As a former close aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a six-year prison sentence, it's not clear what, if anything, state government can do to police itself.
“It's hard to believe that Albany has learned anything. If they have, they've been keeping it a secret. There have no meaningful measures to reduce the corruption in state government,” said Blair Horner, NYPIRG legislative director.
Good-government advocates have so far failed to advance bills that would better track government contracts and create more oversight of economic development spending in order to crack down on bribery and bid rigging. And it does not appear voters are corruption weary.
“I think the public has become increasingly cynical about what they think can happen in Albany and they're not holding elected officials to the highest standard,” said Horner.
It has been a veritable parade of corruption scandals in the last decade, impacting every floor of the Capitol. This year alone, the former leaders of both the state Senate and the state Assembly have been convicted of corruption charges.
“They often say it's not the crime, but the cover-up. In the case of this administration, it is the crime and the cover-up,” said Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro.
Molinaro has sought to link Cuomo to the case of his former close aide Joe Percoco. Cuomo himself has not been accused of any wrongdoing or implicated, but Molinaro insists the governor should have known.
The governor, when caught, always responds by claiming to have no knowledge. Didn't know Joe Percoco, didn't know Joe Percoco was making calls in the governor's office when the governor was there,” said Molinaro.
Meanwhile, Cuomo's re-election campaign released a TV ad accusing Molinaro of the similar pay-to-play allegations leveled against the administration.
Molinaro has blasted the attack, calling it an attempt to distract.