Malcolm Smith Stripped of Committee, Leadership Perks After Arrest

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State Sen. Malcolm Smith's office. (Photo: Bill Hammond)
State Sen. Malcolm Smith’s office. (Photo: Bill Hammond)

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Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeffrey Klein effectively booted Senator Malcolm Smith from his breakaway Democratic caucus this afternoon, stripping him of his leadership position and all committee assignments in the wake of charges that he took part in an alleged bribery scheme.

“These are very serious allegations that, if true, constitute a clear betrayal of the public trust,” Mr. Klein said in a statement. “As a result of these charges, I have made the decision to strip Senator Smith of his committee assignments and of his conference leadership position. By participating in the alleged scheme, Senator Smith breached the trust of the Independent Democratic Conference.”

Mr. Smith, a Democrat charged with trying to bribe Republican county leaders to secure a place in the Republican mayoral primary, was one of five Democrats that formed their own conference to govern the State Senate with Republican State Sen. Dean Skelos. He was the co-chairman of the Senate Task Force on Sandy Recovery, vice chairman of the Finance Committee and chairman of the Social Services Committee. Along with Mr. Smith, Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, Queens County Republican Executive Vice President Vince Tabone and Bronx County Republican leader Jay Savino were charged with participating in the alleged bribery scheme as well.

“I trust that the U.S. attorney’s office will act expeditiously to resolve this matter and to ensure that justice is served,” Mr. Klein continued. “Finally, given the level of criminality alleged, I believe that Senator Smith should seriously consider whether or not he can continue to effectively serve his constituents.”

Update: (2:37 PM):  Mr. Skelos concurred with Mr. Klein’s decision to strip Mr. Smith of his leadership and committee assignments.

“The allegations outlined today involving Malcolm Smith are extremely troubling,” Mr. Skelos said in a statement. ” I concur with the swift decision made by Independent Democratic Leader Jeff Klein to strip him of his committee assignments and his conference leadership position.”

Malcolm Smith Stripped of Committee, Leadership Perks After Arrest