By Suzanne Eovaldi, staff writer
No words exist to fully describe the abject wickedness which has consumed Albany, NY as it fails in its sworn duty to protect and honor the public trust! “It is a cesspool unworthy of respect or trust and now stands naked in disgrace,” says NY POST editorial writer Michael Goodwin. (1) The “three-men-in-a-room” scenario of Governor, State Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the State House has ruled for decades, often in total disregard of legislators and ordinary constituents.
But one man and one man alone in that room ruled New York, both state and city. His fiefdom of pay-to-play, show-me-the-money alleged foul play makes Sheldon “Shelly” Silver the guy who has pocketed millions from alleged scams so convoluted that trying to trace their rabbit warrens of corruption can become a near exercise in futility.
And now, this man must face the law’s sour notes in a five count, FBI indictment alleging four million dollars in bribe taking, influence pedaling, fraud, and misuse of honest service. Speaker of the New York House Sheldon Silver, “… monetized public office,” says Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara who heads up an 11 year investigation now bearing fruit. (2) From taxpayer money passing palms for whale watching in an upstate NY lake to thousands of lobbying dollars pouring in from Big Booze, Big Oil, Big Union, Big Real Estate, Big Pharma or Big whatever, if you did business in the world’s trade capital, you paid THE MAN or you didn’t play. “He would make money orders and just ask us to put our name on it,” said one woman who was part of the vast array of faceless shell givers who let their names be used for political gain. (3) And why did Governor Cuomo shut down his own investigation of corrupt politicians called the Moreland Commission?
But as the Democrats’ main go-to man fights for his political life, what will this massive fraud investigation do to the woman who would be queen? That carpet that flew Hillary Clinton into Albany from Arkansas might not slide as easily into the White House, nor may her bags stay as full! As some observers are calling this scandal the biggest, the worst that ever happened in NY, Clinton’s cushy contributions conduit may not be as engorged as it once was. She, herself, may shed some Teflon thanks to Silver’s slide from political grace. “Everyone saw it, and no one cleaned it up,” screams a NY POST headline. (4) “Speaker’s a keeper, loyal Dems insist,” says another media talking head. Mayor de Blasio described Silver as “a man of integrity even on the DAY he was charged with taking bribes of nearly $4 million.” Incredibly, as some in Albany are calling for Silver to quit, many politicians and their operatives either are remaining silent or maintaining support for the man. Will Silver sing like a canary to save his own hide if/when prosecutors take push to shove here? “All I can say is the speaker has the full support of the conference,” said Queens assemblyman Democrat David Weprin! (5)
A 325 page opposition research (op-re) document on Silver slime concludes with Albany’s most serious transgressions. The majority of legislators and voters NEVER get their legislation to the floor in the NY capitol, or experience needless delays, or consistently are shut out, says the confidential op-re doc. (6) PACs for special interests across the board and their lobbyists poured huge sums into Sheldon Silver’s alleged political goals. But even he had to do an about face on law that would have protected landlords who were harassing tenants when pressure from the little people finally got to him. This amazing op-re doc amasses staggering arrays of donations from Big players of every description. Virtually no segment of life in New York escaped the reach of the state’s most powerful politician. We all know what happened when Client #9 vowed to stop Albany’s pay-to-play schemes. Eliot Spitzer went down in the flames of his own lust.
Now, Shelly “Slither” who was led away Thursday in handcuffs may have to stand in front of the judge to give account of his stewardship, or lack thereof, of millions upon millions of hard earned taxpayer dollars. But don’t count this guy completely out. Unbelievably, his insouciance broke through as he stopped to autograph some artist’s drawing of him when he exited the courtroom of his life. Lobbyists, lawyers, legislators, all who bear guilt in this scandal may, too, find themselves on their own dockets of fear and remorse.
SOURCES: (1) (2) (4) (5), pgs. 6,7 NY POST, January 23, 2015 (3) (6) confidential opposition-research document provided to CiR
NOTE: for a text of US Atty Bharara’s speech, go to http://observer.com/2015/01/preet-bharara-blasts-three-men-in-a-room-after-sheldon-silver-arrest/ **read the comments!
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