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Joe Bruno Indicted

by on January 25, 2009

I am not going to play the partisan game where when an official in your party is indicted you ramble on and on about how an indictment is not a conviction, but when someone not in your party is indicted you treat it like a the accused has already been found guilty. When any elected official is accused of violating the public’s trust it doesn’t matter if it is a Democrat or a Republican, it is a bad thing for everyone.

There has been a lot of stories recently about public officials who have violated the public’s trust, some of the more well known stories include the mayor of Detroit, the governor of Illinois, the mayor of Baltimore, and now, Joe Bruno, the former majority leader of the state senate.

In an eight-count indictment, federal prosecutors accused Mr. Bruno of collecting more than $3 million over a 13-year period, beginning in 1993, from a handful of companies seeking contracts and grants with the state, as well as contracts to manage pension fund investments for at least 16 labor unions. In addition to receiving cash payments disguised as consulting fees, he also had undisclosed interests in a race horse partnership and in a computer software firm that had contracts with state agencies, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors said Mr. Bruno used his position in the Senate to take “official action on legislative, funding, contract and regulatory issues” benefiting those who were paying him, although the prosecutors did not cite any specific examples.

Mr. Bruno, 79, was charged under an anti-corruption law making it a crime to deprive citizens of honest services from their elected officials. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted.

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