New York City Councilmember Rory Lancman has announced a campaign to run for Queens District Attorney. New York City Council : Public Domain

Feds mum as Lancman announces run for Queens D.A. after supporting Crowley as chair of Queens machine that is reportedly being monitored by FBI

Rory Lancman makes campaign promises for criminal justice system reform that appeal to identity politics. His campaign has an establishment war chest of $1 million.

By Progress New York Staff

New York City Councilmember Rory Lancman (D-Jamaica Estates) has preëmptively announced a campaign to run for Queens District Attorney in 2019, even though the office remains occupied by District Attorney Richard Brown (D-Queens). The announcement was mentioned in a report published by the New York Post.

District Attorney Brown was the subject of speculation that, due to an advanced, long-term illness, there was a chance that he would step down in a political sleight of hand that would permit Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) to appoint his successor in an undemocratic move, as noted in a report jointly filed by Daniel Marans and Alexander Kaufman for the Huffington Post. In a subsequent report published by the Huffington Post, the looming race for Queens District Attorney was described as possibly having national implications largely due to the influence of the social movement for criminal justice system reform spreading from large municipalities, such as Philadelphia.

The candidate for Queens District Attorney voted to keep Rep. Joe Crowley as head of the Queens Democratic County committee at a time when the F.B.I. are reportedly monitoring its activities.

By focusing on campaign promises for criminal justice system reform, Councilmember Lancman plans to focus his campaign, to some extent, on identity politics that underpins some of the reform movement into which he aims to tap. His nascent campaign boasted the endorsement of the Gwen Carr, the mother of the late Eric Garner, who died from a New York Police Department involved death that the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled was a homicide.

Besides on-going and continuing crises of civil rights violations in housing, policing, voting, municipal hiring, and jailing, the Government of the City of New York faces unrelenting scandals of public, political, and campaign corruption. For decades, the political machine that has burnished Councilmember Lancman’s career has been countenanced by prosecutors, including those in the Queens District Attorney’s Office. Recently, Councilmember Lancman voted to keep U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (NY-14) as chair of the Democratic Organization of Queens County, as the Queens machine is more formally known, despite reports that the activities of the Queens machine are being monitored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Councilmember Lancman seeks to campaign to lead the very office that has tolerated allegations of corruption by the same political machine that helped him run uncontested for multiple political races.

Government reform activists have long claimed that the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice, which acts through the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, have tolerated the corruption of the Queens political machine. Under former U.S. Attorneys, the Federal prosecutors’ offices did charge and prosecute numerous, significant Government officials with corruption ; however, that pace has since slowed considerably under U.S. Attorneys Geoffrey Berman and Richard Donoghue of Manhattan and Brooklyn, respectively. It is not known if Federal prosecutors accept responsibility for the voter apathy and loss of confidence in Government institutions that results from the countenancing of systemic corruption. The press office supporting the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan failed to respond to questions for this report.