Election Bribe Scheme Heats Up: State Senator Smith Scandal Reaches NYC Mayoral Candidates
There seems to be a few rotten apples in New York City politics. The fallout from State Sen. Malcolm Smith’s alleged bribery scandal even touches Big Apple mayoral hopefuls on both sides of the aisle, reports The New York Daily News.
A Democratic state senator from Queens (though he considered a Republican run for mayor himself), Smith is the former majority leader and was the first African American to lead a legislative body in Albany. He was arrested at his home by federal agents on Tuesday, accused of trying to buy the Republican line in New York City’s mayoral race. The bribery scheme involved an attempt to pay off the city’s five county GOP chairmen in order to run for mayor with that party, explains the The Daily Beast.
He wasn’t the only one arrested; several of his alleged confederates, including several Republican county party leaders have also been implicated. The complaint states that Smith told an undercover agent in a meeting at Grand Central Station to “fork over” tens of thousands of dollars to the local Republican power brokers so he could glide his way into City Hall, The Daily Beast continues.
And this isn’t the first time Smith has been accused of wrongdoing. He’s been the subject of a number of federal investigations. And in an unsavory move, Smith joined a small group of “independent Democrats” who crossed party lines to caucus with the Republicans in December, after Democrats won control of the state senate for the first time in 60 years.
“He’s smooth, likable, but to me he seemed like a guy always one step away from being arrested,” said one Democratic operative to the website.
The arrests have tossed questions about “what went wrong back to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn,” says the Daily News. Quinn is running for mayor as a Democrat.
“The arrests have also cast a shadow on Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn, who has tried to clean up scandal-scarred City Council discretionary funding but has now seen four Council members criminally charged for abusing those funds during her time as speaker” writes the paper.
Over on the GOP side nearly every mayoral contender is now under the spotlight, the newspaper adds. The scandal hurts former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota and grocery magnate John Catsimatidis, who had the other arrested party boss, Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, on his payroll.
Obviously, this will be one New York City election to remember.