Excitement over last week’s installment of Preet Bharara’s Political Greed Indictment show caused breathless stories, and many editorials to issue. The editorials, all, use a polite “workingwithin- the-system” incremental approach to incredulously nudge the corrupt and the corrupters towards integrity and honesty – which then permits the “blind eyes,” that USA Bharara lamented as un-indicted coconspirators, to remain blind to the corruption they tolerate, or worse, cause.
The irony is that those who accumulate power speak of reforms, after they have neutered the essential exceptionalism that is America: separated powers regime. To a student in elementary school it is clear – to accumulate power is un-American and the corruption-root. Every kid gets it.
In my near 1-year experience as a member of NYS Joint Commission on Public Ethics, I witnessed the effects of JCOPE’s extra-legal controlled existence, over and above that which was infused into the law that gave it birth defects, resulting in extra-legal activities of JCOPE, inter alia, changing the effective date of PIRA’s source funding disclosure to cloak those who gave to a 501c4, with admitted political candidatecoordination equals nothing less than unregulated, excessive and secret donations of “political money” that is tax deductible to boot, and may even permit money laundering of illegal political campaign contributions by foreigners to a “slush fund.” It had been my intention, when I called the Feds in August 2012 to ask for an independent “look-see” of JCOPE, per the MTA principle of citizenship post 9/11 – “See something, say something,” to stay on JCOPE and work within the process to help it achieve what the law allowed it to; but hearing two governors on the radio issuing a calculated insult of my independence was, and is, a price too much to bear for serving the public trust in Casablanca.
That Moreland Act powers were officially considered earlier in the day to subjugate JCOPE’s left-over independence, not free it of illegal control as I sought Moreland powers to be unleashed for, makes for a great Kabuki play called “Albany.” A trademark lawyer would tell you that “Albany” has taken on secondary meaning. USA Preet Bharara intimated as much. DA Joe Hynes ten years ago spoke of the need for “cultural change” if corruption is to be arrested. Preet Bharara said the same thing last week. I heard Preet Bharara’s “But here we go again. Apparently what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate” statement on March 10, 2011 upon indicting Sen. Carl Kruger – one that I recited while officially sitting on both NYS Boards – IOLA, and later, JCOPE- saying I hear USA Bharara loudly and clearly.
It didn’t matter. The cancer is cellular, and has metastasized. All one can hope for is that our great USA Preet Bharara will become a cancer surgeon and continue to roll out new installments, albeit, with a quicker drumbeat, and thereby arresting New York’s corruptioncancer such that the body politic has a “ribbon of clean cells” around the political class. Otherwise, Jane and John Q Public who have given up – see our dismal % of registered voters actually voting – will not re-engage with, nor believe in, Lincoln’s government “for the people. ” Before any so-called “reforms” are accepted, let there be a public confession, like Lady Macbeth’s unclean hands seen in public, for the singular reform-pledge broken in, and by, Albany to Mayor Koch – the Independent ReDistricting Pledge – when 10-year Incumbency-Protection Plan was signed into law a year ago to great scripted support of Goo-Goos – Palace Puppies all who roll over and do tricks for their power-masters – is a glaring truth that is Albany.
Public financing can be a great way to rob the public – I recall in November 2003 then DA Bob Morgenthau, the world’s District Attorney, prosecuting and a just jury, that looked to the evidence and not reputation in convicting a City Councilman, Sheldon S. Leffler, despite his great witnesses in court, for having his real estate contributor, Ms. Stark, break up her obese $10,000 illegal political contribution into $250 checks and money orders so as to rob the public’s match funds pot. Our media, driven by a 24 hour news cycle, twitter-length stories, and lack of any time for investigations and deliberation have bankrupted their vital function to protect society from the three branches of government.
The Fourth Estate’s reckless speed matches its financial insolvency, while we all see Rome burn and the front pages carry press release-based stories of new laws and “best thing since sliced bread” a la Malcolm Smith. The lack of oversight by the Fourth Estate is the greatest gift to the corrupt and the corrupters – no one is seeing what is in open sight: control-cancer leads to diminishing America’s exceptionalism and threatens to make us a third world Banana Republic. No less than Thomas Jefferson warned that “eternal vigilance” is the price of liberty. Who will help us be free of phony reforms dished out by “blinded eyes” in Casablanca?