My July 25th column hardly supported Governor Cuomo’s plan to root out political corruption in New York State thru the use of a special commission. One of the major critics of this plan has been highly acclaimed and subject matter expert U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, from the Southern District in New York. In testimony just given he offers the following three essential recommendations.
(1) His office will seek appropriate fines that take into account the money a corrupt official might derive from a publicly funded pension so that the punishment fits the crime and so that we can take the profit out of that crime.
(2) Those defendants previously convicted and who have failed to satisfy the financial obligations imposed at sentencing, we will consider federal civil forfeiture actions against their pensions to satisfy criminal judgements.
(3) In pending and future cases, to the extent any public official has a pension interest that accrued while engaging in criminal conduct, we will use federal forfeiture law to claw back an appropriate dollar amount commensurate with that pension, where appropriate.
His closing comment, “Public corruption is rampant….I will not wait on the state to take action.”
Will he be able to actually apply these recommendations? Hopefully so! Will the governor’s commission accept his recommendations and build these procedures into state law.? Hopefully so!