Very disappointing news from New York City. Democratic New York State Sen. Malcolm Smith has been arrested and charged in a federal corruption case, report the New York Times and the Daily News. Smith became the state's first Black Senate Majority Leader and President in January 2009.
Smith, Republican NYC Councilman Daniel Halloran (Queens) and four others have been charged with trying to fix the 2013 mayoral election by buying Smith a spot on the Republican ballot. The others suspects include the Bronx Republican Chairman and Queens Republican vice chairman.
Mr. Smith, according to the complaint, agreed with a cooperating witness and an undercover F.B.I. agent, who was masquerading as a wealthy real estate developer, to pay off leaders of Republican county committees in New York’s five boroughs. The bribes were to be paid to obtain specific certificates authorizing him to run for mayor as a Republican even though he was a registered Democrat. The undercover agent and the cooperating witness served as intermediaries between the senator and Mr. Halloran, the complaint said. ...
Smith became the state's first Black Senate Majority Leader in 2009. This was after the Democrats took control of the chamber after 40 years in the minority. Smith managed a narrow, two-vote victory to become Senate majority leader after one member of his caucus, the rabidly anti-gay Reverend Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, threatened to jump ship because of his well-publicized opposition to gays and marriage equality.
Some gay activists accused Smith of delaying a marriage vote—even though he had publicized his support and attended fundraisers—but he maintained that the bill would only reach the floor when he had sufficient votes for passage. Smith was removed as majority leader in a June 2009 coup.
The New York Senate later passed the historic marriage equality bill on June 24 2011 by a 33-29 vote. The lone Democratic holdout: Ruben Diaz Sr., the rabidly anti-gay Bronx Democratic Pentecostal pastor who has a lesbian granddaughter.