The Post is reporting that State Senator Nathaniel Exum is being investigated by the FBI, possibly for his role supporting legislation on scrap metal recycling. Exum works for a scrap yard. You might also remember questions about Exum's having stepped in to support a repair shop outside of his district whose inspection license had been pulled by the State Police. I guess we'll wait and see if anything comes of itm but there are a couple issues raised by this and other cases that need to be dealt with.
First, when the story about the repair shop broke a while ago, the head of the State Police inspection division, Robert Bambary, was removed from his position after being quoted in the article that broke it. That smacks of political retribution, given that the two events happened so close together. The assembly needs to take a look at the situation to make sure that his removal from the position was kosher, and not motivated by any political shenanigans. The State Police should not have to operate under the threat of losing their jobs if they get in the way of elected officials.
Second, I think the scrap metal issue highlights a need for the assembly to take a new look at its ethics rules. The article mentioned that Exum was not barred from voting on the bill because it affected more companies than just his own. Seems to me that distinction is ridiculous. Did it benefit his company? Yes. Whether it benefited others as well is beside the point. The ethics rules should be more broadly defined so that the assembly members don't vote on anything that even begins to help them financially. I know it's a part-time citizens legislature. I know such stricter rules would make their legislative jobs more difficult. But preventing even the appearance of corruption is vitally important.