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NY State Senator Joseph Bruno’s Case on Ethical Violation Case Study

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Updated: Apr 17th, 2021

Statement of the relevant Facts

Over the past few years, ethical reform is a phenomenon that has received a lot of attention across the country, most especially in the state of New York, where Joseph L. Bruno was once a majority leader. Mr. Bruno was an upstate Republican and a majority leader of the state of New York between 1994 to June 2008. The congressman resigned in 2008 following allegations of violating ethical standards (Gershman, 2011).

In his capacity as a congressman, Mr. Bruno was involved in many business dealings. In 2008, however, he was indicted for receiving more than 3 million dollars as handouts and bribes during the period he was a congressman from a number of companies seeking state grants and contracts. The lawmaker concealed his fraudulent dealings on his annual financial disclosures, often omitting those dealings completely.

Ethics perspective

Individuals who are charged with the responsibility to serve the public trust, such as the political leaders, ought to be cautious to ensure that in all their endeavors, they make responsible as well as ethical decisions. The realities of deadlines demand quick results, bureaucracies, and budget makes it difficult or unclear how to formally deal with ethics (Cooper, 2012). Nevertheless, administrators of public trust must effectively fulfill their administrative duties. According to copper, there are a number of codes that administrators ought to observe. These ethical codes or statements include accountability, selflessness, integrity, and honesty.

According to the case study of Senator Joseph Bruno, the congressman violated all the ethical statements, essentially in his actions and decisions. To begin with, Mr. Bruno violated the ethical statement of honesty. This statement requires public officers to take responsibility for declaring their interests, which are private and which are related to their public duty. That notwithstanding, the senator used his office to amass wealth. Turning to accountability, the senator concealed his dealings in an effort to hide from public scrutiny and the appropriate authorities.

As if that was not enough, Mr. Bruno put his integrity to question by accepting financial favors from individuals and institutions and, in return, used his influence to secure for them contracts and grants. Finally, the senator’s actions were self-centered with the aim of self-gain as well as benefiting his accomplices without any due regard to the public interest.

Accountability perspective

While serving as a Representative, the senator had the authority to control a lot of money in the public and private sectors. Following allegation of fraud and none disclosure of his sources of income, the senator had to resign and later charged with offenses related to corruption. The senator was found guilty as charged (McIntire, 2007). After the indictment, the federal prosecutors accused the former senator of receiving more than 3 million dollars as handouts and bribes over the past 13 years from a number of companies seeking state grants and contracts (Hakim, 2008).

During the trial, evidence was adduced to prove that Mr. Bruno had committed fraud by way of receiving kickbacks as well as bribes amounting to about 240 000 dollars from a certain businessman who sought his assistance in the legislature. In addition, according to the indictment issued against Mr. Bruno, apart from getting cash payments camouflaged as consulting fees, Mr. Bruno also had a hidden interest in a computer software firm and a racehorse partnership, both of which had contracts with state agencies (Hamblett, 2011). As an administrator of public trust, Senator Bruno was accountable to the people who had given him the mandate to represent them. He also had the responsibility to account for his actions to relevant authorities such as the taxation authority and the House in which he was serving.

Often Mr. Bruno described his fraudulent dealings on his annual financial disclosures inaccurately. Sometimes he completely omitted those dealings. Wright’s investment service was his major source of income. Between 1994 and 2006, this firm paid him not less than 1.37 million dollars for purposes of influencing the labor unions in New York to take into service this company as an adviser on matters related to the union’s benefit funds investments (Lyons, 2011).

Wright investment service employees, as well as union officials, were led to falsely believe by Mr. Bruno that his transactions had been vetted by the ethics officials of the state, while in fact, no such disclosure had ever been made. According to the United States Northern District, Mr. Bruno exploited his office as the state senator through hiding the sources and the nature of sizable amounts of payments he received from persons who, in return, benefited from his purported bureaucrat dealings (McIntire & Jeremy, 2009).

Prevention

The imposition of a fine and prison sentence by the court to Mr. Bruno was a landmark step in punishing and prevention future unethical dealings of public trust administrators. Such judgments make the administrators accountable for their actions and reflect the gravity of failure to uphold ethical codes by the public trust administrators. It also promotes respect for the law and prevents other persons from future engagement in corruption dealings (Confessore, 2009).

Economics consequences outcome

Following the violation of ethical standards by Mr. Bruno over the last 15 years or so, he earned more than 3.2 million dollars through fees that he had collected from his clients. All this money was obviously earned illegitimately and also used to run Mr. Bruno’s’ multimillion-dollar businesses camouflaged as consulting firms. He undertook all these activities out of his office as a government official (Confessore, 2009).

According to Glaberson (2011), Mr. Bruno received 1.37 million dollars for purposes of influencing a union based in New York to take the services of a given company as an adviser on matters related to the union’s benefit funds investments. Mr. Bruno further receiving more than 3 million dollars as handouts and bribes over the period he was a senator from a number of companies seeking state grants and contracts. All of which money was concealed from public accounting.

References

Confessore, N. (2009). For Bruno, How Albany Works Is Also on Trial. New York Times, pp.17.

Confessore, N. (2010). Bruno Gets 2-Year Prison Term, but Stays Free. New York Times, pp.9.

Cooper, T. (2012). The Responsible Administrator: An Approach to Ethics for the Administrative Role. NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Gershman, J. (2011). Ex-Official Surfaces as Ethics Gadfly. The Wall Street Journal, pp. 25.

Glaberson, W. (2011). Appeals Court Allows New Trial for Bruno. The New York Times, pp. 1.

Hakim, D. (2008). A Furor After Bruno’s Role Is Revealed. New York Times, pp.8.

Hamblett, M. (2011). Bruno Faces Retrial After Panel Vacates Corruption Convictions. The New York Law Journal, pp.12.

Lyons, B. (2011). Mumbo Jumbo Over, Focus Finally on Corruption Again. The Albany Times Union, pp 12.

McIntire, M. (2007). Bruno’s Business Touch Wasn’t Always Golden. New York Times, pp3.

McIntire, M., & Jeremy, W. (2009). Ex-Senate Leader Bruno Is Indicted for Corruption. New York Times, pp.1.

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IvyPanda. (2021, April 17). NY State Senator Joseph Bruno's Case on Ethical Violation. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/ny-state-senator-joseph-brunos-case-on-ethical-violation/

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1. IvyPanda. "NY State Senator Joseph Bruno's Case on Ethical Violation." April 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ny-state-senator-joseph-brunos-case-on-ethical-violation/.


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IvyPanda. "NY State Senator Joseph Bruno's Case on Ethical Violation." April 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ny-state-senator-joseph-brunos-case-on-ethical-violation/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "NY State Senator Joseph Bruno's Case on Ethical Violation." April 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ny-state-senator-joseph-brunos-case-on-ethical-violation/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'NY State Senator Joseph Bruno's Case on Ethical Violation'. 17 April.

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