United States Attorney Preet Bharara is expected to indict Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday, January 2nd of next year. Sources familiar with the US Attorney say that he is waiting until after the holidays to make the indictment, “to encourage the idea of bringing back civility to the public sphere.”
“He is a class act, with the values of a solid upbringing and good family,” the source says of Bharara. “He is an immigrant with a real passionate idealism about America and our government and how our politics is supposed to work.”
Bharara was born in Punjab, India in 1968 and grew up in suburban New Jersey before attending Harvard University and Columbia Law School. His handling of public corruption has earned him bipartisan praise and admiration. It has also riled the contributor class and outraged Albany area operatives, who see Bharara as a threat to their grip on power.
“He is humble and doesn’t flaunt or grandstand like Spitzer did,” the source notes. “Given Spitzer’s more wealthy upbringing, you would expect the opposite.”
The culture contrast between Bharara and New York’s political establishment couldn’t be more striking. The state has long been victim of a particularly gritty and vindictive political culture, motivated by self dealing and oriented around the control of graft. It stems from the traditions of an old world, ethnic, ward style politics characterized by tribal territorialism and popularly depicted on the big screen in The Gangs of New York.
Public corruption has become so overtly the norm among our politicians, political operatives, and government appointees that they have trouble seeing the impropriety in it. Conflicts of interest seem never to matter and campaign contributions, in an overt way, dictate policy positions and speed government actions.
In a place like Buffalo, where 54 consecutive years of decline have left our private sector obliterated and stumbling along on a slew of government supports, the corruption has become particularly pronounced. It is exacerbated by downtrodden attitudes and hardened blue collar crassness.
A government-heavy economy where politicians exert unseemly levels of influence over who does and doesn’t have access to the only good paying jobs in town, means that even our most low level elections become visceral and bloodthirsty wars for patronage — rarely contests about ideas or direction.
The culture has become so corrupted that both Silver and Skelos have had trouble articulating a sensible defense. They could only argue that the outrageous behavior wasn’t illegal because it was always widely done.
They found out the hard way that Preet gets his man.
Next year, we hear that he’s working Saturdays, too.