Carl E. Heastie is the relatively new New York State Assembly Speaker. Unfortunately for Heastie is that now he is in such a position of power, every financial form he has ever filled out is being scrutinized and help up for ridicule.
One campaign expense from nearly a decade ago was for “food” at the “Happy Valley” nightclub in Manhattan. The only problem is that “Happy Valley didn’t serve food; it only served liquor and Go-Go dancers.
One of the questions smart politicians have to ask themselves in these days of increased transparency is this: “Is this illegal or will I look like a jerk if this gets written about on the front page of the New York Times 14 years from now?”
It’s possible to answer “no” to the first part of the question but answer “yes” to the 2nd part. That should be enough for the savvy politician to err on the side of caution and not bill the expense to either the taxpayers or campaign contributors.
Some of the charges by the Times seem petty: about $500 was paid to a former girlfriend of Heastie’s. But other charges, including all of the expenses associated with maintaining his BWM, while at the same time, paying full mileage reimbursements, sound potentially criminal and very similar to the scandal that recently saw Congressman Aaron Schock resigning form Congress in disgrace.
You’ve heard of the axiom: Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want to have. I would add, “Don’t govern your life for the current level of media scrutiny your job generates; conduct your life for the level of media scrutiny your future ideal job creates.”
That isn’t catchy enough to fit on a bumper sticker, but it could save your career.
TJ Walker is president of Media Training Worldwide. You can find his online training courses here. https://www.mediatrainingworldwide.com/online-training.html