The cesspool that is New York politics continued true to form this morning, as Dean Skelos (R), leader of the New York State Senate, and his son have been arrested on corruption charges.
The pair face federal charges for fraud, bribe solicitation, and extortion.
Via the New York Times:
Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son were arrested on Monday morning by federal authorities on extortion, fraud and bribe solicitation charges, expanding the corruption investigation that has already changed the face of Albany.
Mr. Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, 32, surrendered at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York office in Lower Manhattan at about 9:30 a.m.
The charges against them were detailed in a six-count criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Manhattan that details a five-year scheme to “monetize” the senator’s official position by extorting payments through a Long Island-based real estate developer and from an Arizona environmental company, with the expectation that the money paid to Adam Skelos — nearly $220,000 in total — would influence his father’s actions.
Skelos is accused of taking specific actions that benefited the environmental company and real estate developer as long as they continued to pay his son.
The charges were announced by United States attorney Preet Bharara, who once famously denounced the triumvirate of Skelos, recently indicted former Speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver (D), and Governor Cuomo as “three men in a room” who had ruling power over all of New York politics.
The Observer reported:
Mr. Bharara also criticized how elements of the media and political establishment seem to have accepted and embraced the notion of a government by three men—and threw an apparent jab at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who jokingly referred to himself, Mr. Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos as “the Three Amigos” in his State of the State address earlier this week.
The head ‘man in the room,’ Governor Cuomo, is himself being looked at in a corruption case, regarding the abrupt disbanding of the governor’s Moreland Act commission on public corruption.
Skelos, along with other New York Republicans, was accused this past election of cutting a secret deal to secure Cuomo’s re-election bid.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, a vociferous critic of Silver and Cuomo, posted a statement about the Skelos arrest earlier today:
If indicted (and that looks extremely likely), my response will be consistent and exactly the same as it was when Silver was indicted; Skelos must resign. Personally I have always had a cordial relationship with Senator Skelos and I wish him the best, but the fact is that when someone is indicted they can no longer serve the people of New York.
Political affiliation is irrelevant. Republican or Democrat does not matter. What matters is a government that functions legally and ethically and is not a breeding ground of personal gain and corruption.
Corruption in New York spans both sides of the aisle. A recent national poll bears this out, with members of both parties from every corner of the nation agreeing that New York leads the way in political corruption.