Government on the Friends and Family Plan

In his stirring speech to the 1984 Democratic National Convention, then-New York governor Mario Cuomo used an extended metaphor of the whole nation as a family. So maybe it should come as no surprise to discover that his son, current New York governor Andrew Cuomo, uses the New York State government as a jobs program for his friends and their families. The Empire State Development Corporation in particular is chock-full of his donors and friends, and their young sons–not to mention Cuomo’s political advisers.

He’s not alone in spending (other people’s) money to help family and friends. The Washington Post reported in December on the family-friendly atmosphere at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority:

Meet the Kulle family: mom Helen, daughter Ann Kulle-Helms, son-in-law Douglas Helms, son Albert, daughter-in-law Michele Kulle and Michele’s brother, Jeffrey Thacker.

They all worked for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. All at the same time.

One MWAA board member, 

who has had at least three relatives, including a daughter-in-law, work at the agency, said family members are employed frequently, particularly among board members.

“If you ask a third of those folks, their relatives work there,” he said. “I never thought that we were doing anything wrong.”

“This is a government town and an agency town,” Crawford said. “If there’s a possibility that you can hire a relative … it was the norm.”

And yesterday the Post reported that MWAA isn’t just for family, it’s for friends, too. Two old friends, one at MWAA, the other at the D.C. Office of Aging, hired each other’s children and friends and issued numerous contracts and grants to companies run by relatives and friends.

At MWAA, government is truly one big family.

And today comes this touching story from Alabama:

Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., will resign from Congress later this year to take a job at the University of Alabama, CQ Roll Call has confirmed…

He will take on the newly created position of vice chancellor of government relations and economic development…

Bonner’s sister, Judy Bonner, is president of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

It bears repeating: “The vice chancellor job is a newly created position in the UA system.”

Anything for family.