ALBANY — A specter is haunting talks about the first legislative pay raise since 1999 — the specter of Preet Bharara.
Manhattan’s powerful federal prosecutor has multiple probes stemming from the unfinished work of Gov. Cuomo’s now-defunct Moreland anti-corruption commission — and sources said his investigations could hurt the chances of an agreement between the governor and legislative leaders.
“As soon as a deal is reached, Preet could let loose 10 new legislative indictments making everybody look bad,” said one skeptical state government insider.
Many in Albany are openly talking about concessions the Legislature might give Cuomo to entice him to support raising the current $79,500 base legislative salary, but other insiders warn that legislators should be careful given Bharara’s increased focus on Albany.
The last time a legislative pay raise was authorized, in 1998, the Legislature gave then-Gov. George Pataki several items he wanted, including the law that created charter schools in New York.
But times have changed. Bharara rocked Albany earlier this year when his office began investigating the deal that called for Cuomo to pull the plug on the Moreland Commission in exchange for some ethics reforms.
But if Bharara is investigating that deal, insiders worry that he could open probes into the usual political horse-trading involving the legislative pay raise. Any lawmaker still in office come January would benefit directly from the deal.
There you have it - the law that created charter schools in New York State came in return for a legislative pay raise.
Charter schools in New York started with a quid pro quo.
You want public money for private schools?
Pay us and we'll give it to you.
Now of course the charter operators themselves do the quid pro quos, throwing huge amounts of cash at the politicians in both parties in order to get their agenda passed.
But it's interesting to note that from the start, charter schools were rotten through with corruption.