Bribery vs. Murder on the Ballot

If there’s one thing the Alan Hevesi situation has brought to light, it’s the way that the relevance of an offense by an public official to that official’s job can matter more than the seriousness of the transgression in any other context.

“Alan’s stuff, interestingly enough, is to some extent related to his responsibilities because he’s a fiscal watchdog,” Assemblyman Richard Brodsky told me yesterday.

But just to make it clear when the misconduct is and isn’t related to being a good office holder, the always-outspoken Assemblyman went to hypothetical-land.

“Take your hypothetical case, where a member of the city council murders somebody. It’s clearly an ethical breakdown, but its arguably not related to the discharge of their official responsibilities. Take a situation where a governor takes a bribe. That clearly is related.”

So, bribery clearly is a sign of a bad public official, but murder may not be.

– Azi Paybarah