Today’s charges against Malcolm Smith, Daniel Halloran and four others are a political disaster for New York City’s Republican Party. The alleged corruption goes to the heart of what little influence remains for the New York City Republican county organizations and their chairmen.
Leaders of two of the five county organizations and one of the four Republican members of the City Council were criminally charged. The Complaint suggests that at least one, and possibly two, other county county chairmen were expected to support Smith in exchange for a quid pro quo payment. According to the Complaint, Halloran expected to be able to drag along in his corrupt scheme any of the county chairmen who were not being bribed.
The Complaint references Halloran’s efforts at co-opting other Republican county chairmen, beyond Jay Savino, Bronx County GOP chairman, and Vincent Tabone, Queens County GOP vice chairman:
- Concerning a county chairman identified only as “County Chairman #1”, Halloran agreed to “find out what it would take to obtain County Chairman #1’s support” (para. 49).
- Vincent Tabone, vice chairman of the Queens GOP, is described by the “Cooperating Witness” as saying that “he can bring Manhattan … in … [b]ecause Manhattan is the easiest.” (para. 51).
- Jay Savino, Bronx County GOP Chairman, is alleged to have “suggested that the [undercover FBI agent] also pay a retainer to another Republican county chairman (“County Chairman #2″) in order to gain County Chairman #2’s support for a Wilson Pakula certificate for Smith.” (para. 54)
- When Halloran reports that “they would probably be able to get all five New York City Republican county chairman to sign a Wilson Pakula”, he adds the good news that “only three of the five chairman were requiring payments.” (para. 57).
- Halloran told Smith that he believed “that if three of the committee chairman agreed to sign a Wilson Pakula certificate, then the other two chairmen would agree as well.” (para. 64).
- The Complaint describes a conversation between the UC and Smith in which they “discussed paying a bribe to County Chairman #1 and Smith said, in substance, that County Chairman #1 should receive ‘less’ than” Tabone and Savino “because he would be the fourth chairman to sign a Wilson Pakula”. (para. 70).
From the facts alleged in the Complaint it appears that two other county chairmen were potentially targeted for bribes or other quid pro quo payments. Who are they, what evidence supports the statem and whether they will be criminally charged are unanswered questions, but the allegations in the Complaint lay bare a party apparatus which has run off the rails. Will any of the current GOP chairmen survive?