New York state Senator Malcolm Smith was arrested today in connection with an alleged bribery scandal involving Smith gaining ballot listing for New York City’s Republican mayoral primary.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Smith and five other politicians were arrested on charges of bribery, extortion, and fraud. The other arrested individuals include New York City Council Member for Queens Dan Halloran; Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone; Bronx Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino; Spring Valley, New York Mayor Noramie Jasmin; and Spring Valley Deputy mayor Joseph Desmaret. Smith is a democrat and a state senator for New York’s 14th district, which covers parts of the Bronx and Queens.
Smith and Halloran are accused of arranging $40,000 in bribes to have Smith’s name appear on the Republican primary ballot for the New York City mayoral race in 2013. Halloran is also accused of having received nearly $25,000 to steer city council discretionary funding to a company named by his briber, who was an undercover FBI agent.
“Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for Manhattan. “The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself. As alleged, Senator Malcolm Smith tried to bribe his way to a shot at Gracie Mansion – Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes. After the string of public corruption scandals that we have brought to light, many may rightly resign themselves to the sad truth that perhaps the most powerful special interest in politics is self-interest. We will continue pursuing and punishing every corrupt official we find, but the public corruption crisis in New York is more than a prosecutor’s problem.”