Oct. 24, 2014

Politicians Arrested in Alleged Plot to Rig New York City Mayoral Race: Bribery, Extortion, and Wire

By Billy Hallowell, The Blaze

Political corruption is to be expected, but this story could shape up to be one for the record books. This morning, the Associated Press reported that New York state Sen. Malcolm Smith (a Democrat) and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran (a Republican) were arrested in an alleged plot to rig the New York City mayor’s race.

According to the FBI, Smith and Halloran were detained early Tuesday at their homes (both in Queens, New York). The charges being waged against them, of course, are lofty. In addition to possibly impacting their careers, the implications clearly run deeper, shedding light on a purported plot involving the city’s most important election.

Politicians Arrested in Alleged Plot to Rig New York City Mayoral Race

Sen. Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, speaks in the Senate on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. Credit: AP

When asked why he was being arrested, Halloran told a New York Post reporter that he had “no idea.”

“I’m sure the truth will come out once I have an opportunity to find out what’s going on,” he purportedly told the outlet.

But officials were more than definitive in outlining the charges against the two. In a statement, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that Smith “tried to bribe his way” into a shot at the New York City mayoral race. The official claims that Smith “drew up the game plan” and that Halloran found party chairmen who were open to receiving bribes.

The New York Post has more from Bharara’s statement:

“Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government. 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.”