Lots of people losing sleep over Kruger indictment

Around the first of every year, I write my annual predications. Inevitably, I predict a sure thing: that a member of the New York state Legislature will be indicted. I have not yet been wrong. Now that everyone from the governor to the FBI is working hard to clean up the cesspool known as Albany, I should up the ante and predict that several legislators will be indicted. I have good reason to suspect that there are a lot of nervous people around Albany who are now painfully aware that the FBI was listening in on their telephone conversations with state Sen. Carl Kruger and lobbyist Richard J. Lipsky.

How can people risk everything they have, knowing others have been convicted and sentenced for doing the same thing? My interest is now piqued by the two players in the latest travesty. The big fish is faux Democrat Kruger who I’ve long referred to as “the bad Kruger” in order to differentiate him from another Senator, Liz Krueger or “the good Krueger.” Carl Kruger has always been a shady character while Liz Krueger has always been the shining light of those in the Legislature pushing for reform and for the rights of the disenfranchised.

Now that Carl Kruger has been arrested by the feds for selling his office on a rather spectacular basis, all kinds of people are running around saying things like “We all knew he was dirty for years.” Incredible — you put your office up for sale, people know about it and it continues until the FBI gets interested. Wow! Now we are told that this was only the first shoe to drop and there’s more to come. I imagine that those people who worked the system without ever going over the line are going to be very angry at Kruger and Lipsky for ruining the game.

The second character of interest is Richard J. Lipsky. Years ago, I knew a good government type who made headlines by suggesting that lobbyists were the handmaidens of legislators. People in and around the Legislature were so offended by this assertion that the guy got ridden out of town. Richard Lipsky was a lobbyist/publicist who is alleged to be the funnel that brought the money into the Bad Kruger’s operation. It’s alleged that people came to Lipsky to get money to Kruger who used his clout to make things happen.

I guess if it takes 10 years for the feds to catch up with you (God forbid the state authorities should actually do something) you might get the idea that you can operate with impunity. On the other hand, why in the world would anyone do anything wrong when you know that sooner or later the pendulum will swing and some prosecutor, looking to clean things up or even just for headlines, will come after you, guns blazing.

Lots of people are losing sleep over this, examining every move they have made on behalf of their clients. We all know how it works. The lobbyists direct money into the campaigns of legislators who give them “access” or even direct service in return. Explicit promises aren’t necessarily made, because if the legislator is heard talking to the lobbyist and agreeing to a quid pro quo they are both toast. The smart ones know better. There is always an understanding about these things. But every once in a while, some of these characters throw caution to the wind and they are the ones who end up in jail. In this climate, I guarantee you that the judges will be throwing the book at those found guilty. We can only hope that the Legislature, hounded by the FBI, will try to turn the heat down by agreeing to a really strong ethics bill. I bet they don’t. They just don’t get it. Get ready for more revelations. Anyone they catch and convict will be going away for a long time. Put another way, I wouldn’t want to be them.

Originally published in the Legislative Gazette, 3/14/11

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2 Comments on “Lots of people losing sleep over Kruger indictment”

  1. As far as the ethic policy before the state, I hope they include the counties and towns, where we find the farm teams for corruption… and there is no state agent responsible for policing towns and counties: just read my blog!

  2. Research Girl Says:

    Not sure if you are familiar w/the issue of Outdoor Wood Boilers or not but someone should be investigating why NY can not get an Emission Standard passed. Could it be the vast contributions of the Farm Bureau? The NYS AG issued a report, Smoke Gets in Your Lungs in 2005 detailing that outdoor wood boilers could emit 269 g/hr of fine particulate (See Appendix A). DEC has been shutting down OWBs one at a time w/opacity testing. DEC tried to put in place a health protective rule but ended up condoning Phase II boilers that can be certified emitting up to 95 g/hr per Northeast States Coordinated Air Use Management. Too much political pressure from industry fat cats and Farm Bureau. Hello we need clean air. Compare OWB emissions to indoor catalytic wood stove of 4 g/hr. The State of Washington has had an Emission Standard for 20 years. Why not NY? People living next door to these huge polluters are choking to death. 22 out of 33 counties w/air monitors in NY received failing grades in American Lungs State of the Air Report in 2010. Meetings w/DEC have ended w/citizens being told they need a lobbyist. Who is lobbying for the people of NY. What about the children’s lungs? Campaign contributions switch hands and any Legislation based on science heads to the trash can. Corrupt. Whitman Osterman and Hanna send checks courtesy of Central Boiler. Farm Bureau send checks courtesy of Central Boiler. Julie Suarez of Farm Bureau sends checks. Senator Aubertine convinces his guy pals in NYS Senate to try and stop DEC from protecting our air. Then he gets appointed top Ag Commissioner. The boys network really pays big dividends. Too bad for those of us who just want clean air for our children. People need to know wood smoke contains many of same carcinogens as cigarettes — benzene, mercury, dioxins — and yet NYs Legislators take the Farm Bureaus money and close their eyes. NYSERDA and USDA have programs so farmers can get clean energy systems paid for 100%. Why is no one at the Farm Bureau promoting that? Maybe because Central Boiler gives them money and they give it the Legislators for re-elections. Dirty, dirty, dirty —them and our air.

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