Paola de Kock
The NY Times reports today that, in an apparently unprecedented move, the commission charged with investigating the weighty matter of whether Patterson accepted or sought five tickets to a Yankees game and then lied under oath about whether he intended to pay for them, has now recommended the matter be referred to a prosecutor.
What an absurdity to see the governor of one of the largest states in the world's most powerful nation embroiled in a “scandal" over five lousy tickets! Consider what Paterson would be prosecuted for:
The commission charged Mr. Paterson with violating two provisions of the Public Officers Law, each carrying a maximum penalty of a $40,000 fine, and violating three sections of the State Code of Ethics, including a provision that bars the governor from using his official position to secure unwarranted privileges, which carries a $10,000 civil penalty.
On Wednesday afternoon, much of the reaction to the report focused on the accusations that Mr. Paterson had been untruthful when he testified before the commission. As the scandal surrounding his administration’s response to the domestic violence case widens, the governor’s statements about his own actions are being carefully scrutinized.
“It’s one thing to run afoul of the gift ban, a civil matter at best,” said Daniel J. French, a former federal prosecutor who served on the commission until late last year. “It’s quite another to have lied under oath, which, if proven, is a criminal matter with far-reaching implications to office and liberty.”
Watch government come to a standstill (questions over inability to govern tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies) as prosecutors plumb the governor's mind (because intent is the key element in any criminal prosecution) and possibly get him jailed …….. not for influence peddling, but for lying about whether he intended to write a check for a few hundred dollars before he actually got the tickets (since he did pay for them in the end).
Now consider the further absurdity that, while we’re supposed to worry about a corporate gift of 5 tickets to a Yankees game, the Supreme Court lifted all restrictions on corporate spending on elections. Every politician should state at the outset that he/she is in the pocket of every corporate interest that cares to contribute; as they would be telling the truth, they should be safe from prosecution. Moreover, in the Court’s twisted logic, this sort of disclosure is the only concession to the integrity of the political process-- should Congress bring itself to require it.
Paola de Kock
I'd love to see a detailed breakdown of where that $931 million has gone/is going.
John Liu for Mayor, anyone?