to minimize incentives for bribery in the legislative process.3 If demand for money by politicians to achieve electoral success is the root of the current wave of corruption, then campaign-finance reform has the potential to address corruption directly.

While workers and their families struggle to maintain decent living standards, bribery and corruption by their elected officials is particularly demoralizing – especially when legislation is enacted to tip the scales further against employees.

1 “Gov. Cuomo: Latest NYS Legislature Scandals An Opportunity For Reform” by Ken Lovett in the Daily News (New York). <http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2013/04/gov-cuomo-latest-nys-legislature-scandals-an-opportunity-for-reform-0 >

2 “New York Republicans Turn On Cuomo For First Time Ever, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Clinton Is Top 2016 Choice As Cuomo Beats Christie” by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. <http://www.quinnipiac.edu/institutes-centers/polling-institute/new-york-state/release-detail?ReleaseID=1867 >

3 “What Reform Will Require” by the NYT Editorial Board. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/opinion/what-reform-in-albany-will-require.html >

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