Wednesday, December 20, 2006

N.Y. Sen. Leader Bruno Responds To FBI Probe

WCBS TV NEWS

Just when you think things can't get any worse in Albany........Day One is fast approaching..........for both Hevesi........and now Bruno...........andy

CBS) ALBANY New York State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno is soon to be the most powerful republican in the state, but how long that lasts remains to be seen. The FBI is now investigating Bruno's private consulting business.For Bruno, it couldn't come at a worse time. Eliot Spitzer, the sheriff of Wall Street, is about to become governor, and ridding Albany of corruption is his first priority."I wanted to be upfront and assure that I have nothing to hide, to avoid speculation, unfounded rumors, distortions," Bruno said.It can't possibly please Spitzer that the top GOP dog in Albany is now under a cloud, as federal subpoenas were issued relating to Bruno's company, Capital Business Consultants.The powerful GOP leader held a press conference to defend himself."I and my colleagues are permitted to have outside law practices or business interests. My interests outside the legislature have all be cleared and approved by the legislative ethics committee," Bruno said.The problem for Bruno is that federal authorities are seeking to determine whether Bruno received payments from business interests seeking benefits from the legislature or Gov. Pataki's office."They're going into background over the last five or six years and relationships and business interests," Bruno said.So a big question looms large in New York's political landscape: With State Comptroller Alan Hevesi facing the possibility of a criminal indictment this week in the "Chauffer-Gate" case, how long can Bruno hold on?According to political consultant Hank Sheinkopf, "Senator Bruno seemed to be away from the problem. Now he's right in the middle of it. The calls for reform will only increase, and there will be a lot more attacks on the Albany politicians."As for Hevesi, the Albany County District Attorney is in active plea-deal negotiations with Hevesi's lawyers. Sources say Hevesi could avoid a felony indictment -- which a grand jury seems poised to vote on Friday -- by resigning from office and pleading guilty to lesser charges.

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