Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Mayor: Bribery Arrests Further Highlight System's Flaws

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After a head-spinning few days in city politics, it's the beginning of the blame game of who is behind the unsettling corruption, and you may be surprised who Governor Andrew Cuomo said could be part of the problem. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

For those following New York political scandals, it was a week to remember.

Two different plots. Three local elected officials arrested, with another resigning. Four other political leaders also facing charges.

"I don't think it can get worse," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "You can only have every two days, another scandal."

Bloomberg blamed the lack of competition in party primaries.

But Governor Andrew Cuomo may be wondering if the mayor himself may bear some indirect responsibility.

Without naming names, Cuomo lamented how much money had seeped into running for office.

"You shouldn't be able to, or you shouldn't have to, buy your way onto the ballot," Cuomo said. "Rich men do it legally. Other people have done it illegally. But that isn't what politics is supposed to be about."

Cuomo's office wouldn't elaborate on what he said. Neither did Bloomberg's office.

But the arrests have even Bloomberg's allies taking a harsher look at his own trio of mayoral bids, particularly the millions he dished out as he landed various party ballot lines.

With scandals like these, it's hard for the public not to become cynical, and that scares government reformers. They said this is precisely the time for the state to enact new ethics laws."

Lawrence Norden of NYU's Brennan Center for Justice said Albany must lower campaign donation limits.

"Look, you're never going to prevent corruption from ever happening, but what you can do is change the culture," Norden said. "So if the culture is, 'Money is all important, and all day long, all I'm doing is spending time with big money interests, special interests to make sure that I get that money,' that has an effect on everything."

Bloomberg said it can't get any worse.

But you can't be sure. Former Assemblyman Nelson Castro helped federal officials bust a colleague by wearing a wire. In a statement, he said he's cooperating in other investigations, too. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP