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Endorsing the indicted: Queens politics as usual

City Councilman Ruben Wills is on trial for corruption, and the Queens Democratic Party has endorsed him for re-election. Way to show you care about your image, guys.

Charged with stealing $30,000 from New York 4-Life (a taxpayer-funded nonprofit) and from his own campaign account, Wills is also a frequent no-show at council hearings and meetings, with a 72 percent absentee rate last year.

A Queens party spokesman “explains” the endorsement by noting that the borough’s district leaders backed all incumbent council members for re-election. It’s just policy, see?

A more candid explanation might include the fact that this makes it easier for the machine to pick his replacement on the ballot if he’s convicted.

Then again, the Queens Democratic Party has harbored such future convicts as the late Donald Manes (borough president) and Anthony Seminiero (assemblyman), as well as legislators Sheldon Leffler, Brian McLaughlin, Hiram Monserrate, Shirley Huntley and Malcolm Smith.

Not to mention several others who’ve (so far) escaped prosecution.

The support of his peers has apparently left Wills confident he’ll escape scot-free: He reportedly laughed off prosecutors’ claims against him in court Monday and is plainly certain that voters in his Southeast Queens district will re-elect him.

If not, the machine will surely pick some loyal party hack to take his place on the ballot.

Rep. Joe Crowley, the county party chairman, plainly isn’t worried about any of this disturbing his chances to succeed Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader.

Shame on them all.


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