On Tuesday, Binghamton-area state Sen. Tom Libous was indicted on allegations he lied to the FBI about his role in an influence-buying scheme.
He joins a growing line of state lawmakers either accused of malfeasance or outright crimes in the last few months, on actions ranging from bribe-taking to sexual harassment of employees to falsifying a marriage to stay in the country.
The incidents do far more harm than embarrass the individual, however. They hurt the people these individuals were sent to Albany to serve.
Sen. Libous has been a decent representative. He has a top leadership role in the Senate and has been responsible for legislation in economic development, transportation, mental health issues and underage drinking. But he can no longer be effective in that job with this case dogging him.
With each disgrace, the areas these corrupt lawmakers serve lose their seats at the table. That translates into less state aid, less home-rule legislation and less local influence on important statewide initiatives.
When our representatives fall, they're not the only ones who are harmed. We all are.