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Monday, March 03, 2008

Bruno Lets His Guard Down

- Don't miss the profile of Senator Bruno in New York Magazine. It's a wide-ranging, comprehensive, and surprisingly intimate look at the Senate Majority Leader, much of which is based on an interview conducted at his farm the day before his wife Bobby passed away. ““I don’t think she weighs 85 pounds. I don’t think she knows me anymore.”

Reporter Geoffrey Grey obviously gained Bruno's confidence and made him feel at ease. So much so, in fact, that Bruno spilled the beans on his gig at Wright Investors, his employment at which is a subject of the FBI's ongoing investigation and one which neither side would heretofore be specific about.

“I provided the entrĂ©e. In that business, the biggest problem is access. I provided access.” Bruno, who makes $121,000 a year in salary as majority leader, believes there is nothing improper about steering people he does business with in politics to open portfolios at Wright. There was no quid pro quo, he says. If Wright wanted to meet with trustees of a union looking to invest pension money, Bruno would make the phone calls. “My pitch to them was, ‘If you like what they have to say, take it to the next level. If you don’t, say good-bye.’ ” [New York Magazine]
Bruno's spokesperson criticized the article, but only in that the remarks were taken out of context and meant to be off the record.
“It is especially troubling that this reporter chose to misrepresent his intentions and violate trust and access given him at a time when Senator Bruno was dealing with difficult personal and family issues.” [NY Times]
I think it's certainly a fair argument that Bruno was particularly vulnerable at that point in time. Whether or not the reporter took advantage of that unfairly, we don't know. New York Magazine stood by the story; Bruno's office says they have tapes on which Grey agrees to keep certain aspects of the conversation off the record. [Daily Politics] Bruno also opens up about his worries about the FBI probe, laments his poor track record with investing (“Twelve years ago I was worth a hell of a lot more than I’m worth today"), and freely discusses his deep dislike for the Governor.

It's a great article, and I could go on all day reprinting the highlights, but the Village Voice already did. If you can't get to the whole story, at least check out Bruno's account of Spitzer storming out of his own office on this page.


Anonymous said...

Man,I don't like this Spitzer guy.

“ ‘I’m calling the New YorkTimes!’ ”

What a smuck!

Anonymous said...

Alan, thanks for the "tip" on the Joe Bruno story in NY Magazine. I thought it was well done and really gave the reader the flavor of the man. I don't think he has anything to be ashamed about with this piece, in fact, I thought it was overall very favorable to Joe. And he may still dance on the media's grave when he gets back up off the canvas one more time in November! I'd say Joe Bruno reminds me of Kelso: Just when you think he has stayed way past his prime he comes back with another stirring victory under bone crushing weight! I've always been a big fan of Bruno's because he is the genuine article. /S/Green Mtn Punter