They say he offered to sell Albany votes like shares of stock — and now federal prosecutors want to use those fundraising boasts to send state Sen. Malcolm Smith to jail.
The disgraced Queens breakaway Democrat, whose corruption trial for trying to buy his way onto the Republican line for mayor last year resumes in January, warned dozens of top New York lobbyists that their clients would be shut out of state politics if they didn’t make large contributions, the feds say in a new filing.
“Smith told the attendees that they should treat the fundraiser as an ‘IPO’ [initial public offering] by donating early while prices were low and while there was still an opportunity to participate,” Assistant US Attorney Justin Anderson wrote Wednesday of the August 2008 gathering in upstate Kingston.
“Smith’s comments implied that those who failed to make contributions to his campaign at that time would find themselves having to pay more later or being unable to accomplish anything with the Senate under Smith’s leadership.”
Smith told the lobbyists then that the Democrats were expected to win control of the Senate in that upcoming November election and that he’d be among the key pols calling the shots for the reorganized legislative body.
Anderson filed the legal papers last week asking White Plains federal Judge Kenneth Karas to allow prosecutors to present the boast as evidence at Smith’s trial.
Linking contributions to future government actions is illegal under New York law.