The breadth and diversity of the officials caught up in corruption probes include State Senators, Assemblymen/women, Councilmen/women, Elected officials as well as party leaders, businessmen and lobbyists, City council members as well as town mayors and Democrats as well as Republicans.
A few Remarks Of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara – Public Corruption In New York:
“After such a disheartening spate of scandals, it is heartening to see that many people are beginning to take the problem more seriously than perhaps they have until now.
We simply want people in high office to stop violating the law. It seems like a simple and modest request—people elected to make laws should not break them.
Prosecuting public corruption, for the most part, is like prosecuting every other type of crime. As with every other area, we are fundamentally fearless and appropriately aggressive. We go wherever the facts and the law take us.
We have an obligation to investigate vigorously all criminal misconduct no matter where it may be happening and no matter who may be responsible.
No one is above the law, no matter how wealthy or important, and no matter how many votes he or she may have garnered in the last election.
Where there is smoke, there is often fire—that conclusion has become irrefutable over the last few years. And we are duty-bound to go where the smoke is.
We also met recently with leaders of watchdog groups to see if there are other ways we can be effective.
Our goal is to change the calculus of even the most dense public official—so that he or she will finally realize that the reward for violating the oath of office is not reelection, but prison.
We prosecutors will keep doing our jobs—aggressively and collaboratively. And if that means locking up more corrupt officials, so be it.
Perhaps most disheartening is the deafening silence of the many individuals who, over the course of this investigation (and others), saw something and said nothing. They learned of suspicious and potentially criminal activity being conducted in the halls of the Capitol and elsewhere, and they said nothing. No one made a call. No one blew the whistle. No one sounded the alarm.
As I keep saying, corruption is more than a prosecutor’s problem, and everyone with a stake has to be part of the solution. That means the politicians, the press, and the public have a vital role to play also.
First, the role of politicians, of lawmakers.
Apart from refraining from breaking the law, the single most important thing they can do to restore public trust is to act seriously and earnestly to reform the system and the culture of our government and our politics.
Does the press have a role? Absolutely. The press is often in the best position to investigate, and shine a light on, corrupt officials and corrupt practices.
What about the public? That is where the solution really lies. People need to demand more. It is not enough just to be fed-up.
After all, as Edward R. Murrow observed, “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”
View entire Press Speech, click here.
Also view: Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer Speaks at the Alabama Public Corruption Investigation Press Conference, click here.
Dorothy Lafortune asks:
As the paper trail of official corruption on Maine gets longer and deeper, who in Maine’s legislature, or Governor Paul LePage’s administration, will remain part of the problem or part of the solution?
People, our “representatitives” and law enforcement have a choice…and so do we!