Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Is Something Rotten In The State Of New York?

Binyamin Rose, with reporting from Eytan Kobre

The Empire State has seen more than a dozen legislators indicted or convicted on corruption charges in the last decade — more than any other state in the union. Are the rules different in Albany?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sheldon Silver was only a college boy when New York’s famed and perennially corrupt political machine, Tammany Hall, sang its swan song in the 1960s. For well over 100 years, Tammany Hall set the tone for Democratic Party power politics. Its north-of-the-Mason-Dixon-Line brand of good ol’ boy politics drew grassroots support from New York’s ever-increasing pool of immigrants. In addition to aiding the newcomers in planting their feet firmly on American turf, Tammany Hall bosses helped themselves to heaping portions of public funds, enriching themselves and their associates through their corrupt political dealings. When Silver, 70, was indicted last Thursday by federal prosecutors for allegedly masking political payoffs as justifiable income from his outside legal work, he became the 13th member of New York’s legislature in the last decade to face corruption charges. The list includes eight state senators and four fellow Assembly members. As of press time, Silver is free on a $200,000 personal recognizance bond and the government has confiscated his passport. Under state law, Silver may remain in the Assembly unless he is convicted. Tammany Hall may have disappeared into the historical woodwork 50 years ago, but the legacy it carved out is one that New York has yet to leave behind. “The case of Silver, who deserves a presumption of innocence, can be seen as motivated by self-enrichment or as an attempt to maintain his control of the levers of political power,” saysMichaelJohnston, a professor of political science at Colgate University and a lab fellow atHarvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. “New York has an individualistic political culture in which there are a very wide range of interests at stake, which leads to deal-making. So it’s not necessarily the case that New York politics has gotten more corrupt. It might just be that the US Attorney has gotten more active in pursuing these cases.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time