Governor Pataki came back to New York (he cut a trip in Hungary short!) and announced that a former U.S. Attorney would investigate whether State Comptroller Alan Hevesi should be removed from office. Hello, caution! Pataki called having David Kelley (who previously prosecuted Martha Stewart in the Imclone case and is a registered Democrat) review the matter an "extra step" before possibly asking the Senate to remove Hevesi. From the NY Post:

"We want to make sure we go the extra mile of having a high degree of confidence that someone not involved in the political process has taken an independent look and determined that a strong legal case exists that the next step, the removal of Comptroller Hevesi, should be sought," Pataki said.

"I don't want to proceed until I am 100 percent confident that a strong case exists that Mr. Hevesi should be removed."

It's unlikely an investigation plus Senate vote would occur before election day, but Pataki did say he would like Hevesi to think about resigning. At any rate, Hevesi found the silver lining saying, "As a result of this decision, 5 million voters will decide who the next controller will be - and that's as it should be."

The NY Times' article had a good explanation of how the state can remove an official and what happens after that. For instance, if Hevesi resigned, the Legislature would pick a successor, pretty much leaving it up to the Democratic majority to choose; if Hevesi were removed by the Senate, then Pataki would choose the replacement. Dunh dunh DUNH!!

Hevesi will appear on Gabe Pressman's NewsForum on WBC 4 tomorrow morning at 5:30 AM. The Post and Daily News have looks at Kelley - he's a sideline officials for Jets games! And here's a great LunchBox video from Room Eight:

Photograph of Governor Pataki announcing the appointment of David Kelley to review the Hevesi case by Richard Drew/AP