In Our Opinion: Decision on Silver should spur reform | Editorials

It is said that Diogenes of Sinope liked to wander around and hold a lantern or candle to the faces of the people of ancient Athens, Greece, in search of an honest man.

It is worth noting that nobody has been doing anything like that in New York’s capital city of Albany because … well … what would be the point?

We have previously mentioned that more than 30 state lawmakers have left office under indictment or corruption allegations since 2000, with the prime examples of dastardly doings being former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ex-Senate Leader Dean Skelos.

Both were caught in what we believe any right-thinking individual would categorize as immoral, self-serving and corrupt actions that should have sent them to prison for a long time.

Preet Bharara, who then was the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and is the man who obtained convictions of Silver and Skelos on federal corruption charges, at the time called our state government culture “rancid.”

He was right then, and he would be correct today.

Now, just when we might believe that the lack of ethics in our state government couldn’t possibly get any more depressing, came the news that a federal court has overturned Silver’s conviction, based on a unanimous Supreme Court ruling reversing the guilty verdicts of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell had been convicted on federal corruption charges for receiving gifts, money and loans in exchange for official acts favorable to the gifters.

The Supreme Court’s interpretation basically stated that the favors by McDonnell did not constitute an “official act.” That ruling is what also got Silver his “get out of jail free” card. The same will probably happen in Skelos’ case.

All that is on the federal level. However, there is nothing to stop the state of New York from…

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