NEW YORK – A Democratic state lawmaker was arrested along with five other politicians Tuesday in an alleged plot to pay tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to GOP bosses to let him run for mayor of New York City as a Republican.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called it an “unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed” that reveals a New York political culture defined by a single rule: “Show me the money.”
Malcolm Smith, 56, who has served at times as the state Senate’s majority and minority leader since becoming a senator in March 2000, was arrested along with Republican New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, 42, and four other political figures.
Smith, who was removed Tuesday from his leadership post in Albany, had not yet officially launched a campaign for mayor – the first New York City mayoral race in 12 years without Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
A criminal complaint said that in meetings with a cooperating witness and an undercover FBI agent posing as a wealthy real estate developer, Smith agreed to bribe up to five leaders of Republican Party county committees in the five boroughs of New York City so he could run for mayor as a Republican, even though he was a registered Democrat.