Albany's Lofty Standards

The tension has reportedly been growing between Sheldon Silver and Eliot Spitzer over where to find the replacement for Alan Hevesi.

Silver is reportedly in favor of having a new comptroller come from within his conference, while Spitzer — he of the “everything changes” school of politics — is leaning towards someone from the private sector.

One Assembly Democrat I talked to made the Silver argument by suggesting that it was simply a matter of finding someone who, by virtue of having run for public office, had been thoroughly checked out beforehand.

“By running for office, you get vetted. I don’t know how vetted you get in the financial industry,” this lawmaker said.

A candidate from the private sector might have a clean record, the lawmaker suggested, but could still run into problems as soon as he or she was required to disclose business dealings, financial holdings and clients, which may include “companies that are legitimate companies, but in our world, wouldn’t fly.”

Of course, that’s sort of assuming that Spitzer might actually be too inept to conduct his own background check, or that he might somehow be inclined to select someone, after finally having gotten the Hevesi mess behind him, whose nomination will spark a whole new controversy. It also ignores the fact that state officials drawn from the private sector have done quite well elsewhere, even when they haven’t gone through the searing experience of running for office.

Am I missing something?

– Azi Paybarah