State Sen. Malcolm Smith and city Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested this morning on charges they were plotting to rig this year’s mayoral election through fraud and bribes.Others arrested includeBronx Republican Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, and they are all being accused of trying to rig the mayoral election.
The pols allegedly formed an alliance built on cash payments and fraud to get Smith — one of the state’s top Democrats — placed on the GOP mayoral ballot, sources said.
FBI agents arrested them both at their Queens homes shortly after 6 a.m.
“I have no idea,” Halloran, in handcuffs, told a Post reporter when asked if he knew why he was being arrested.
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."The 28-page complaint offers up a bunch of juicy details, but it boils down to money for access:
Council member Halloran was to receive $20,500 while Tabone and Savino received $40,000 in bribes with a promise of $40,000 more.If Halloran's name sounds familiar, it's because he was a blowhard who alleged that Sanitation workers purposefully slowed down snow removal during the blizzard a few years back. Investigations found no evidence of any kind of slowdown. And the FBI had already been investigating Halloran when they sniffed out the potential bribery for ballot access plan.
Smith's name should sound familiar as well, as he was part of the breakaway Democrats in the State Senate who gave temporary control of the Senate to Republicans in a coup against Democratic leaders. Smith joined a group of independent Senators, earning himself and his staffers a pay raise in the process. Smith's defection also enabled Gov. Andrew Cuomo to maneuver and exploit the divisions in the Senate to advance his own agenda with less opposition - including on matters like the same sex marriage act and the NYS SAFE Act.
Not only does this scandal threaten the disrupt the political balance in the State Senate, but this scandal threatens to upturn the entire Republican campaign for NYC mayor, as key behind-the-scenes officials are involved and it's entirely possible that others could find themselves perp-walked. Tabone has been working for the campaign of John Catsimatidis.
These people are instrumental in getting the campaigns of multiple candidates off the ground and working support for candidates already in the running. It could potentially derail existing campaigns for those who are in the race and indirectly helps those Democrats who are already in the race, including Democrat City Council honcho Christine Quinn.
Expect Tabone and Savino to flip on Smith and Halloran who are the big fish in this particular scandal in exchange for less time behind bars.