Malcolm Smith Tag All blog entries tagged as Malcolm Smith http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Tue, 08 Jul 2014 02:33:36 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Today's Lead: Last-Ditch Effort For Campaign Finance Reform Fails http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/06/21/todays-lead-last-ditch-effort-for-campaign-finance-reform-fails- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/06/21/todays-lead-last-ditch-effort-for-campaign-finance-reform-fails-

Last-Ditch Effort For Campaign Finance Reform Fails in Senate

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Senate Democrats tried to bring a campaign finance proposal to a votethrough a hostile amendment last night but the measure failed. Republicans ruled the amendment not germane but Democrats requested a vote of the entire chamber to rule on whether it was appropriate. Thirty legislators voted to support the amendment. Those legislators included the four members of the Independent Democratic Conference who have come under attack by advocates for not bringing campaign finance to a vote. Sen. Malcolm Smith who last caucused with the IDC voted against the amendment. Smith is currently under indictment for fraud and bribery. Sen. Ruben Diaz, who conferences with Democrats, also voted against the measure. All of the Republican conference voted against the amendment. Democrats had a press release ready blaming the Republican/IDC conference for the amendment's failure but all of the IDC did vote for the amendment.

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Other Stories We're Following

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Thompson to Unveil Plan for Housing Authority Today (NY 1)

Assemblyman Cut Off For Bringing up Lopez During Debate (Lower Hudson Journal)

Legislature Likely To Pass Tax-Free Zone Program (Wall Street Journal)

Game of Chicken Over Women's Equality Act (Albany Times Union)

Weiner Criticized For Not Condemning Anti-Gay Slur (Wall Street Journal)

Teacher's Union Endorses Thompson For Mayor (Daily News)

Liu Renews Questionable Claim He Worked in Sweatshop as Child (Daily News)

On Education, Lhota Lines up With Bloomberg (Crain's)

City Tries Again to Get New Taxi on the Road (Crain's)

Rally Against SUNY Cuts to Ambulance Service at LICH (DNAinfo)

Rent Board Approves Increases (NY 1)

Legislature Approves Lever Machines for NYC Mayoral Primary, Runoff(NY Times)

A Vote to Amend Gun Control Law at 2 AM (Gotham Gazette)

Senate Approves New MTA Chair (Gotham Gazette)

In Albany, Allies Clash Over Campaign Finance Reform (Gotham Gazette)

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) The Eye-Opener Fri, 21 Jun 2013 11:30:57 +0000
Senate Has Close Encounter With Campaign Finance Reform http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/06/21/senate-has-close-encounter-with-campaign-finance-reform- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/06/21/senate-has-close-encounter-with-campaign-finance-reform-

Despite failing to come to a deal on a campaign finance reform the state senate nearly voted on a bill that would have enacted a public financing campaign at around 10:20 tonight.

Senate Democrats introduced a hostile amendment to a bill crafted to allow the use of old-school lever voting machines in New York City's mayor primary and runoff elections this year.

Republicans ruled that the hostile amendment was not germane to the bill but Sen. Gustavo Rivera argued for it. The entire body took a vote on whether the amendment was germane.

The vote was 30 for the amendment--2 votes short of what were needed. All of the Independent Democratic Conference that has been chastised by advocates for not bringing campaign finance reform to a vote in the senate and most of the Democratic conference voted for the bill. Democratic Sens. Ruben Diaz and Malcolm Smith voted against the amendment. Sen. Simcha Felder who was elected as a Democrat but conferences with Senate Republicans also voted against the amendment.

Smith is under federal indictment for trying to bribe his way on to the Republican ballot for NYC mayor.

Senate Democrats issued a statement on the vote criticizing Senate Republicans for the failure of the amendment but the amendment could have passed if they had the support of just two more of their own members.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Fri, 21 Jun 2013 02:47:00 +0000
Today's Headlines: Pols Under Investigation Revealed http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/09/todays-headlines-pols-under-investigation-revealed http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/headlines/2013/05/09/todays-headlines-pols-under-investigation-revealed

Yesterday the names of 9 individuals caught on wiretap by Sen. Shirley Huntley were made public. Six of those individuals were sitting Democratic State Legislators. The list includes already-indicted Sens John Sampson and Malcolm Smith and their colleagues Sens. Jose Peralta, Velmanette Montgomery, Ruth Hassel-Thompson and Eric Adams. Two political operatives were also taped as well as Councilman Ruben Wills. Huntley, who was facing her own legal troubles, invited pols to her home under the ruse that she had a broken ankle and then recorded them. Taped parties reacted in different ways to finding out their names were on the list. Officials said eight one of the recorded parties are under investigation for wrongdoing. Sen. John Sampson was indicted earlier in the week on embezzelment charges and he is just the latest in a long line of state legislators facing federal indicments. Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened to convene a Moreland Commission if legislators don't pass major elections and ethics reform.


Other Stories We're Following

Lawmakers Demand Edits to Lopez Sex-Scandal Report (NY Times)

Council OKs Paid Sick Leave (Gotham Gazette)

Albany Reporters Officially Protest Being Blocked From Hearing (Capital)

Former State Senate Republican Majority Leader Claims Double Jeopardy (Albany Times Union)

FBI Asking Questions About Prominent Republican State Senator (Bloomberg)

Thompson Poised For Endorsement From Law Enforcement Unions (Daily News)

Cuomo Asks Feds For Help on Brooklyn Hospital Closures (Daily News)

Lhota Apologizes For Mall Cop Comment (Capital)

State Legislature to Get Scandal Holiday? (Gotham Gazette)

Quinn: Councilman Halloran Should Think Quickly About His Future (Capital)

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) The Eye-Opener Thu, 09 May 2013 12:15:53 +0000
Who Are the Huntley 9? http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/05/08/who-are-the-huntley-9- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/05/08/who-are-the-huntley-9- Sen. Shirley Huntley was having trouble with the FBI so she called up her colleagues and had them over to her house — to wiretap them.

According to court documents, Huntley was hoping to win favor with prosecutors when it came to her corruption case.

Today a judge unsealed Huntley's sentencing document unveiling a list of those she helped record for the FBI. They include several sitting Democratic Senators, a couple political consultants and a sitting Council member. Prosecutors have indicated that at least one of the people named on the list is not under investigation.

So who are these lawmakers and political operatives?

Lets start with the usual suspects: Sens. John Sampson of Brooklyn and Malcolm Smith of Queens.

Both men at one point headed the Demcoratic conference. Smith became Senate majority leader in 2009 after backroom powerbrokering with Sens. Pedro Espada, Hiram Monserrate, Ruben Diaz and Carl Krueger. When Espada and Monserrate jumped sides to the Republicans (causing the infamous Senate coup that paralyzed Albany for weeks), the pair were lured back to the fold when Sampson was named Democratic Conference leader. When Democrats were returned to the minority in 2010, Sampson replaced Smith.

Last year, Smith joined the Independent Senate Democrats becoming the chair of the conference, seemingly fixing the image problem that they had no minority members. This year Sampson was replaced by Andrea Stewart-Cousins as Minority Leader.

In April, Smith was arrested and indicted in a scheme to bribe his way onto the Republican line for New York City Mayor. Sampson was indicted on Monday on charges including embezzling from escrow accounts he managed as a lawyer to fund his failed run for Brooklyn district attorney.

Then there are the two borough president hopefuls: Sens. Eric Adams of Brooklyn and Jose Peralta of Queens. Adams is running for Brooklyn Borough President while Peralta is running for Queens Borough President.

Adams worked for 22 years as a New York City Police Department office and founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, which advocates for black officers. Adams has been outspoken against racial profiling, stop-and-frisk, and police brutality.

Adams has served on a number of committees through the years and is currently chairing the Committee on Aging despite being a member of the minority conference. He was appointed by the Independent Democratic Conference this year.

Peralta served in the Assembly from 2002 until he won a special election against Monserrate in March of 2010. Peralta has been a major leader on immigrant rights, The Dream Act, and has advocated for gun control and reducing gun violence.

Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who represents parts of the Bronx and the city of Mount Vernon in Westchester, was elected to the Senate in 2000. Hassell-Thompson has been very outspoken on the Senate floor and involved in some heated debates. Hassell-Thompson tried to rally support to become minority leader when it was clear Sampson would be replaced but the bid failed.

Sen. Velmanette Montgomery represents parts of Brooklyn and has served in the Senate since 1984. Montgomery has spent time advocated on education and children's issues.

None of the state lawmakers or their representatives immediately responded to Gotham Gazette's requests for comment. However, Peralta's office said a statement was forthcoming.

The two political consultants named on the list are Melvin Lowe and Curtis Taylor.

Lowe is a longtime political operative with links to John Sampson and the Democratic State Senate Committee, as well as the developer of the Atlantic Yards project and Barclays Center. Taylor was Smith's spokesman during the height of the Queens politician's political career a couple years back. Taylor resigned from his post in 2008.

Contact information for Lowe and Taylor couldn't be immediately located.

The only city lawmaker to be named, Councilman Ruben Wills, represents the 28th Council District and was the former chief of staff for Huntley. He told reporters at City Hall today that his attorney assured him he is not the focus of an investigation.

Huntley Wire Document by Nick Reisman

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Wed, 08 May 2013 18:56:17 +0000
Judge: Wiretapped Legislators' Names Can Be Revealed http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/05/07/huntley-indictment-shows-sky-is-falling-for-numerous-legislators- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/05/07/huntley-indictment-shows-sky-is-falling-for-numerous-legislators- A judge has ruled that the names of eight people who spoke on wiretaps with former state Sen. Shirley Huntley can be made public tomorrow.

Huntley, who pleaded guilty to funnelling tens of thousands of dollars in public money to a bogus charity that she operated, wore a wire for federal prosecutors for several months last year.

What makes Huntley's case so interesting is that prosecutors are arguing that the names should not be released because doing so could compromise ongoing investigations. Six of the eight people Huntley spoke to while wearing a wire are elected officials.

Judge Jack Weinstein wrote in his ruling that he isn't worried that revealing these names will ruin any cases.

"Every legislator who has conversed with this defendant will necessarily assume that he or she wasrecorded under the supervision of the FBI," he wrote. "There will be no surprises to the potentially accused by the revelations of their names. Interference with ongoing investigations will be of almost no significance."

Weinstein also wrote off concerns that revealing the names could taint elected officials before they are convicted of any crime.

"The argument that some may avoid lending their talents to public life in order to avoid its slurs has slight weight," he continued. "Since this country’s beginning, when Jefferson, Hamilton, Burr, and others began developing the art of American politics, anyone who entered the arena of government has understood that his or her good name may be unfairly sullied. Yet, the honor and excitement of serving the public has not inhibited our best people from entering the fray of politics."

Earlier this week, Sen. John Sampson was indicted on embezzelment charges and faces 120 years in prison. Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested in a corruption scheme to bribe his way onto the Republican ticket for NYC mayor in early April. Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was arrested for taking bribes for legislation only a few days later. Assemblyman Vito Lopez is being investigated for numerous accusations of sexual harassment. And Assemblyman William Boyland faces fresh charges in what seems to be a neverending line of indictments for the troubled legislator.

Come tomorrow we could get a better idea of who is going to soon join the list of legally troubled leigslators.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 07 May 2013 21:08:12 +0000
Scandal-Plagued Councilman Drops Out of #NYC2013 Race http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/05/01/scandal-plagued-councilman-drops-out-of-nyc2013-race http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/elections/2013/05/01/scandal-plagued-councilman-drops-out-of-nyc2013-race Embattled Councilman Dan Halloran says he will not seek reelection.

The Queens Republican was indicted in a scheme to bribe GOP party heads as a means to secure a mayoral ballot line for Democratic State Sen. Malcolm Smith. Currently facing federal corruption charges, Halloran said that he would instead focus on clearing his name and restoring his reputation.

"After much thought, I have concluded that it is impossible for me to properly do these things and take on the enormous demands of a political campaign," Halloran wrote in a statement.

Halloran thanked the community and his Council staff, adding that he would continue to "discharge my sworn duties as a member of the New York City Council."

In early April, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said that Halloran was stripped of all committee assignments. Soon after, the Council's standards and ethics committee began a review of Halloran's role in the scandal.

By not seeking re-election, Halloran — one of four Republicans currently in the City Council — opens the floor for what the Queens Courier reported last week to be an already crowded field of potential replacements, including four Democrats.

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webmaster@gothamgazette.com (Administrator) Elections Wed, 01 May 2013 17:09:14 +0000
Cuomo Talks Corruption http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/08/cuomo-talks-corruption- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/08/cuomo-talks-corruption-

Following a week littered with indicments and arrests of state legislators and their cronies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took to the airwaves to talk reform.

Cuomo didn't get into specific fixes today, but floated the targets of possible reform — Wilson Pakula, the enforcement wing of the state Board of Elections and cross-party endorsements. “These are crises, but they’re also opportunities,” Cuomo said. He added that he would want to "pull back the lens and do as much as we can."

RELATED: For a look at Cuomo's previous efforts to fight legislative corruption and what others think can be done to fight it, check out today's stoy: "Can Anything Be Done About Corruption in Albany?"

Cuomo also took time on Susan Arbetter's Capitol Pressroom to address Fred Dicker's latest column in The Post that said Cuomo is plotting to use recent scandals to overthrow Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Cuomo and Dicker used to be two peas in a pod with Cuomo appearing regularly on Dicker's show to float ideas until Dicker began attacking Cuomo for a more liberal agenda.

“I’m a partner to Assembly Speaker Silver, I’m a partner to Dean Skelos and Sen. Klein on the other side. But it is wholly up to the legislative bodies to select a leader,” Cuomo said. “I would never even for a moment try to influence that decision. And, again, in this case I don’t see what the Speaker had to do with any of these purely personal individual acts by two Assembly people.”

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Mon, 08 Apr 2013 16:09:50 +0000
Silver Encourages Stevenson to Resign [Statement] http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/04/silver-encourages-stevenson-to-resign-statement http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/04/silver-encourages-stevenson-to-resign-statement

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is calling on recently indicted Assemblyman Eric Stevenson to resign. Silver just issued this statement:

Assemblyman Stevenson's alleged actions as outlined by the federal charges against him are a clear violation of the public trust and cannot be tolerated. I believe that given the evidence that has been presented, he should seriously consider whether he can continue to maintain the public trust. I am encouraging him to resign.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Thu, 04 Apr 2013 17:04:13 +0000
Another Day, Another Indictment http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/04/another-day-another-indictment- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/04/another-day-another-indictment- Assemblyman Eric Stevenson was arrested this morning on charges he drafted legislation in exchange for cash.

The arrest comes only 48 hours after Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested and indicted in a scheme to use bribes to secure the Republican line for mayor. City Councilman Dan Halloran and Republican party officials were also arrested in the corruption case.

But it doesn't end there. Stevenson's arrest came about through a deal with a so-far unamed Bronx Assemblyman who faced felony charges and ratted out Stevenson in exchange for not being prosecuted. However, said Bronx Assemblyman will have to resign from office.

Expect plenty more news on this throughout the day.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Thu, 04 Apr 2013 14:47:57 +0000
Today's Headlines: Scandal Raises Questions About Member Items http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/04/todays-headlines-scandal-raises-questions-about-member-items- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/04/todays-headlines-scandal-raises-questions-about-member-items-

Scandal Raises Questions About Member Items

A recording of a wiretap featuring Councilman Dan Halloran bragging that he could extract tens of thousands of dollars from the City Council to use as a bribe has brought attention back to oversight of the council's member items. Although there isn't evidence Halloran did what he bragged a number of mayoral candidates are using the issue to attack fellow candidate Council Speaker Quinn. Bill de Blasio blasted Quinn at a press conference saying, "these things happened under her watch." Bill Thompson and Sal Albanese also attacked Quinn's record on member items. Republican Mayoral hopeful Joe Lhota called for an inspector general to oversee the council in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Lhota has attacked Quinn's proposal for an NYPD inspector general. “There have been so many accusations over the last four to six years about the abuse of member items,” Lhota told the Journal. “I think it’s about time that the council seriously consider having an inspector general for itself, to oversee what is obviously an area that is ripe for people with bad character.”


Other Stories We're Following

Smith Blew $2 Million in Election Cash (NY Post)

City Leave Police Official Without Lawyer to Defend Protesters Lawsuit (City Room)

Police Surveillance May Earn Money For City (NY Times)

Fast-Food Workers Plan Second Strike (NY Times)

Scandal Suggests Corruption Law Survived (NY Times)

Looking For a Way to End Scandal in NY (Albany Times Union)

Witness in Smith Case is $126 Million in Debt (Daily News)

Department of Education to Open 20 New Schools in the Bronx (Daily News)

Community Leader Starts Bronx Citizen's Patrol (Daily News)

Cop Arrested For Robbing Drug Dealers (Daily News)

Quinn Attacked on Term Limits (NY Post)

Bribery Scandal May Ensnare Donors (Crain's)

Seaport Developer Wants Hotel, Housing (Downtown Express)

Chelsea Loses In City Council Redistricting Plan (Chelsea Now)

Blacks Say They Were Displaced From E. Harlem CB By Latinos (DNAinfo)

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Thu, 04 Apr 2013 12:13:50 +0000
Today's Headlines: Smith's Bribery Scheme Unfolds http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/03/todays-headlines-smiths-bribery-scheme-unfolds http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/03/todays-headlines-smiths-bribery-scheme-unfolds

More details have emerged from the arrest of State Sen. Malcolm Smith and Councilman Dan Halloran. Four local Republicans were arrested as well, including the Bronx party chairman and the Queens party vice chairman. Another worked on John Catsimatidis's campaign but has now been fired. All six were charged with wire fraud and bribery. The senator was also charged with extortion. The money from the bribes was to come from state funding secured by Smith for upstate developers - actually an informant and undercover FBI agent - who would then pay the GOP leaders. Halloran was using council discretionary funds. Smith had previously survived a series of scandals and Halloran was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. This is just the latest in a series of Albany scandals.

Other Stories We're Following

With Legacy On His Mind, Mayor Adds 78 More Schools (NY Times)

Who Policies Prosecutors? (WNYC)

Push To Address Possible Danger In Smoke Detectors (City Limits)

Hoping For Immigration Reform, Undocumented New Yorkers File Taxes (Daily News)

Crosswalks In New York Are Not Havens, Study Finds (NY Times)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Wed, 03 Apr 2013 12:38:20 +0000
Squadron Tells Smith to Resign, References House of Cards http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/squadron-tells-smith-to-resign-references-house-of-cards http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/squadron-tells-smith-to-resign-references-house-of-cards

Sen. Daniel Squadron seems to be the first elected calling directly for Sen. Malcolm Smith's resignation following his arrest by the FBI for his alleged involvement in a scheme to buy the Republican line in the New York City mayor's race.

"The charges outlined in today's complaint are simply shocking. This is something that belongs in 'House of Cards,' not an election to decide who will run our city or any part of our government," said Squadron in a statement.

For the uninitiated 'House of Cards' is a totally-awesome take down of corruption in politics and journalism presented in episodic format by Netflix. I highly recommend it.

"Regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges filed against Senator Smith, he has lost the public trust -- and he should resign," Squadron continues. "Scandal after scandal underscores the need for fundamental reform of the system, including laws to create a better campaign finance system and more open and competitive elections, and to disentangle public service from for-profit business."

Squadron is currently running for public advocate.

For more on the election rigging scandal check out these posts:

Smith's Spokesman Issues Statement: Senator Will Be 'Vindicated'

Klein Strips Smith of Assignments, Chairmanship

Carlucci "Shocked and Outraged" By Smith's Alleged Misconduct

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Apr 2013 22:37:21 +0000
Carlucci "Shocked and Outraged" By Smith's Alleged Conduct http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/carlucci-qshocked-and-outragedq-by-smiths-alleged-conduct http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/carlucci-qshocked-and-outragedq-by-smiths-alleged-conduct Sen. David Carlucci is "shocked and outraged" over the alleged bribery scheme that his fellow Independent Democratic Conference member Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested for today, according to a statement from Carlucci's office.

Carlucci represents Spring Valley, New York and a Senator from Spring Valley is mentioned throughout the complaint against Smith. However, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told reporters today that there is no evidence of wrongdoing involving the Senator from Spring Valley.

Here is Carlucci's ful statement:

Like many New Yorkers, I am shocked and outraged over the alleged misconduct undertaken by various public officials at the state, city, and local government. This conduct is reprehensible in its entirety, and public corruption in any form cannot be tolerated at any layer of government. I look forward to hearing the details of this wide-ranging investigation as they begin to unfold. As the United States Attorney had indicated, in no way whatsoever was I, or any member of my staff, involved in the alleged criminal misconduct and subsequent charges filed this morning. On the contrary, these actions speak to a broader, more fundamental reason as to why I ran for office in the first place – to clean up the culture of corruption that pervades our politics.”Three years ago I came to Albany to shake up the status quo and bring change to our State Capital. While we have made great strides since, there clearly remains much more work to be done. I am committed to working to reform our system of government in a way that increases transparency and holds public officials accountable to the people they serve.

IDC head Sen. Jeff Klein has stripped Smith of his chairmanship and committee assignments and issued a statement saying Smith might want to consider resigning.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Apr 2013 18:08:02 +0000
Klein Strips Smith of Assignments, Chairmanship http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/klein-strips-smith-of-assignments-chairmanship- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/klein-strips-smith-of-assignments-chairmanship- Sen. Jeff Klein has stripped Sen. Malcolm Smith of his chairmanship and committees. In a statement just issued by the Independent Democratic Conference Klein implies that Smith should consider resignation. The move comes in response to Smith's arrest earlier today on charges that he tried to bribe his way onto the Republican ticket in the New York City mayoral race:

These are very serious allegations that, if true, constitute a clear betrayal of the public trust. As a result of these charges, I have made the decision to strip Senator Smith of his committee assignments and of his conference leadership position. By participating in the alleged scheme, Senator Smith breached the trust of the Independent Democratic Conference. I trust that the U.S. attorney's office will act expeditiously to resolve this matter and to ensure that justice is served. Finally, given the level of criminality alleged, I believe that Senator Smith should seriously consider whether or not he can continue to effectively serve his constituents."

Smith joined the Independent Democratic Conference late last year. The IDC paired with Senate Republicans just as it seemed Senate Democrats had won back control of the Senate. Smith is the only member of color of the IDC. Placards in front of Smith's office listing his committee assignments were taken down earlier today. Klein seems to hint in his statement that Smith should resign. It isn't clear what it would mean for control of the Senate if Smith resigned or if he is convicted.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Apr 2013 17:43:04 +0000
Smith's Spokesman Issues Statement: Senator Will Be 'Vindicated' http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/smiths-spokesman-issues-statement-senator-will-be-vindicated http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/02/smiths-spokesman-issues-statement-senator-will-be-vindicated A spokesman for state Sen. Malcolm Smith says the former majority leader will be "vindicated" of charges that he conspired to buy a spot on the Republican Party ballot for mayor in 2013.

Smith was arrested this morning by the FBI on charges that were brought in federal court. (Read the complaint below.)

Smith spokesman Todd Shapiro issued this statement: "The Senator has record of 13 years of dedication, hard work and integrity to the people he serves in Queens.He has provided to the heath, safety and well-being of the almost 20 million residents in New York. He will be vindicated when the all the facts in the case are revealed."

Smith led the Senate Democrats when they initially took control of the Senate in 2008. Smith had to cut deals with a number of senators to get that position. Last year, Smith joined the Independent Senate Democratic Conference, which lacked any minority members at the time. Smith was named chairman of the IDC in February of this year.

The IDC touted its seperation from the ethically challenged Demcoratic conference and the fact that they were ready to succeed where the Democrats had failed. But Smith and IDC Leader Sen. Jeff Klein were both part of the leadership structure of the Senate Democrats when they controlled the Senate. Smith's arrest could alter control of the Senate.

The IDC has yet to address Smith's arrest. Senate Democrats who would like to regain control of the Senate have been mum on the arrest as well.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara issued this statement:

Today’s charges demonstrate, once again, that a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government. The complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself. As alleged, Senator Malcolm Smith tried to bribe his way to a shot at Gracie Mansion – Smith drew up the game plan and Councilman Halloran essentially quarterbacked that drive by finding party chairmen who were wide open to receiving bribes. After the string of public corruption scandals that we have brought to light, many may rightly resign themselves to the sad truth that perhaps the most powerful special interest in politics is self-interest. We will continue pursuing and punishing every corrupt official we find, but the public corruption crisis in New York is more than a prosecutor’s problem.

USA v. Smith, Halloran, et. al. by Gotham Gazette

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 02 Apr 2013 15:34:51 +0000
Today's Headlines: Malcolm Smith Arrested In Mayoral Plot http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/02/todays-headlines-malcom-smith-arrested-in-mayoral-plot http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/04/02/todays-headlines-malcom-smith-arrested-in-mayoral-plot

The New York Post reports that State Sen. Malcolm Smith was arrested today for trying to bribe GOP leaders into getting his name on their mayoral ballot. He allegedly had Councilman Dan Halloran, a Republican, meet with party leaders and negotiate thousands in bribes. Halloran was also arrested today and is accused of collecting thousands in bribes for himself.

Other Stories We're Following

Kelly Wanted To Instill Fear In Blacks, Latinos: Senator Testifies (NY Times)

Councilman Poses With Man Charged With Photographing Sex-Assault Victim (NY Post)

Report: Millions Wasted By City Board Of Elections In 2011 (Daily News)

State's Firearm Lobby Taking Aim At City Rules (Daily News)

Bloomberg Blasts Rule Allowing Foreigners Into Shelters (NY Post)

Despite Problems After Sandy, Wireless Providers Resist Change (WNYC)

Lhota Turns Up Heat On Quinn For Supporting Police Monitor (NY Times)

Bronx Housing Court Crisis Demands Action (City Limits)

Advertising Blitz Calls For State Public Financing (Albany Times Union)

Bike Group Sues City Over NYPD Fees (Wall Street Journal)

Things Have Changed Since Million-Person-Growth Projection (Capital)

Homeowners Find Faults With New Flood Maps (WNYC)

Mental Health Groups Push For Changes To Cuomo Gun Law (Democrat and Chronicle)

Gently Sterilizing Rats In The City (The Atlantic Cities)

Immigrant Labor Center Destroyed By Sandy Restored (Fox News)

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mmuller@gothamgazette.com (Mike Muller) City Tue, 02 Apr 2013 12:15:14 +0000
Today's Lead: Bloomberg Lashes Out at State Legislators http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/28/todays-lead-bloomberg-lashes-out-at-state-legislators- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/28/todays-lead-bloomberg-lashes-out-at-state-legislators-

Mayor Michael Bloomberg got personal yesterday with state legislators he blames for failing to enact a speed camera program around schools that he says would stop children from being hit and killed by speeding cars. After the next tragedy Bloomberg suggested: “Why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?” Bloomberg named Sens. Martin Golden, Dean Skelos and Simcha Felder as legislators parents should call to complain.“Maybe you want to give those phone numbers to the parents of the child when a child is killed,” Bloomberg said. “It would be useful so that the parents can know exactly who’s to blame.” The speed camera plan was in the Assembly's budget plan but did not make it to the final product. When approached on Sunday during budget votes Golden told the Gazette "I have no idea," when asked why speed cameras weren't part of the budget. He told The New York Times on Wednesday that other areas that use speed cameras have found them "unreliable." Republican spokesman Scott Reif issued a statement saying that, "no one has fought harder or longer" to promote safety in New York City.


Other Stories We're Following

Queens Landlord Accused of Endangering Tenants (NY Times)

Police Chief Appointee Hailed as Bridge Builder (NY Times)

Quinn Denies Being Vindictive (NY Times)

Lhota Doesn't Regret Fight to Remove Art That Offended Him (NY Times)

Plaintiff's Lawyers Say Memo Prove NYPD Stop and Frisk Racially Motivated (NY Post)

Sen. Malcolm Smith Rips NYPD Inspector General (NY Post)

Quinn Calls Herself "Pushy Broad" During Interview (Daily News)

Bloomberg Warm to Quinn but Keeping Mayoral Pick to Himself (Daily News)

Minority Parks Department Workers Get Settlement (Daily News)

State Assembly to Vote on Budget Today (Associated Press)

Does State Budget Favor the Young? (Albany Times Union)

Judge Rejects City's Request to Dismiss Lawsuit to Expedite PCB Removal (NY 1)

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Thu, 28 Mar 2013 11:59:12 +0000
IDC Member Counties Get $1 Million For Anti-Gun Violence http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/25/idc-member-counties-get-1-million-for-anti-gun-violence-program http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2013/03/25/idc-member-counties-get-1-million-for-anti-gun-violence-program Being part of the majority coalition in the state Senate pays — at least when it comes to fighting gun violence.

The Aid to Localities budget bill shows that four counties represented by members of the majority coalition are going to share $1 million for the establishment of — or continued operation of — Operation S.N.U.G. programs.

S.N.U.G., which stands for guns spelled backwards (seriously), is an anti-gun initiative started by Sen. Malcolm Smith when he was senate majority leader. Now he is a member of the Independent Senate Democrats, who are power-sharing in the Senate with Republicans. The program is expanding a bit and the $1 million in funding will go to Rockland, Queens, Bronx and Onandaga Couties.

IDC member Sen. David Carlucci represents Rockland County; IDC leader Sen. Jeff Klein is from Bronx County; Sen. Dave Valesky is from Onandaga County; and Smith from Queens.

The funding for S.N.U.G. was part of the Senate's one-house budget bill but seems to have expanded in the completed budget.

A spokesman for the IDC didn't respond to a request for comment.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:16:56 +0000
Senate Dems Who Failed to Lead in Cuomo's Eyes Are The Ones Back in Control http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/12/05/senate-dems-who-failed-to-lead-in-cuomos-eyes-are-the-ones-back-in-control- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2012/12/05/senate-dems-who-failed-to-lead-in-cuomos-eyes-are-the-ones-back-in-control-

There is a bit of a logic problem with the op-ed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's published today after it was announced that there would be a power-sharing agreement to run the State Senate.

Cuomo says in the op-ed that "the Democratic Conference was in power for two years and squandered the opportunity, failing to pass any meaningful reform legislation despite repeated promises."

But, as it happens, the people in charge of the Democratic conference when it was in the majority are currently members of the Independent Democratic Conference: Sen. Malcolm Smith was majority leader and Sen. Jeff Klein was deputy majority leader during the two years Cuomo recalls as "squandered."

And the man that the IDC struck a "power sharing" agreement with, Sen. Dean Skelos, helped plan and iniate the coup that paralyzed the chamber in 2009.

Furthermore, even after the Senate coup was resolved and Sens. Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate rejoined the Democratic conference fold, Smith retained the Senate presidency and Klein kept his title as deputy majority leader.

In fairness, Smith and Klein both had to contend with the Four Amigos — Sens. Carl Krueger, Ruben Diaz, Espada and Monserrate – and a number of other Democrats who refused to coalesce around certain policy issues and used the tight majority to leverage their votes.

But Klein was also using the situation to boost his power in the conference at the time.

Klein only left the Senate Democrats when he lost his position as head of the Senate Demcoratic Campaign Committee after a disastrous election performance that saw Democrats lose their slim majority.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have issued a statement saying they meet the litmus test that Cuomo issued in his op-ed. Democratic Senate spokesman Mike Murphy issued this statement:

This past session and through recent elections, the Senate Democratic Conference laid out a progressive agenda New Yorkers responded to and have overwhelmingly demanded through their votes on Election Day. The Governor has now presented a similar agenda including many issues the new Republican Coalition has opposed. Senate Democrats will continue to lead the fight on this progressive agenda, and we will hold the Senate Republican Coalition accountable until New Yorkers get the progressive change they deserve.

Sens. Malcolm Smith and Jeff Klein meant with Rep. Nancy Pelosi. Photo from Sen. Smith's Office.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Wed, 05 Dec 2012 18:12:12 +0000
Power Over Party For Malcolm Smith and Others http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/04/power-over-party-for-malcolm-smith-and-others- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/city/2012/12/04/power-over-party-for-malcolm-smith-and-others-

The New York Post reported this morning that state Sen. Malcolm Smith will join the Independent Democratic Caucus the group that has pledged to help keep Republicans in charge of the chamber.

Smith was Senate Majority Leader in 2009 when Senate Republicans staged a coup with the help of two renegade Democrats, which left the Senate in chaos for weeks.

The Independent Democrats, created and led by Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein, supposedly left the Democratic confernece because of the infighting and absurdity that took place when Smith was "in control" with the Democrats. Smith, however, looks to be setting himself up for a run for New York City mayor on the Republican ticket.

Klein bolted the Democratic conference when Minority Leader John Sampson replaced him as head of the New York Senate Democratic Campaign Committee in 2010. Democrats lost a number of seats under Klein's watch in the 2010 elections. But Klein and his followers got some perks from Republicans in 2011 while rank-and-file Democrats saw their budgets and staffing slashed.

This year, Democrats have picked up at this moment an undetermined amount of seats — likely enough that if all Senate Democrats were on board they would be back in the majority.

Newly elected Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder also decided to earlier this year that he would conference with Senate Republicans.

Senate Democrats can hardly contain their contempt for the IDC, even though it is in their best interest to try to make nice and lure them back.

Meanwhile, the Democratic conference continues to worry that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has approved the Senate Republicans' maneuvering to control the Senate because he favors them as a partner.

Some Democrats think Cuomo hopes a power sharing agreement in the Senate will bolster his bipartisan credentials if he should decide to seek the presidency in 2016. However, Cuomo has been taking flack from a number of sources (especially Chris Hayes of MSNBC) for not outright supporting Senate Democrats during the elections.

Senate Democrats don't have to look very hard for hints that could worry them about where Cuomo's interests lie.

Tom Precious of the Buffalo News pointed out an interesting discrepancy in how Cuomo has handled the uncertainty in the control of the Senate from 2010 to 2012.

"Some wonder why Cuomo isn’t intervening to resolve the unsettled race quickly as he did two years ago, but his administration declined to comment Thursday," Precious wrote in an article Friday.

Precious goes on to note that in November 2010, as Senate races were still being counted that Cuomo "wrote to Chief Justice Jonathan Lippman of the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, that he was worried about taking office in January without knowing who controlled the Senate. He said the chamber faced chaos that could affect all New Yorkers and that such a state of “limbo ... is not only undesirable but also unacceptable.’’

This year Cuomo has written no such letter. The New York Post reported yesterday that Senate Republicans have been intentionally stalling the court challenges in two contested races to give themselves time to recruit more Democrats or make other araingments.

Sen. Malcolm Smith Marches in Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan. Photo provided by Office of Sen. Malcolm Smith.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) City Tue, 04 Dec 2012 15:59:34 +0000