(Jen Chung) Queens lawmakers State Senator Malcolm Smith and City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested this morning by the FBI in a corruption probe. The NY Post reports that they're accused of plotting to "rig this year’s mayoral election through fraud and bribes." Sources tell the tabloid, "The pols allegedly formed an alliance built on cash payments and fraud to get Smith — one of the state’s top Democrats — placed on the GOP mayoral ballot."
Smith was once the head of the State Senate's Democrats but joined an "independent" group of Democrats that allowed Republicans to take control. Last summer, he was mentioned as a mayoral hopeful to run on the Republican ticket, because of his appeal to conservatives (he likes stop-and-frisk and Wal-Mart in NYC). But Smith (who has other problems) would have needed considerable help to pull it off: The Daily News explains, "Candidates need the backing of three of the five borough party leaders to get access to a coveted ballot line."