Tuesday, May 20, 2008

UPDATE ON THE SPITZER "DIRTY TRICKS" SCANDAL: CUOMO PROBE LEADS TO SUICIDE


The probe into Gov. Eliot Spitzer's use of the NY State Police to spy on his political opponents has mushroomed into a larger investigation into a police unit that dates back to Gov. Pataki, and has spread into the NYS Power Authority. Daniel Wiese used to head Gov. Pataki's NYSP detail, and "was improperly named the authority's inspector general in 2003, under pressure from then-Gov. George Pataki," according to the NY Post (link). Gov. Paterson is moving to fire him, but has to wait until he can replace 2 of Pataki's appointments on the PA's board, whose terms expire next week. This is only the tip of the iceberg.



Another retired state trooper, Gary Berwick, committed suicide. From the NY Post (link):




his suicide note suggesting at least partly out of concern over a pending appearance before Cuomo's investigators. (Spitzer's hooker woes apparently concerned him as well.)



Berwick once headed then-Gov. George Pataki's security detail (as did Wiese) and was close to retired State Police Superintendent Preston Felton - who was fired out of hand by Paterson immediately upon taking office.



Berwick's note, Dicker reports today (link), indicated an obsession with the ongoing Cuomo probe - but contained no admissions of any wrongdoing.




There is more. Wiese's computer was wiped clean the day AG Cuomo's probe was announced, and he had a program on it to destroy any email after 60 days, which may be illegal under state law. The PA has now hired a lawyer who once represented Pataki in a dispute with the legislature, raising some eyebrows (NY Post link), to stymie Cuomo's attempt to find out who deleted the files.



What we have here is the sheer abuse of state apparatus for political power. The way this is starting to look, Spitzer's use of it was as clumsy as his use of prostitutes, but this is actually a much bigger scam he "blew up." I'm thinking that ex- Gov. Pataki might have to speak to Cuomo's grand jury, sooner or later...



My sympathy goes out to trooper Berwick's family, and all the other innocents caught up in this corruption. Cuomo needs to sweep the whole place clean, and this need not be his biggest investigation. It seems the official state "legislative financial" auditor was on the civil service union payroll, and declaring hundreds of pieces of legislation "revenue neutral," when they actually cost the taxpayers potentially billions of dollars in the future. Will AG Cuomo take on legislature/union corruption? That remains to be seen. He's got a lot on his plate with the executive branch scandal right now.

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