JANUARY 26, 2009
One of the most powerful Republicans in New York state politics has been federally indicted with a variety of corruption charges that could send him to jail for decades.
The veteran lawmaker, majority leader of the New York Senate for nearly a decade and a half, has been charged with eight felonies for abusing his position as a public official to steer contracts and grants to businesses that paid him $3.2 million in “consulting fees” then covering the corrupt acts.
Federal prosecutors say Joseph Bruno, who represented Troy New York for more than 30 years in the state legislature, accepted hefty sums from firms that sought his influence as a lawmaker. Bruno also solicited officials from several labor unions with interests before state government to hire an investment company that later paid him.
The veteran lawmaker is also accused of lying on public financial disclosure forms and using state employees to do administrative work, on taxpayer dime, related to his outside business activities. According to a 35-page indictment, filed in the Northern District of New York, Bruno repeatedly exploited his official position for personal compensation and enrichment.
In the document, prosecutors detail numerous instances over more than a decade in which Bruno concealed payments from people and organizations seeking an advantage in state politics. During that time Bruno occupied the state’s most powerful position of Senate majority leader and he conveniently controlled the ethics committee responsible for policing his corrupt actions.
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