Politics as Usual?

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New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey (search) has been accused of using taxpayers’ money for his personal pleasure. But what’s been happening next door in New York deserves national attention as well.

Powerful statehouse officials have been accused, and many convicted, of abusing their office as though it were a personal entitlement.  Here’s just a partial list, some Republican, some Democrat:

• State Sen. Guy Valella, convicted for soliciting a bribe
• State Assemblyman Clarence Norman, charged with grand larceny
• State Assemblywoman Gloria Davis, convicted for accepting bribes
• State Assemblymen Roger Green, pleads guilty to cheating on expenses
• State Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell, IV, accused of plying a 19-year old intern with liquor during a sexual encounter
• State Counselor Michael Boxley, pleads guilty to sexual misconduct
• Labor Commissioner James McGowan, convicted of accepting kickbacks for state grants
• State Senator Ada Smith, convicted of disobeying state police

Over the years, Sen. Smith has also been accused of biting a police officer, threatening an aide with a meat cleaver and berating a staff member on the basis of his sexual orientation, charges that she denies. Despite being stripped of her leadership post in the state house, she continues to receive a private car and a $16,500 special stipend that go with that post.

When it comes to sense of entitlement, no one has a bigger appetite than public servants.

And that’s the Observer.

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