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Of Probes and Probity

June 9, 2010

One of the things we aspired to do when we started this blog a few months ago was provide missing context for news developments in New York. 

In this regard, we benefit from having among our ranks a handful of people with the extraordinary ability to recall details from the past and relate those details to current events.  The delightful, albeit quirky, individuals on our team were having a field day this morning in reading two very similar stories in the NY Times and Wall Street Journal regarding the investigation of Governor Paterson and his former aide David Johnson. 

Both papers suggested that the probe, which is being led by Judith Kaye, the former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, was proceeding slowly, if not languishing. 

What struck our folks were the parallels that exist between the “DJ matter” and the infamous Troopergate saga with regard to underlying issues, and the dramatic differences that exist with regard to their respective investigations. 

Both matters involved alleged “misuse” of the State Police. Spitzer was alleged to have used the State Police to spy on Joe Bruno. Paterson is said to have used the State Police to intervene in a domestic violence case.     

Both matters also involved the state Attorney General’s office. In Troopergate, the AG began a probe at some point after July 4, 2007 and concluded the probe with a written report on July 22. Less than 18 days transpired from the beginning to the end of that probe. In the DJ matter, the AG’s office began an investigation and then handed it off  to Judge Kaye, who has yet to interview the key figures, some four months after commencing her probe and some nine months after the alleged misconduct occurred. 

The obvious questions are: Why was one probe conducted with such lightning speed and the other pursued at such a leisurely pace?  And, why was one matter the subject of extraordinary media coverage over a sustained period, and the other matter virtually ignored? 

These are legitimate questions for which NT2 readers will probably have a ready answer or two.  The question we think readers will have harder time answering is this: Why did we all care so much about the purported violation of Joe Bruno’s rights and why do we apparently care so little about Sherr-una Booker’s plight? 

Think about what happened to these two “victims” and the attention that was paid to both matters: Records were released about a powerful politician’s use of state aircraft and it was a scandal that dominated the news for more than two years. A poor black woman was beat up and prevented from obtaining an order of protection, and we shrug.   

What does this say about us all?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 9, 2010 3:08 PM

    I don’t believe that Bruno’s rights were violated. The public had a right to know how Joe Bruno was using government assets, i.e., how he was using State-owned aircraft. Even if his use was totally legal and appropriate, the public had a right to know. It is still stunning that Spitzer was able to turn that into a scandel about his Administration rather than about Bruno’s probably strictly legal but obviously self serving use of state assets. Given what we learned later about Bruno’s use of his government staff for his private business, which seems much more gross than, for example, Hevesi’s use of public employees to drive his sick wife, again, one marvels at the outcome. Remember Hevesi pled guilty to a felony on that, while for some strange reason, Bruno was not charged specifically for his use of staff for reasons I don’t understand.

    As to your main point, no one cared about Bruno’s so called rights. Bruno and Spitzer were still in power then and people didn’t like Spitzer. And Cuomo added to the spice. They just liked the scandal. If Paterson was running for Governor, the investigation would have been finished. It seems no one wants to shoot the dead guy in the middle of budget negotiations. And, no, that’s not fair to either Sherr-una or DJ for that matter.

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