NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Following a series of arrests including State. Sen. Malcolm Smith Tuesday morning over an alleged plot to fix the upcoming New York City mayoral race, Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered his theory on the scheme.
Bloomberg said he believes the opportunity for the kind of corruption alleged against the political leaders arose because political parties are part and parcel of New York City’s elections.
“All of this comes out of the fact that we have partisan elections when cities aren’t partisan. And what happens is, only people that can go through whatever the majority party is, whether it’s Democrat here or Republican someplace else – they’re the only people that really can face the voters and have any meaningful chance,” Bloomberg told reporters including WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
“I think I spent $7 million of my own money trying to convince everybody that we should have non-partisan elections. We are the only big city in the country that has partisan elections – the only one,” said Bloomberg.
The mayor added that he could not get any newspaper, union or good government group to back his proposal to have non-partisan elections.
The FBI arrested six people Tuesday morning, including Smith, a Democrat who was looking to get a spot on the Republican ballot for mayor.
Prosecutors said the scheme was designed to fix the mayoral race in exchange for bribes.
Accused of helping him do this by bribing county officials is Republican City Councilman Dan Halloran. Two county officials – Bronx GOP Chairman Joseph Savino and Queens GOP vice-chairman Vincent Tabone – are accused of demanding cash bribes.
In addition, Spring Valley Mayor Noramie Jasmin and Spring Valley Deputy Mayor Joseph Desmaret, of Rockland County, are also charged in the alleged plot.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) said, “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.”
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