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Sen. Malcolm Smith Arrested In Alleged Plot To Rig New York City Mayor’s Race (page 3)

U.S. Atty: ‘Show Me The Money' Culture Prevalent In N.Y. Government
Sen. Malcolm A. Smith on March 12, 2008  in Albany, New York. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

Sen. Malcolm A. Smith on March 12, 2008 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

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“I hope that he fully cooperates with the investigation, and I hope that the investigation is thorough and speedy and gets to the facts, but it is very, very troubling,” Cuomo said.

“We have zero tolerance for any violation of the public integrity and the public trust,” Cuomo added.

In a statement, New York State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox said, “The arrest of elected and party officials this morning is deeply concerning. I urge federal and state law enforcement officials to do their jobs as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible to determine the guilt or innocence of those accused.”

Susan Lerner of good government group Common Cause told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan: “It is a clear indictment of the pay-to-play culture that dominates all levels of New York government, a system that has to change.”

One candidate for mayor, Republican billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis, said the arrests “point to a culture of corruption that permeates our city and state, corruption fueled by career politicians who put personal advancement before public service.”

Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson’s office also released a statement:

“These charges are extremely troubling, particularly because they involve the use of taxpayer dollars to advance corruption. These most recent developments are the latest in a history of corruption and a broken system that, despite claims to the contrary, has clearly not been adequately reformed under the Speaker’s leadership. New Yorkers deserve a government as good as the people it represents. Under a Thompson Administration, we will have zero tolerance for violating the public trust and we will enforce that with the highest levels of accountability standards.”

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.

The scandal is also troubling to the people of Spring Valley, where the mayor and deputy mayor have been charged.

“I’m shocked, shocked. I can’t believe this is going on in Spring Valley,” resident Abdul Innocent said.

In Hollis, Queens, where Sen. Smith has been so popular for so many years, people were amazed.

“It’s just a shock to me and I hope it’s not true. I hope the allegations are not true,” resident Carl Cush said.

“You know what? They’re trusted officials. You expect more from them, so I’m disappointed, is what it is,” resident Antonio Rivera said.