The federal prosecutor that has turned New York politics on its ear claims that an “unfortunate percentage” of politicians in the Empire State are corrupt.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney who has made headlines this past year by taking over an anti-corruption panel that Governor Cuomo abruptly shut down, threatening the governor’s administration with witness tampering and obstruction of justice charges, and most recently brought federal corruption charges to what many consider the most powerful politician in the state, Sheldon Silver, said he “hopes” the percentage of corrupt politicians is below half.
Bharara admitted however, that it is certainly “an unfortunate percentage.”
Via the Observer:
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, appearing in a rare television interview that will air today and tomorrow on MSNBC, said an “unfortunate percentage” of pols in the state legislature are corrupt.
Ari Melber, an MSNBC host, quoted one former assemblyman Mr. Bharara successfully prosecuted, Eric Stevenson, telling federal investigators, “Bottom line, if half the people up here in Albany were ever caught for what they’re doing” they’d be in jail.
“Do you agree with his estimate, half the people in Albany?” Mr. Melber asked.
“I hope it’s not half. I mean, there are a lot of people who go into public service and are in for the right reasons and to do the right thing,” Mr. Bharara said. “But it–it’s an unfortunate percentage.”
Stevenson, a Democrat, in the act of committing his own crimes, told a federal witness that half of Albany would probably be in prison if they were ever caught committing their own corrupt acts.
The U.S. attorney also claims that legislators “are more likely to be arrested as a state senator in New York than (they) are to be turned out at the polls.”
Meanwhile, Bharara admits that he isn’t finished investigating those other corrupt pols in New York.
“We have a number of investigations going on,” Bharara stated.
“It doesn’t seem like business will be abating any time soon in the public corruption department.”
Indeed, it likely never will in New York politics.