Thursday, December 23, 2010

Patterson's 62K Fine is Bullshit

This week New York governor David Patterson was fined $62,125 by the New York State Commission on Public Integrity--flimsy name, ain't it?--for accepting 5 free tickets to Yankee Stadium during the 2009 World Series. Basically, he shouldn't have accepted the gratuity from the team, since they lobby the city and state and he wasn't at the Stadium in any official capacity. He may have also perjured himself when asked under oath about it.

Meanwhile, former NYC mayor Rudy "9/11" Giuliani has yet to see any fallout from his perennial sniffing of Yankee butt. (Which includes him getting a World Series ring from the team.) This is what has led the Paterson camp and some outside observers to consider the current issue selective enforcement and possibly a political witch hunt.

As for the fine itself, I was initially for it--although the amount seems quite stiff--but, as a commenter on the Yankee blog River Ave Blues, pointed out, if "some bullshit beauty queen hand wave" nonsense buys him a get-out-of-jail-free card, then Patterson is essentially being penalized for being too arrogant and/or stupid to legally break the rules. In other words, if he'd thrown out the ceremonial first pitch or performed some gubernatorial-related photo-op he would've easily dodged the ethics violations charge and the need to perjure himself. Ah, loopholes...

But wait--what good are ethical guidelines/rules if they can be legally circumvented with ease? Until they put some teeth into the penalties for ethical transgressions of this kind I smell bullshit either way.

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