Wednesday, December 26, 2007

If This Is Governor George Pataki

December 26, 1995 -- ALBANY - Gov. Pataki is endangering the recovery of potentially crucial e-mail evidence relating to the Dirty Tricks Scandal by refusing to give investigators the names of Internet service providers used by himself and his aides, sources said.

The refusal has blocked the Assembly Investigations Committee from issuing subpoenas to ISPs for personal BlackBerries and other e-mail-equipped devices known to be used by Pataki and his senior aides.

"I sent [Pataki counsel] Mike Finnegan a letter asking for the names of the ISPs in October, and he hasn't even answered me," said Assembly Investigations Committee Chairman Richard Brodsky.

"Then we sent out a subpoena for the information, and the governor is fighting that in court. I can't just send out a general subpoena to Yahoo! or Hotmail or AOL or Road Runner. I need to know what ISPs are being used by the governor and his aides."

Pataki's refusal to identify the ISPs has led Assembly and non-Assembly probers to fear that crucial scandal-related evidence has been, or will soon be, destroyed.

A senior official involved in the investigation said "some of the ISPs only hold copies of e-mails for 30 days, some hold them for 60 days, and maybe some for six months.

"What you have here, I believe, is the governor running out the clock on the evidence," the official continued.

Pataki's spokeswoman, Zenia Mucha, insisted that the governor and his aides had preserved all "relevant materials" and were resisting the Assembly's requests for information only because "state law makes it clear that it is improper for the Assembly - an equal branch of government - to investigate the executive branch."

The scandal, which is also being probed by the state Public Integrity Commission and the Albany District Attorney's Office, involved the use of the State Police by top Pataki aides last spring to gather purportedly damaging information on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the governor's chief political opponent.

That's part of Fred Dicker's story today from The New York Post altered to reflect the same circumstances for 1995, Governor Pataki's first year in office.

If this is Governor Pataki, and not Governor Spitzer, at the center of the Dirty Tricks scandal certain reporters who cover state government wouldn't be so arrogantly dismissive of it.

If this is Governor Pataki the Albany County District Attorney wouldn't be a bumbling incompetent.

If this is Governor Pataki we'd read editorial after editorial from The New York Times calling for his impeachment and removal from office.

If this is Governor Pataki so-called good government groups such as NYPIRG, League of Women Voters and Common Cause would be screaming about ethics and transparency.

If this is Governor Pataki the state Public Integrity Commission wouldn't be a bunch of stonewalling stooges, but a "bi-partisan" Commission looking to nail a freshman Governor elected with 49 percent of the vote.

If this is Governor Pataki the media and "good government" phonies wouldn't be giving the Acting Superintendent of the State Police a free pass for his gross ethical transgressions.