[su_dropcap style=”flat”]C[/su_dropcap]ORRUPTION BY elected officials shows no sign of abating anytime in the near future. Corruption on the part of elected state and local government officials is not confined to any one region or type of elected or appointed official. It is a national problem as demonstrated by several recent examples.
In New York a significant number of elected legislators have been convicted. The taint of corruption has reached into the executive branch of state government. It has been announced that a close friend and former top aide to Governor Cuomo has been targeted by federal prosecutors alleging that he illegally diverted tens of thousands of dollars from state vendors for his personal use. In New York City, the Mayor of New York City and a number of senior level NYPD police officers are currently under investigation. In Texas, almost every single elected official of a town has been arrested by the FBI on bribery charges. What is particularly troubling with municipal corruption is the fact that it has become systemic to various departments of local government. Every few years we see various municipal and state inspectors paraded out in handcuffs for exactly the same crimes as their predecessors. Currently, within the New York City Police Department we are witnessing an example of institutional corruption where two individuals were able to allegedly corrupt a number of assistant and deputy chiefs from diverse commands. Clearly their arrogance in believing they would not get caught overcame their fear of incarceration.
In sentencing former New York Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, Federal Judge Valerie Caproni stated:
I hope that the sentence I’m going to impose on you will make the next politician hesitate just long enough before taking a bribe or a kickback for his better angels to take over. Or if there are no better angels, and for some people there are not, then maybe his fear of living out his golden years in an orange jumpsuit will put him in the straight and narrow.[su_spacer]
Certainly powerful words, but it is doubtful that they will have any significant deterrent effect as long as politicians in New York State or any state’s elected officials for that matter, are permitted to conduct government business with a combination of poor transparency, weak financial disclosure requirements and the so-called “Three Men in a Room,” the concentration of political and legislative power in the hands of a select few.
[bctt tweet=”In order to effectively mitigate official corrupt we need to protect the future by learning from the past.” via=”no”]
Arrogance, ambiguity and temptation are difficult to overcome.
Corruption may never be eliminated from the public sector, but it certainly can be mitigated. As long as there exists a combination of the lack of political and legislative transparency in combination with an equal lack of interest in the development and enforcement of meaningful, anti-corruption and financial disclosure laws, the “Bad Angels” will win every time.