Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Have you read it yet?

It is remarkably well-written, and it is sinister, sad and comical all at once. It’s the New York State Inspector General’s 308 page report (yes, we have a few pages in the middle to go over more carefully but we are almost done) on the selection of Aqueduct Entertainment Group to operate a slot machine destination at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens.

It is sinister because so many people claimed their right against self-incrimination, leaving the Inspector General to weed through a year’s worth of emails and lunch receipts to find answers, sad because it is clear that no one is coming to the rescue and comical in the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up kind of way (a quote from one lobbyist, when asked whether he had heard from a certain politician about the bidding: “No. He did however ask me for campaign dough today.” (p. 102)).

It is a remarkable piece of research, a richly detailed portrait of Albany’s inner workings and, once digested, discussed and distilled, we hope it will be a powerful lever for strong campaign finance reforms and real ethics enforcement and oversight of the legislature.

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