From the NY Post:
Embezzling $1.2 million in taxpayer cash -- as Bronx Councilman Larry Seabrook allegedly did -- violates even the ludicrously lax standards of the New York City Council.
According to federal prosecutors, Seabrook funneled the money to himself, his family members and a girlfriend by setting up a series of sham nonprofit corporations, which he then larded up with council pork.
But count on this: Seabrook never would've gotten away with it for so long if a lot of his council colleagues weren't neck-deep in much of the same muck.
All members get hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to slather all over their districts. It's a time-honored legislative tradition in New York.
Sure, most of them may not be lining their own pockets (as far as is known). At least some of the nonprofits they fund may even do valuable work.
Nonetheless, it's still profoundly corrupting -- with the bulk of the cash going straight to folks the pols know will be useful come election season.
What's more, it's no coincidence that such a system breeds Seabrook-level corruption. If everyone's gorged with pork, it's in everyone's interest to turn a blind eye to the worst apples.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn is especially culpable: She says she's instituted "reforms," but pork remains her No. 1 tool for enforcing discipline. She was even caught budgeting cash for made-up groups in order to quietly dispense it to allies later.
...at City Hall, Quinn can start cleaning house at once -- by cutting off all pork-barrel appropriations.
Sure, such a move would require her members to start representing the interests of their constituents, instead of acting like glorified cash machines.
But with the system's corruption exposed so fully, she'll have no better chance than this one.
It's your move, Madame Speaker.