Another GOP State Senator “retires” and staff members “resign” while under investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara
As investigations swirl all around him, the real threat to State Senator Marty Golden’s continuing in office might come from the man Marty beat in the first place, Vinny Gentile
“State Senator George Maziarz's seemingly sudden retirement is the latest in a pattern: He's the fourth G.O.P. incumbent senator to pass on running for re-election this year, citing personal reasons people close to him say have percolated for years....” ( See “Maziarz and the erosion of the Senate Republicans” by Jimmy Vielkind and Josefa Velasquez, Capital New York/ Capital Pro [http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2014/07/8548902/maziarz-and-erosion-senate-republicans]). Of course that is only the lead-in; it’s not the meat and potatoes of Vielkind’s and Velazquez’ article in yesterday’s Capital New York.
Vielkind and Velazquez also noted that there was also the cloud of an investigation into unitemized campaign spending that led two of the Niagara County senator's longtime aides to resign last Thursday. According to the Capital New York report, an attorney for the Senator Maziarz's chief of staff confirmed to reporters on Monday that the aide had been served with a subpoena by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, where U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara inherited the Moreland Commission's files and has aggressively pursued investigations and brought cases against several state lawmakers.
Efforts by Republican sources to characterize all of this as a mere “hangover” from the now-defunct anti-corruption Moreland Commission are clearly ringing quite hollow. This is especially true when rumors have swirled that other Republicans would also be jumping ship for similar reasons. Such rumors have thus far proved to be untrue with respect to State Senators John Bonacic in the Hudson Valley and Pat Gallivan of Erie County. There has even been rampant speculation that the same federal investigators have been looking long and hard at State Senator Martin J. Golden, members of his operation and others close to him. Psst ! Don’t spread this around.... Even though it might have nothing to do with anything mentioned above, one of my “Baker Street Irregulars” called me last night and told me that Jimmy Vielkind wanted to talk about goings-on in Brooklyn, but all that’s happened with that so far is a bunch of Email and voice-mail misses.
The politics of all of this swinging strongly against the GOP holding its own in the NYS Senate. As one upstate paper sees it, “Now, with word of Maziarz’s surprise announcement Sunday night that he will not seek re-election this fall, Republicans find themselves suddenly having to protect a seat they believed, just [a few days] ago, was not in play. *** What is now in play more than ever is control of the State Senate....” (See “Senator’s surprise exit has GOP scrambling” by Tom Precious, 7/14-7/15/14, The Buffalo News [http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/albany-politics/senators-surprise-exit-has-gop-scrambling-20140714] [Note: this article contains a lengthy background portion laying out many of the problems that have fallen upon several GOP State Senators lately]).
WHAT IT MEANS FOR GOLDEN
Frankly, given all the problems Golden, his staff and his crew of insiders already have with the deteriorating situation of an actual “hangover” from the 2013 Hynes Campaign for DA, the Moreland Commission stuff might be among the least of their worries.
Of course, none of this helps Golden’s fortunes in the “local” politics underlying all of this. Governor Cuomo is known to have called NYC Councilman Vincent Gentile to ask him to run against Golden in 2014. So far the ever-popular “Vinny” Gentile has held out. Nonetheless, there still might be a few million ways [$$$$] for the Governor to get more persuasive now that all organized statewide GOP resistance to Cuomo’s re-election appears to have collapsed. With the complicated election proceedings involving various petitions about to begin, a last minute switch to “Vinny” should not be surprising. I'm sure, you'll be among the first to know if that happens.