Today, Times writer Nicholas Confessore peeks into the bizarre system in Albany where casual introductions between government and corporate leaders are commonplace in the capitol building and are quietly, incredibly lucrative for politicians who double as consultants. This system is slowly being exposed in the corruption trial of former State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno:
Mr. Bruno earned $3.2 million in fees from clients over 15 years and ran his multimillion-dollar consulting business almost exclusively out of his government office, according to testimony and evidence put forth by prosecutors. In 2004, for example, Mr. Bruno invited officials from a state agency, a state university and an education trade association to a meeting in his suite at the Capitol. When they arrived, according to trial witnesses, Mr. Bruno introduced them to David C. Purdue, the chief executive of Asentinel, a software firm seeking business.
The Senate’s chief counsel, Kenneth E. Riddett, told the visitors how much they could save by using Asentinel’s software. But Mr. Bruno did not disclose that Mr. Purdue had promised to pay him a 10 percent commission on any new business, or that he stood to earn a fee from Mr. Purdue for making the introductions.
Just another day in Albany! And remember, it's not yet clear whether this kind of stuff is even illegal up there.