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Albany New York is accustomed to shady characters. It is New York's capital and many who came to it with high hopes after elections left in disgrace after corruption trials. Now former State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver joins those ranks and the time is right to announce Albany's Museum of Political Corruption.
The museum is the brainchild of Bruce Roter, a professor at Albany's College of Saint Rose. He is raising money for the museum, which he envisions as both an educational institution and a tourist destination that focuses on the city's reputation for corruption, according to the Associated Press.
The Museum of Political Corruption would serve educational and entertainment purposes, illuminating the capital's history and drawing tourists with its amusing premise, Roter hopes. He does have a humorous approach, calling the $12.50 entry fee a bribe and referring to corruption as one of Albany's "renewable resources."
Roter is right about that. More than 30 Albany lawmakers have left office facing criminal charges or allegations of ethical misconduct since 2000, not including Silver. The former assemblyman had been in office since 1976 and was found guilty of using his influence to enrich himself and lying about it.
The recently-concluded Silver trial proved Professor Roter's point about corruption being a renewable resource in Albany. But the museum is not a joke and it has support from serious types.
Roter is fundraising now and expects it to take about four years to get the museum up and running. He has already established a nonprofit museum organization with a website that sells mugs and some bigwigs on its boards of directors and advisers. The board includes political science professors, law professors, a former gubernatorial candidate, and a former New York governor.
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