Fire up the televisions and grab the popcorn. It’s time for Game of Thrones, but this installment won’t require a premium cable subscription.
The New York Post reports that a state Assembly hopeful from Brooklyn wants to take a page from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” by forcing disgraced lawmakers convicted of corruption to be paraded in handcuffs through their home districts.
Convicted statewide politicians would be subject to the same walk of shame near the Capitol in Albany, according to Steve Saperstein, who is proposing the move as he attempts to fill the seat of charity cheat ex-Assemblywoman Pamela Harris.
“Politicians who have no respect for their constituents should be shamed,” said Saperstein, a 33-year-old public-school teacher. “These politicians who rob, cheat and corrupt our system of government should be forced to do a perp walk ‘Game of Thrones’ style.’’
The Republican contender’s proposal includes 500 hours of community service in addition to whatever punishment is handed down by a judge or jury.
Saperstein admits to modeling his plan off the Season 5 finale of “Game of Thrones,” when evil queen Cersei Lannister is forced to atone for her sins by walking through the streets naked, according to the New York Post.
The unorthodox proposal comes as Albany has watched prosecutors lock up enough lawmakers to form a bipartisan conga line of corruption.
More than two dozen state office holders have been convicted of public corruption since 2000, including former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), ex-Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) and former Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens).
The retrial of the former leader of the state Senate, Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County), is slated to begin in Manhattan this week.
There is precedent for public-shaming laws but not specifically regarding politicians. Identities and addresses of convicted sex offenders are widely publicized in public registries, for example.
Saperstein’s proposal would target future convictions, so it wouldn’t apply to those cases — or to Harris, who pleaded guilty last week to stealing $60,000 in government funds meant to help a children’s charity and victims of Hurricane Sandy, according to the Post.
Conservative activists love what they hear.
“Anything that shakes up a status quo that has led to so many corruption trials and the fracturing of the public trust is welcome,” said Douglas Kellogg, the state projects director for Americans for Tax Reform. “But I don’t think the Albany lawmakers who continue to abuse the system can feel shame.”
Saperstein is seeking to represent the 46th Assembly District.
By: Liam Hunter
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