As you already know from this week’s print edition of Artvoice, former Erie County D.A. Mark Sacha gave testimony before the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption which is charged with, among other things, investigating chronic and widespread violations of the election law and corruption in political campaigns. Sacha is speaking truth to power, and if anyone should be paying close attention, it’s this particular commission with respect to this particular problem.
I am here to advise the public and the voting citizens of New York of the “elephant in the room”, the hypocrisy which has not yet been addressed before this Commission. Election fraud and public corruption are not prosecuted properly, not because of a lack of laws in this State, but by a lack of will. The sad reality is that District Attorneys are political. Many have horrible conflicts of interest, which affect their ability to act. In order to reach their position, they make alliances, accept money and cut political deals with other politicians. They reach their goals through these people.
The public has the right to know the truth based on my own personal experience. In 2008, I conducted an investigation that uncovered widespread criminal election law violations by a number of individuals, including Steven Pigeon, a person who has close political ties to Pedro Espada, Governor Cuomo, former Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark, and present District Attorney Frank Sedita, who is also a member of this panel. I personally handed Mr. Sedita a 53 page memo outlining the facts surrounding my 2008 investigation.
As a result of my attempt to do the right thing and hold Mr. Pigeon accountable, I was retaliated against by his friend, Frank Sedita. When I informed the public of Mr. Sedita’s hypocrisy and misconduct, I was fired.
Now four years later, the same pattern of misconduct is occurring in Erie County. The September 22, 2013 edition of the Buffalo News contained a lengthy article detailing new allegations of illegal conduct by Pigeon. Current election campaigns are wrought with allegations of false filings, straw donors and donations which exceed contribution limits. This Commission has received a complaint about Mr. Pigeon. These allegations of corruption in Erie County have gone on for years.
Prosecuting the powerless is easy. The real test is when you are asked to investigate the powerful. District Attorney Sedita has failed the test.
Chronic, widespread illegality that no one investigates or prosecutes. Ever. This is the stuff of banana republics. The only things missing are the gold cars and epaulets.