A recurring and regrettable aspect of the records of several recent U.S. presidents is their unfortunate association with close friends and family members who have tainted the chief executive's reputation by engaging in scandalous behavior in the world of high finance.
Old-timers remember Charles Gregory “Bebe” Rebozo, Richard Nixon's lifelong friend and golfing partner, who became enmeshed in a bank fraud scandal. In response to the squalid Nixon years, the country elected squeaky-clean Jimmy Carter, who brought with him to Washington fellow good ol' boy Bert Lance. Carter appointed him Director of the Office of Management and Budget, but Lance resigned after only a year, accused of loan fraud and other illegal financial manipulations. Then there's Neil Mallon Pierce Bush, son of George Herbert Walker Bush and brother of George W. Bush. If it wasn't for his family's prominence, Neil would have spent a few years in the penitentiary as recompense for his involvement in the Silverado Savings and Loan debacle.
That brings us to the 45th President of the United States, Andrew M. Cuomo.
Mr. Cuomo's destiny is to ascend to the highest office in the land, but for now he's getting his ticket punched as a governor of New York State. That entails "bipartisan cooperation" with Republicans, who hold onto power in the State Senate through extreme gerrymandering of districts, the addition of a 63rd senate seat in a conservative district and a goofy arrangement with five renegade Democrats.
Cuomo's carefully-crafted positions include opposition to climate change, especially since his hometown of New York City has fallen victim to extreme storm activity two years in a row, but not so much that he wants to risk alienating presidential swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania by banning the practice of fracking, which releases into the atmosphere large quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas that packs a hundred times the global warming punch as CO2.
Certainly his willingness to run roughshod over those he perceives weaker than himself is a quality which will serve him well in the White House.
There was one missing piece of the puzzle, however. Until last month, Andrew Cuomo had been grappling with the unanswered question: "Who will step up and serve to embarrass my administration with financial scandal?"
Out of the Western New York wilderness came the answer - James Glynn, hanging on to his Maid of the Mist franchise at Niagara Falls by the thinnest of threads.
The Fall of Glynn is documented both in the on-line archives of the Reporter and at the web site journalism101.net. Frank Parlato, publisher of the Reporter, deserves some kind of national press award for his investigative series that exposed the extensive corruption surrounding the renewal of the Glynn lease by the Niagara Parks Commission of Ontario, but he'll never get one, because you see, poor Frank never took the time to finish his degree in journalism.
Anyway, before cuddling up with James Glynn, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a lawyer and former attorney general of New York, may have done well to study up on the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.
The Act specifically proscribes bribery of foreign officials by persons or corporations based here, something we would never presume to accuse James Glynn of doing in Canada.
No doubt the Canadian Niagara Parks Commission chairman and general manager, who both resigned in disgrace, the NPC business development director, who along with four commissioners, was fired, and the remaining four members of the board who were "replaced" - secretly gifted a new lease for Maid of the Mist to James Glynn, and then attempted to cover it up, with catastrophic results for their careers and reputations, because of James Glynn's good looks. No foreign bribery here, no sir.
Now if you commit a crime in the United States, depending on its severity and whether it is classified as a misdemeanor or felony, it eventually just goes away because of something we call the statute of limitations.
Interesting thing is, for all crimes more serious than a misdemeanor or summary (less serious than a misdemeanor) offense, Canada does not employ a statute of limitations. So if there were, theoretically, bribes that occurred prior to the granting of a no-bid lease that profited Glynn at the expense of the people of Ontario, in the eyes of Canadian law, these can be prosecuted next week, next year, or even 50 years from now, and certainly anytime during President Cuomo's term in office.