From the Morning Memo:

It seemed a bit of a peculiar outcome.

Less than a week before long-time Niagara County Republican power-broker and former state Senator George Maziarz was supposed to stand trial, he agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors. Maziarz was facing five felony charges, and ultimately pleaded guilty to just a single misdemeanor.

To many observers it appeared the former state senator got away with just a slap on the wrist. But don’t tell that to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who vigorously defended the result.

Schneiderman said there were plenty of repercussions for Maziarz – including the loss of his influence, elected post and reputation – when he admitted to engaging in misconduct in court.

“I don’t think if you asked George Maziarz, he would say, ‘Oh boy, this was a good experience for me,'” Schneiderman said. “Look, it’s important to take on cases that are more challenging cases.”

Schneiderman said a case like the one against Maziarz – a complicated pass-through scheme to circumvent campaign finance rules – never would have been pursued in the past. A recent partnership with the state Board of Elections and the state comptroller’s office has allowed the AG’s office to expand its focus on public corruption.

Schneiderman said they’ve been able to obtain more than 75 dispositions from “corrupt officials and their cronies,” as a result.

“We continue to bring cases all across the state against Democrats and Republicans. Corruption is a bipartisan enterprise and I’m proud of the work we did in that case,” he said.

The attorney general noted this effort continues, pointing to the recent indictment of the mayor of Mount Vernor, Richard Thomas, on charges he used campaign cash to pay for personal expenses.