Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cuomo Covers Himself In Glory

The local news has been full of the swearing-in of our new goveror, Andrew Cuomo (lovely girlfriend at his side). But, oddly enough, none of the news coverage mentioned this.

As Cuomo left his office as Attorney General to be sworn in an the new NY Governor, he agrees to a CIVIL (not criminal) deal with financier Steven L. Rattner, a guy suspected of paying a kickback...."improperly paid off a political operative to win lucrative business from the New York state pension fund - in one case, by arranging to help distribute a low budget film for the brother of a pension fund official...." (NYT June 1, 2010.) Criminal investigations mean you might get jail. Civil investigations means you only get financial penalties. I don't need to tell you that there is a big difference between jail and money fine. This story is not about small money, this is about big money.

Any idea what would happen to YOU in an kickback scheme? First, you know you would be investigated criminally (bribery?) What did Rattner get? Rattner was granted immunity from prosecution in the criminal case (according to an earlier NY Times story dated June 1, 2010) for testifying before a grand jury. In other words, he got a sure fire "get out of jail free card" to testify. I don't know if he is guilty or not...but is this the right way to address this matter? Immunity to the guy alleged to be giving the kickback(s)? Usually the 'main guy' is the one who does NOT get the is the small fish who do...and not the one who makes all the money.

[. . . ] Rattner is also barred for 5 years from "appearing in any capacity before a public pension fund." (NYT) Big deal. That is window dressing. That doesn't hurt. 5 years? That is silly. He no longer needs to do this.

You can do stuff like this in a state that is overwhelmingly Democrat -- they all still think it's the Republicans who are in bed with Wall Street.

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