New York State Senator Malcolm Smith and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested Tuesday morning in an alleged plot to rig New York City’s upcoming mayoral election race. Several other politicians are also facing charges for their involvement in the conspiracy.
Smith is a 56-year-old Democrat from Queens who rose to become the first black president of New York’s state senate. Halloran, a Republican, also hails from Queens. The New York Times reports that Smith was interested in running for mayor of New York City as a Republican and paid Halloran to find him a way into the party.
Halloran found Republican leaders willing to meet with Smith, and the two formed a plan to pay off leaders of Republican Party county committees in New York City‘s five boroughs. The hope was to acquire certificates that would permit Smith to run as a Republican even though he was a registered Democrat.
Smith, a contractor and real estate developer, was busted by an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate developer. The undercover agent and a coopering witness served as the intermediaries between Smith and Halloran.
“Public service is not supposed to be a shortcut to self-enrichment,” George Venizelos, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 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.”
Both politicians were arrested at their homes before sunrise, but they do not stand alone. Charges have also been filed against Bronx County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens County Republican Party Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone. Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret also make the list. According to The Blaze, charges against the politicians include bribery, extortion, and wire and mail fraud.
The investigation into the plot to rig New York City’s mayoral race is still ongoing.
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