NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It was the ultimate putdown of state lawmakers caught in the corruption spotlight. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said they’re not qualified to get real jobs.
The circus has returned to Albany.
The man known in some parts as “El Bloombito” took out his rapier to cut state lawmakers down to size with a jab only a self-made billionaire could fire off, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Friday.
“The average legislator who has to make policy on things that influence our lives, our kids’ lives, our future, would they ever get a job in the private sector making policy on big things? No, not a chance,” Bloomberg said.
After a week of almost non-stop corruption revelations, including charges that Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson took bribes to write a bill to help his friends, Bloomberg also included Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his revulsion of all things Albany, implying that one of the things that aids corruption is the practice of the governor sending lawmakers something called a “message of necessity” so a bill can pass quickly, without anyone having a the chance to study it.
“Why can’t you give it time? Well, the answer is they don’t want anybody to see it. That’s the only explanation,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor’s criticism came as some said the charges against a bevy of politicians, including state Sen. Malcolm Smith, are just the beginning. Sources told Kramer the feds would like to get Smith to rat out his colleagues.
“In my opinion, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t take a genius to realize there’s something not right,” state Sen. Tony Avella said.
And Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who just this week brought charges against Sen. Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and her deputy, two Republican party big wigs and Assemblymen Stevenson and Nelson Castro, made it clear he’s got others in his sights.
“Law enforcement will use every aggressive and creative tool at our disposal — wire taps and confidential informants and undercover agents and stings,” Bharara said.
The prosecutor said that given the allegations in the cases he’s brought this week, he’s got some pointed questions he wants answers to, including finding out how many bills were born of bribery and how many items in the state budget got there because money changed hands.
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