Green Party Decries Crime Wave at State Capitol

The Green Party of New York said today that state Democratic and Republican Parties have become an organized crime family

at the State Capitol.

"Rather than starting the legislation session with the pledge of allegiance, state legislators and the Governor should submit to a lie detector test as to whether or not they have solicited any bribes or kickbacks that day. The indictment rate of state legislators exceeds that of the mafia, but instead of hearing lawmakers demand investigations and reforms to clean up the corruption, they make poor people get fingerprinted to get a few crumbs," said Howie Hawkins, the recent Green Party candidate for Governor.

Hawkins noted that with today's criminal indictment of Senator Carl Kruger, three of the four so-called Amigos who threw the State Senate into chaos over the last year have been criminally indicted. Assemblymember Boyland was also indicted today. Krueger is the second corruption case involving State Senators in the last three months, following former Senator Leibell who pled guilty to corruption.

Hawkins said the skyrocketing rate of criminal indictments and convictions of state lawmakers was just the tip of the iceberg. "Lawmakers like convicted felon Senator Bruno rival Wall Street in their embrace of greed. They believe that their position entitles them to enrich themselves and their friends at taxpayer expense. As Grandpa Al Lewis always helpfully spelled out for the media, campaign contributions are really just legalized B-R-I-B-E-S. We need an independent organized crime task force to root out the corruption in our political system. We need public campaign financing so that the rich and Wall Street can't just buy politicians. And we need to clean up the legally and ethically challenged U.S. Supreme Court," added Hawkins, a co-chair of the state Green Party.

"How can the public possibly trust state lawmakers at this point? We have an organized crime family basically running the state legislature while making decisions about a $130 billion budget that cuts the welfare grant and slashes funding for schools and human services in order to pay for tax cuts to the rich and a $14 billion rebate to Wall Street speculators. When state lawmakers are not running extortion schemes they are out raising campaign contributions in exchange for kickbacks to special interests. When Cuomo and other legislative leaders push for a $5 billion tax cut for the richest New Yorkers, are they doing it because they believe it is the best for the state or because they are rewarding campaign contributors?" asked Peter LaVenia, the other party co-chair.

In addition to the more than a dozen state legislators who have been indicted and convicted in recent years, former State Comptroller Hevesi plead guilty to corruption involving the state pension fund, Governor Spitzer resigned over his involvement with prostitution and money laundering, and Governor Paterson has paid fines and is being criminally investigated related to lying under oath over demanding free tickets to a Yankee game.

The Green Party noted that the political corruption in New York State extended to the minor parties that live off of the two major parties. The Independence Party is facing a number of criminal investigations in NYS, as well as their role with billionaire Mayor Bloomberg and the so-called theft of $1.1 million by John Haggerty during the recent Mayoral campaign. A judge in that case yesterday declined to lift an order freezing the funds of the New York State Independence Party. Prosecutors have accused the party of helping to cover up the theft of the funds by Haggerty.