do not pass go
Dinesh D’Souza, a controversial political commentator, author and former president of King’s College, was indicted today by a grand jury for alleged campaign finance fraud, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office announced this evening.
According to the office, Mr. D’Souza, 52, is charged “with violating the federal campaign finance laws by making illegal contributions to a United States Senate campaign in the names of others and causing false statements to be made to the Federal Election Commission in connection with those contributions.”
do not collect $200
Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson has been convicted on federal corruption charges, a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara confirmed this evening.
Mr. Stevenson was convicted on four counts stemming from charges that he drafted legislation and performed official government services in exchange for more than $20,000 in cash bribes–the latest in a long string of corruption arrests hitting the state’s lawmakers.
Law & Order
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is going after the pensions of four ex-pols convicted on corruption-related charges, his office announced this morning.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York has filed paperwork seeking orders to force former City Councilmen Larry Seabrook and Miguel Martinez to forfeit their pension payments to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars owed on their corruption charges.
Melvin Lowe, a political consultant who worked with the State Senate Democrats, was arrested this morning on federal corruption charges.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The string of corruption arrests in New York State is far from over, according to the man who has issued many of the indictments.
In a rare televised interview with Capital Tonight, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said even more public corruption cases can be expected to emerge due to the “pervasive” nature of the problem in the state.
Malcolm in the Middle
Two days ago, when U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said New York State corruption cases were beginning to feel like the movie Groundhog Day, he was rather prescient. This afternoon, Mr. Bharara unsealed charges against Bronx Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, making him the third New York City lawmaker to be charged with corruption this week. Additionally, another Bronx Assemblyman, Nelson Castro, was the cooperating witness in the latest case and will resign today.
“So here we go again,” Mr. Bharara began. “This has become something of a habit. For the second time in three days, we unsealed criminal charges against a sitting member of the State Legislature. And based on what is alleged in this complaint, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid the sad conclusion that political corruption in New York is indeed rampant and that the ‘show me the money’ culture in Albany is alive and well.”
Law & Order
“Today is another sad and disappointing day for every New Yorker,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced at his press conference this morning where he unsealed corruption charges against six officials–including State Senator Malcolm Smith and Councilman Dan Halloran–accusing them of accepting bribes to boost Mr. Smith’s mayoral campaign.
“The charges we unsealed today demonstrate once again the ‘show me the money culture’ seems to pervade every level of New York government,” he continued. “The criminal complaint describes an unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed involving six officials who together built a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany.”
Law & Order
Councilman Larry Seabrook, who was convicted last July on 9 counts of wire and fraud charges, was sentenced in federal court today to 5 years in prison. Upon his conviction, Mr. Seabrook was immediately expelled from the legislative chamber.
“Councilman Larry Seabrook sacrificed the public trust on the altar of greed,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
This morning, Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District, announced multiple charges relating to an alleged campaign finance scheme against Albert Baldeo, a Democratic district leader in Queens. Mr. Baldeo, who surrendered to law enforcement this morning, is being accused of using a system of “straw donors” to fill his campaign coffers for his unsuccessful 2010 City Council campaign with “funds drawn from his own bank account disguised as donations from others.” He is also being charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly telling instructing the straw donors to give false information and say the donations were made with their money when FBI agents began investigating his campaign finances. In a statement accompanying the announcement, Mr. Bharara characterized the charges against Mr. Baldeo as proof his office will be continue to be aggressive in pursuing corruption investigations, something which he has earned a reputation for since being sworn in as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District in 2009.
Although federal authorities announced the contractor who headed the controversial CityTime automated payroll project will pay over $500 million in restitution, which will largely to to the New York City’s coffers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the sudden cash infusion won’t be a budget panacea.
“We start out for the year after this with something like a 3 billion dollar deficit projected, so this will help close that,” Mr. Bloomberg said while simultaneously cautioning the budget will be one “where we have to make choices of ‘either or.’”