Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), the fourth ranking Democrat in the House, lost his re-election bid to a political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Working with the New York Post and other media outlets, NLPC helped expose corruption in Crowley’s office. In addition, NLPC has exposed corruption in the Queens political machine that Crowley heads, sending several local politicians to prison.
Crowley, whose supporters were promoting him as a future House Speaker, clearly underestimated Ocasio-Cortez. If she were perceived to be any kind of threat, the machine would have simply kept her off the ballot, the time-honored way dissidents are thwarted in Queens.
Ocasio-Cortez ran at Crowley from the left, and is unlikely to support real Congressional reform or to help drain the swamp, but she has an interesting personal story that underscores how the Queens machine operates — through corruption, cronyism and nepotism in the local courts.
When Ocasio-Cortez was in college, her father unexpectedly passed away without a will, touching off a years-long probate battle during which “she witnessed firsthand how attorneys appointed by the court to administer an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of the families struggling to make sense of the bureaucracy,” according to an account in The Intercept. Her mother, a housekeeper and bus driver nearly lost her home.
This machine has spawned a spawned number of national political figures, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. When Lynch was the U.S. Attorney, she did nothing to crack down the corrupt court system even though the problems were well known to just about anyone active in New York politics. When she was nominated for Attorney General, our warnings that she was soft on corruption were ignored, including by Republican Senators like Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who praised Lynch and voted for her nomination in 2015.
In a nearby district, Rep. Daniel Donovan won the GOP primary against corrupt ex-congressman Michael Grimm (and ally of Queens-machine product Rep. Gregory Meeks), who was trying to reclaim his seat after pleading guilty to tax fraud in 2014.