U.S. Attorney Bharara Publicly Stated --
His April 22, 2013 speech --
"Public Corruption in New York: More than a Prosecutor's Problem"
EXCERPT: "a culture of
corruption has developed and grown, just like barnacles on a boat bottom....So,
what is our strategy for, and our role in, fighting corruption?
And just as with barnacles on a boat bottom, when a growth is permitted to
spread and grow unchecked, it unsuprisingly takes an unrelenting collective
effort to clean it up.
...Now we all have a role
in addressing this problem. Prosecutors, of course, have an important
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 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.
...we have a fierce dedication to political neutrality and
independence--bedrock principles that are particularly important in how we
go about handling corruption cases.
...we have shown time and again that no individual or institution is above
the law's reach.
It's a very simple one.
We bring criminal
cases. And we will bring any case that we can prove beyond a
reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury.
a couple of updates.
First, given the
unmistakable pervasiveness of corruption, we are redoubling our efforts and
will seek to be even more aggressive than in the past...
So what does that commitment mean?
means being as aggressive and proactive on public corruption as we are on
gangs and drugs and organized crime and insider trading and everything else
-- because where corruption is on the rise, that means democracy is on the
And that means that law
enforcement will use every aggressive and creative tool at our disposal
--wiretaps and confidential informants and undercoveer agents and stings.
And, yes, seeking the cooperation of elected officials who can help us
investigate and prosecute their own corrupt colleagues.
It means, also, adding resources to the fight. In the last 18 months,
we have added people to our public corruption unit so that we can be more
...corruption should be an
absolute top priority for federal law enforcement in New York...
...we face a number of challenges even in our law enforcement efforts.
...there is a substantial transparency problem throughout New York
...A government website that
is so difficult to navigate that it is nearly impossible to piece together
any real-life understanding of the information it purports to convey or that
offers millions of rows of dataa but without any context or meaningful
ability to conduct analysis is not that much more helpful than keeping the
information locked away in a filing cabinet.
...We believe in the old adage: Follow the money.
But it is so much harder to do when the money trails are hidden.
...And there are challenges beyond transparency problems as well.
As I mentioned recently, 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.
...And I will say one more thing: speaking as not just a prosecutor
but also as a citizen of the state, New Yorkers should not settle for
something weak when there is an appetite and an opportunity for something
Now, what about the Fourth Estate? Does
the press have a role?
The press is often in the best position to investigate, and shine a light
on, corrupt officials and corrupt practices.
lament about the decline of the local newspaper is that with each outlet
that closes, opportunities to ferret out fraud and public waste and abuse
Just as we and the FBI are adding resources
to fight public corruption, if you run a newsroom, I would hope you would
think of adding reporters and resources to the investigative side of the
business. I bet it's as fun a beat as a reporter can have.
So all of you press folks back there, tell your editors I said that.
Rather than just covering cases that my office and others are already
bringing, figure out ways to break new ground, to cover new stories.
Groundbreaking corruption coverage, by the way, is not just good copy; it is
a path to good government.
Finally, 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.'
The public has to demand more
-- individual voters acting and speaking collectively.
New York tends to have the best of everything, and it deserves better in
this area also.
New York is home to the safest largest
city in America; it should not harbor one of the most corrupt governments in
New York is full of the best
And no state has people who
are more thoughtful, more industrious, more resilient, more demanding, and
more impatient than New York.
And if ther were every a
time for New Yorkers to show their trademark impatience with the status quot
and to show it loudly, it is now."
VIDEOS of his April 2 & 4, 2013 press conferences
VIDEO: April 2, 2013
U.S. Attorney Bharara's press
conference -- posted by NYT
His April 2, 2013 prepared remarks
EXCERPT: "From time to time
the question arises: how common is corruption in New York? Based on the cases we have brought, and continue to bring, it seems
downright pervasive. ...
...many may understandably fear that there is no vote that is not for sale,
no office without a price, and no official clean of corruption.
may understandably resign themselves to the sad truth that perhaps the most
powerful special interest in politics is self-interest.
As I said once
before, every time a politician is arrested in New York, it should not feel
like a scene from Groundhog Day. And yet it does.
Now I think that
we have the best corruption-fighting team in the business. With our
partners in state and local government, in the FBI and others,
we will continue to pursue and to punish every corrupt official that we can
public corruption crisis in New York is more than a prosecutor’s
problem. Putting dirty politicians in prison may be necessary but it
is not sufficient.
And the dream of honest government cannot come to pass
unless there is a real change in the culture.
Because what can we expect
when there continues to be -- even after a parade of politicians have been
hauled off to prison -- a lack of transparency, a lack of self-disclosure, a
lack of self-policing, a lack of will, and a failure of leadership?
What can we expect when transgressions seem to be tolerated and nothing
seems ever to change? New Yorkers should demand more.
prosecutors and federal agents, as demonstrated in the case we bring to
today and other cases we have brought, and that we will bring, are doing
everything we can to proactively attack the corruption problem. And
it’s time that others stepped up to the plate also.”
His April 4, 2013 prepared remarks
events of the past week, I think, raise important questions for everyone.
Where does all this serious evidence of
pervasive public corruption leave us?
Where do we go from here?
What are we supposed to do?
First, the people of New York should be more
They should be angry.
When so many of their leaders can be
bought for a few thousand dollars, they should be angry.
-- How much of the work of city and
state government is tarnished by tawdry graft?
When it is more likely for a New York
State senator to be arrested by the authorities than to be defeated at the
polls, they should be angry.
And they should also ask some pointed
-- Given the allegations in today’s case,
how many other pending bills were born of bribery? And worse, how many past
bills were born of bribery.
How about items in the budget?
Second, while I continue to believe that public corruption in New York is
more than a prosecutor’s problem, we prosecutors will keep doing our
And that means being as aggressive and proactive on public corruption
as we are on gangs and drugs and organized crime and insider trading and
everything else --
corruption is on the rise, that means democracy is on the decline.
And that means law
enforcement will use every aggressive and creative tool at our disposal --
wiretaps and confidential informants and undercover agents and stings.
And, yes, seeking the
cooperation of elected officials who can help us investigate and prosecute
their own corrupt colleagues, where appropriate.
After today’s case,
given the active and long-term cooperation of a sitting Assemblyman, if you
were a corrupt official in New York you have to worry that one of your
colleagues is working with us and that your misdeeds will be recorded and
reported to us and that it will be that much harder to escape punishment.
has been perhaps most disheartening is the deafening silence of the many
individuals who, over the course of this investigation and other
investigations, 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.
Rather, too many people looked the
other way. And what does it say about the culture and accountability
of our system of government when officials are aware of criminal conduct
around them and they remain silent?
So what I hope happens going forward is
that if you are an elected official or you work for one, or you’re
in government anywhere and you see corruption or criminality of any stripe,
you will call the authorities.
Otherwise we will be back here again and
again, announcing arrests, as we have in the past…"
October 16, 2013:
Judge Chides Bharara for 'Tabloid' Press Operation",
Journal, Jacob Gershman
HOLDING GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE
ITS GRAND LARCENY OF THE PUBLIC FISC & OTHER CORRUPTION
(CJA'S CRIMINAL & ETHICS COMPLAINTS)