New York Politicians Come Together For Bipartisan Corruption
Among all the usual bad news about partisan gridlock, a small ray of hope went under-reported outside of local media this week: several New York State lawmakers and party officials crossed the aisle to work together to bribe and corrupt each other.
Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat representing sections of Queens, allegedly led the corruption ring, which was “quarterbacked” (in the words of a US attorney) by Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran.
The plot centered around Smith’s plan to run for mayor as a Republican, which allows easier fundraising and a more open field in the Democrat-heavy city. But to do so, Smith would need approval from three of the five borough chairmen of the GOP- two of whom reportedly already received payoffs of several thousand dollars.
A tangential plot involved bribing a mayor and deputy mayor (both Democrats) in suburban Rockland County to approve a road that would benefit Smith and another bribe payer (a government informant) through investments.
And who says that politicians can’t find common ground?
Smith has long been something of a bridge builder. Perhaps anticipating his future moves, Smith began caucusing with senate Republicans last December, giving them effective control even though Democrats won a majority in the 2012 election. This was something of a shocker, as Smith was a leader in the Senate who had almost been deposed by a Republican-led coup in 2009.
And New York has recently been fertile ground for all kinds of equal opportunity corruption. In 2009, former Republican majority leader Joseph Bruno was convicted on several counts of corruption. In 2011, Democrat Carl Kruger pleaded guilty to bribery; and Democrat Pedro Espada Jr. was indicted for embezzlement and theft in 2010.
And that’s just in the state senate- and just the corruption charges. Let’s not forget all of the colorful non-bribery-related crimes of our politicians, like the girlfriend-beating of Hiram Montserrate, the drunk driving of Congressman Vito Fossela, and Eliot Spitzer‘s… well, you know.
With incumbency still high, we surely have more to look forward to.
[via CBS News; image by REUTERS/Adrees Latif ]