According to The New York Times, authorities are expected to arrest New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R) on federal corruption charges some time next week. Skelos has served in the New York Senate for over thirty years.
Skelos has been under investigation for allegedly engaging in a scheme to benefit AbTech Industries, in exchange for them hiring his son as a consultant. Skelos’ son, Adam, is also expected to be arrested. Adam Skelos also reportedly received a 20,000 dollar payment from American Land Services, a title insurance company, even though he never actually worked for them.
Skelos’ arrest comes three months after his Democratic counterpart in the lower house, Assembly Majority Speaker Sheldon Silver, was arrested on corruption charges, alleging that he extorted money from political donors. The culture of corruption in Albany is bi-partisan.
That corruption runs deep, as the Senate Republican who would be next in line to replace Skelos as Majority Leader is also under federal indictment. Thomas W. Libous is the second highest ranking Republican in the State Senate, but he faces accusations that he lied to federal agents during a corruption investigation. His son was recently convicted for committing tax fraud.
With so many elected officials under investigation or facing arrest, legislative progress in New York State has nearly ground to a halt. Corruption investigations have dogged both chambers of the New York legislature. The state legislature has become a revolving door where powerful politicians enter distributing favors, only to be later spun around and sent out, under a dark cloud of federal corruption charges.
Skelos’ impending arrest hardly comes as a surprise, but it does underscore just how pervasive corruption has become in Albany. Citizens deserve honest, accountable and responsive government. Too many constituents in New York State are being represented by criminals rather than responsible lawmakers. While it will probably take even more arrests to empty the trash in Albany, Skelos’ arrest at least provides hope that prosecutors will continue to root out corruption in New York politics by putting those accused of engaging in it on trial.
Image via watchdogwire.com
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.