New York continues to have the most corrupt state government in the country.
You probably knew that already, but while President Trump was bungling his grammar in Europe, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was shocked and appalled that his economic development guru was convicted in a bid-rigging scheme that steered hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts to companies that had, coincidentally, contributed to Gov. Cuomo’s campaign.
Gov. Cuomo, who has long had a reputation for micromanaging those in state government, says he was in the dark about the actions of Alain E. Kaloyeros, the former president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, whom the governor previously praised as a “genius.”
Perhaps he meant “evil genius.” A lot of politicians have been getting their words wrong this week.
Between the Buffalo Billion scandal and the conviction earlier this year of Cuomo’s longtime close aide, Joseph Percoco, for taking $300,000 in bribes, Albany once again stands alone as the scandal capital of the country.
There is even a University of Missouri study that makes it official. Two professors there have established a database of state corruption that found 28 cases of corruption between 2006 and 2015. Add in two more from 2005 and you are up to 30. Pennsylvania is second with 24 cases and New Jersey third with 12.
The two most recent cases of corruption are especially instructive, because they are more than just the misdeeds of an individual.
The testimony in both cases went a long way toward showing the “pay to play” culture that is the centerpiece of success for Albany politicians.
I don’t see how you can give Gov. Cuomo a pass either, even though he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
I love this quote from Cuomo’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, in the New York Times:
“It’s no secret that we’re a hard-charging administration, which is what has been needed to break through the gridlock that paralyzed New York for decades.”
I’ll give the governor some credit. He banned fracking, got same-sex marriage passed and established free college tuition at SUNY schools. But he also passed the “SAFE Act” — for which he continues to be reviled upstate — after the Sandy Hook shootings.
He also established the Moreland Commission to go after state corruption, and then abruptly disbanded it. It has been all downhill since.
Remarkably, Gov. Cuomo’s approval rating from likely voters in the fall general election remains a robust 51 percent for someone who has been dinged twice by recent scandals.
That’s hard to believe.
It sounds like the Democratic version of you know who.
The Buffalo Billion scandal has led to concerns over whether any part of Cuomo’s upstate economic policy is working.
There has been some progress, but not a lot. About 90 percent of the new jobs created in New York have been in the city.
Elaine Phillips, a Republican running for a vacant state Senate seat on Long Island, has made corruption the centerpiece of her campaign.
I wish her luck, but few voters seem to care.
It is just part of life here in New York.
Earlier this week, Gov. Cuomo announced he will donate more than $500,000 to unnamed charities from campaign contributions made by individuals who have been convicted or pleaded guilty in the two corruption cases.
It’s hard to believe the governor never made the connection that campaign donors were getting special treatment.
At this point, Gov. Cuomo will not be getting my vote in November.
He has had eight years to make a dent in Albany corruption, and it is pretty clear that it is worse than ever.
Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read his blog, “The Front Page,” daily at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley