U.S. Atty: ‘Show Me The Money’ Culture At Every Level Of N.Y. Government
It’s a stunning and wide-ranging public corruption scandal.
Six highly-placed politicians are accused of using bribery to rig this year’s New York City mayoral race.
There were three distinct parts to the public corruption and bribery scandal, but in all three money flowed freely and, at times, city and state funds — your tax dollars — paid the freight, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday.
“The charges we unsealed today demonstrate once again that a ‘show me the money’ culture seems to pervade every level of New York government,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
The six defendants nailed by the feds Tuesday certainly did represent many levels of government. State Sen. Malcolm Smith, a Democrat, allegedly wanted to rig the 2013 mayoral race so he could run as a Republican. Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran reportedly helped arrange the bribes to buy Smith a waiver, and two Republican officials had their hands out, reportedly saying “show me the money and the waiver is yours.”
“Senator Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked it by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receive bribes,” Bharara said.
An effort by Smith to run as a Republican is not unprecedented. Mayor Michael Bloomberg switched from the Democratic to Republican parties shortly before his first successful run for mayor in 2001. The path is attractive to candidates because it is easier to get on the ballot for the Republican mayoral primary in a city crowded with Democratic politicians.
Smith, however, cannot run as a Republican without the written consent of three of the city’s five Republican Party county chairmen, who were scheduled to meet on Wednesday.
It would not be Smith’s first flirtation with GOP politics. He made a surprising move last year in the state Legislature to join forces with Republicans to form a first-of-its-kind coalition to run the fractured state Senate. The move by Smith and four other renegade Democrats allowed the state GOP to keep control of the Legislature’s upper chamber.
Officials told Kramer there were three distinct but related bribe schemes.
First was the attempt by Smith to buy the GOP mayoral line.
He allegedly arranged for $40,000 to be paid to Bronx GOP Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens GOP Assistant Chairman Vincent Tabone. Halloran reportedly received $20,500 in cash bribes to act as the intermediary with the political leaders.
In the second scheme, Halloran allegedly received $18,300 in cash bribes and $6,500 on straw donor contributions in exchange for steering an $80,000 City Council contract to a company he believed was controlled by one of those who paid him the bribes.
Halloran allegedly told a wired government informant, “You can’t do anything without the money … Money is what greases the wheels … good bad or indifferent,” CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider reported.
“After statements like this and a string of other public corruption scandals we continue to expose, many may understandably fear that there is no vote that’s not for sale,” Bharara said.
The final scheme involved Noramie Jasmin, the mayor of Spring Valley in Rockland County, and her deputy, Joseph Desmaret. They allegedly got financial benefits to approve a new road that was to benefit one of the reported bribe payers and Smith was to get hundreds of thousands in state money for the road.
“The criminal complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of greed involved six officials who together build a corridor of corruption,” Bharara said.
Chicago Politicans are doing the happy dance – they are not the worst anymore!!
This reminds me of Paul Harvey telling about a survey of New York City residents. He said that the survey said that 3 out of 4 New Yorkers said you’d have to be crazy to want to live there. He then said that someone who he often quoted, but I don’t remember the name, said something like, “I don’t trust a survey where 3 out of 4 taking it admit to being crazy.