Queens State Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested along with other politicians in an alleged plot to rig this year’s mayoral election, according to the FBI.
In addition to Smith, City Councilman Dan Halloran was also arrested, as were two Republican party officials and the mayor of Spring Valley, N.Y.
“Public service is not supposed to be a shortcut to self-enrichment,” FBI Assistant Director George Venizelos said in a statement. “At the very least, public officials should obey the law. As alleged, these defendants did not obey the law; they broke the law and the public trust. There is a price to pay for that kind of betrayal.”
The New York Post reports that FBI agents took Smith, a state Senator, and Halloran, a City Council member, into custody at their homes about 6AM.
“I’m sure the truth will come out once I have an opportunity to find out what’s going on,” Halloran told a reporter outside his home.
The alleged plot involved a plan to place place Smith, a Democrat, onto the Republican mayoral ballot by bribing Republican officials. If the plan had succeeded, Smith would’ve won the support of three boroughs to get the Republican nod without having to change party affiliation.
The bribes were made to appear as legal and accounting services.
“These six officials built a corridor of corruption and greed from Queens and The Bronx to Rockland County and all the way to Albany,” said Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District.
“After all the public corruption scandals we’ve charged, the sad truth may be the most powerful special interest in politics is self interest.”