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Prevalent Corruption Under Scrutiny in Albany

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With two more Albany politicians landing in legal trouble within the last week, is there something in the water in the State Capitol that is leading lawmakers astray? Some elected officials are trying to eradicate it the culture of corruption in state government. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Republican State Senator Tom Libous found himself in an unfortunate situation this week when federal prosecutors charged him with lying to investigators.

At issue is a job Libous allegedly set up for his son at a politically-connected law firm.

While he is the latest lawmaker to face charges, he is certainly not the first. There has been an unprecedented level of corruption in state government with ten officials being implicated in various cases over the last eighteen months.

"This is now the 30th legislator to be indicted or leave office because of corruption or ethical misconduct in office. That's two legislators for every year over the last fifteen years. That's an unacceptable number of legislators leaving office," said Dick Dadey.

State leaders passed a comprehensive ethics package in 2011 that set up a new entity to investigate misconduct.

However, that ethics commission has been criticized for weakness.

Last year, Governor Andrew Cuomo created what's known as a Moreland Commission on Public Corruption to investigate the legislature.

After a state budget agreement was reached in April, which bestowed new enforcement capabilities to the Board of Elections, Cuomo disbanded it, however.

The abrupt cancellation of the commission's work is now the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara.

"I think the U.S. Attorney's office has been very aggressive in pursuing political corruption on a level we have never seen before. And I think it's been uncovering activity that has gone on that has just never been caught," said Dadey.

Meanwhile, the indictments continue to be unsealed. Last week, Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa pleaded guilty to a sham marriage in order to gain U.S. citizenship.

"You know, nobody's perfect," Rosa said following the indictment.

The two latest indictments come after the end of the legislative session in Albany. That contrasts with last year, when many arrests took place during the session and lawmakers were traveling back and forth between New York City and Albany.

Lawmakers are not due back in the State Capitol until January, barring some kind of special legislative session.

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