"Albany at its most sordid"
State Senate leaders manipulated the choice of who would build New York City’s first casino, leaking information and showing favoritism to a troubled bidder that was donating to Democratic candidates and had ties to key political figures, the state inspector general said Thursday.
In a scathing 300-page report on the competition to install video slot machines at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, the inspector general described a chaotic and ultimately doomed process that was without formal rules or objective criteria, and was awash in “unrestrained political considerations,” lobbyists and targeted campaign contributions. [...]
“This report reveals Albany at its most sordid,” said Blair Horner, legislative director of the New York Public Interest Research Group. “Every New Yorker should be outraged. We urge the district attorney and U.S. attorney to move quickly on the I.G.’s finding of possible violations of the public officers law.”
This report, not to state the blindingly obvious, could not have been released at a worse time, with all of twelve days to go until New Yorkers go to the polls.
New York Democrats are actually doing remarkably well in this cycle. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand appear locks for re-election, Andrew Cuomo is stomping tea party anti-everything-of-goodness-and-value loon Carl Paladino, and even the relatively unknown Progressive standard-bearer for Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, is quite comfortably ahead in the polls. On the House side, things are a bit grimmer, but even there recent polls show some improvement in a few key races. That improvement correlates with wider national trends that may, just may, save us from electoral Armageddon.
In New York State itself, it's safe to say, the tea party wave - if there ever was one to begin with - crested a while ago, breaking on the shoals of its own candidate freak show.
That leaves, of course, the Democratic State Senate to piss in the punch bowl. And with this report, that is exactly what they did.
CapTon’s Kaitlyn Ross, who is at a Capitol press conference with Fisch, sent this quote from the IG: “Senator Sampson’s testimony was incredible; I stopped counting the number of ‘I don’t recalls’ after 100.”
From the report:
“Unfortunately, and shamefully, consideration of what was in the public’s best interest, rather than the political interest of the decision makers, was a matter of militant indifference to them.”
The people of New York expect and deserve honesty, openness and transparency from their government, instead they have been hurt by the arrogance of one-party rule. This scandal proves once again that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and makes the best case for having checks and balances in state government.
The Inspector General’s words regarding this corrupt process conducted by Senate Democrats simply could not be strong enough. I encourage the Manhattan District Attorney to conduct a thorough investigation into the corrupt bidding process and into the possible perjury committed by Senate Democrats and their staff in testimony to the Inspector General.
So what about the Democratic candidates? Brian Foley in Suffolk is already in trouble, per Newsday, with his campaign now being run from headquarters. Elsewhere, it gets worse.
The Daily Politics: Dem Hopefuls Running From Senate Leadership Like Seabiscuit Over Aqueduct Mess
Democratic candidates are already starting to distance themselves from the embattled Senate leadership as a result of today's Inspector General's report on the Aqueduct racino bidding process, State Capitol Bureau Chief Ken Lovett finds:
Joanne Yepsen, who is running as a Democrat for state Senate, just said if elected she will not support John Sampson, Malcolm Smith or Eric Adams as conference leaders because of their activities outlined in the scathing report.
Fantastic, isn't it? Going out on a limb here: what are the chances that all those fantastic Democratic candidates we have this cycle are anything other than mortified?
There are some really good people in the Senate. Maybe it's time to put them in charge.