US Attorney: There's "corruption" in the executive branch in New York

Even our regular readers who live outside of New York are probably becoming familiar with the name Preet Bharara by now. The US Attorney charged with keeping the government honest in the Empire State (no mean feat on the best of days) has been a very busy man for the past few years. Bharara already sent the state’s top Democrat in the legislature on his way to prison and followed that up by delivering one of New York’s senior Republicans to be his cellmate. But as we’ve discussed here in the past, Mr. Bharara’s work appears to be far from done and one interview he gave this week indicates that he’s baited his hook and is fishing in some even more high profile waters.

While not getting into too many specifics yet, Bharara showed up on the Sunday cable news lineup to declare that, despite his best efforts to date, there’s still a stench of corruption in both Albany and New York City. And as usual, the fish rots from the head down.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said “that there’s corruption, we believe, in the executive branches” in New York as he continues to probe state and New York City governments.

Bharara, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” indicated his investigations into potential corruption in New York City government and the Cuomo administration are continuing…

“I don’t think I directed any ‘stay tuned’ message to those two individuals in particular,” Bharara told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Cuomo and de Blasio.

“But what I have said is, ‘We have found that corruption is rife in a lot of institutions in New York and throughout New York.’ That’s true in the Legislature. It’s also the case that there’s corruption, we believe, in the executive branches as well, and we’ll ferret it out wherever we find it.”

There’s corruption… and we’ll ferret it out wherever we find it.

That’s got to have some folks in Albany and at City Hall in New York City reaching for their acid reflux medication. Governor Andrew Cuomo already told us that it’s “unrealistic to expect” that there wouldn’t be corruption in state government, which is a pretty stunning statement, but it’s good to see that these guys are on the same page.

It’s difficult to imagine how many taxpayer resources are currently going into the damage control effort in Cuomo’s office. Bharara is already looking into The Buffalo Billion and a number of related projects which were supposedly designed to spur upstate business activity. But when there’s that much taxpayer money suddenly floating around in the public sphere – particularly in New York – you know there were many hands outstretched waiting to grab a piece of it, and not all of them had the public weal in mind.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has his hands full with Bharara’s office asking all sorts of pesky questions about various campaign finance schemes which have shown up in the press and numerous slush funds that were set up to allegedly promote the Mayor’s many social reform issues. (Not to mention his reelection hopes.) When you begin stacking up piles of cash like that within sight of Tammany Hall, the results are generally predictable.

Since they seem to be two peas in a pod on this score, it’s understandable if Cuomo is leaning in with de Blasio for the common defense and sticking up for him right? The host on This Week asked the Governor if he thought Bill was in any trouble on the ethics and corruption front.

Asked if de Blasio should be worried, Cuomo responded: “You’d have to ask Mayor de Blasio.”

Looks like that old saying about honor among thieves may wind up having some truth to it. When the rats are fleeing the sinking ship, they don’t often stop to toss a life preserver to the slow ones.