Former New York Senator Malcolm Smith was yesterday sentenced to seven years in prison for bribery and related offenses. He was convicted in February. A former majority leader in the New York Senate, Smith was defeated for re-election in 2014.
Smith is the latest associate of U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) headed to jail. Formal investigations of several New York politicians began in 2010 after the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) exposed corruption through stories in the New York Post, New York Times and New York Daily News.
The first story, in the New York Post of January 31, 2010, focused on a nonprofit called New Direction Local Development Corporation, which according to its website, was founded by Meeks and Smith.
Our review of IRS tax returns, New York state budget records, and other documents suggested that New Direction did little development. Instead, it operated to the benefit of Meeks and Smith. Among other financial irregularities, New Direction raised money for Hurricane Katrina victims who never got the assistance.
Prosecution of a sitting members of Congress requires the approval of the Attorney General. Meeks has not been prosecuted presumably because he has political and personal ties to former AG Eric Holder. The new AG, Loretta Lynch, is even more tied into the Queens political machine, and we believe, will similarly protect Meeks.
Sentenced at the same time was Vincent Tabone, a former Queens Republican Party official. Smith, Tabone, and other GOP officials conspired to allow Smith, a liberal Democrat, to run for New York City mayor as a Republican in 2013, in return for $25,000. Tabone got 3 1/2 years.
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