Friday, December 22, 2006

Joe Bruno, mystery man

New York Daily News Editorial

Who knows what is going to happen to Bruno....but the bottom line here is.......there is emerging a new ethical standard in Albany........business as usual is no longer acceptable and will not be tolerated..no matter who you are.....the voters made that very clear this past November............andy

"State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is damaged goods. So openly declares even one of Bruno's own Republican comrades - thus quite dramatically signaling that Albany's insiders have maybe, just maybe, decided that everything really is going to change as of Day One, just like Eliot Spitzer says.
For a Senate stalwart like John Bonacic of Ulster County to publicly call on Bruno to step down is a stunning turn of events in a town where disloyalty is swiftly punished. But it's understandable that GOP senators might be nervous about keeping Bruno as their boss when he's suddenly under a large ethical cloud, his business affairs being probed by federal investigators. Booting him would show the world - not to mention bulldog prosecutor Spitzer, their incoming new governor - that they're eager to avoid even a hint of corruption.
Which is a hugely welcome upgrade in the standards of the New York State Legislature.
Whether he survives Albany politics or not, Bruno will have to come clean about the private business dealings that triggered the FBI probe and grand jury subpoenas. He must publicly report the names of his business clients, the precise nature of his consulting services and the exact amount of his fees. It's already clear he let his public duties and private interests mix in unseemly ways. Newly released records of the Legislature's pork-barrel spending show he directed $500,000 in government funds to a company called Evident Technologies - one owner of which, Jared Abbruzzese, was a close enough pal to donate more than $100,000 to Bruno's campaign, ferry him on a private jet and point him to a promising investment in Texas.
Was Abbruzzese also paying fees to the consulting firm Bruno runs out of his home? What about anyone else looking for breaks or handouts from one of New York's three most powerful pols?
Bruno is obliged to make full disclosure. He can no longer hide behind the state's ridiculously flimsy ethics laws, which permit legislators to make money however they want with almost no explanation. In Albany's brand new climate, the public's right to know outweighs politicians' right to enrich themselves.
This applies to, say, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who practices personal-injury law on the side. And it definitely applies to the leader of the Senate, whether that's Bruno - or his successor."

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