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Aubertine among Democrats who allegedly traded votes for campaign cash in 2008

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Cape Vincent resident Darrel J. Aubertine was among seven Democrats elected to the state Senate in the fall of 2008 who accepted campaign contributions from state Sen. Malcolm Smith, who allegedly bought their votes to become the majority leader of the Senate, according to the New York Post.

The Post reported Monday that Mr. Smith unwittingly told an FBI informant that he purchased his way into power as majority leader in 2008, enticing other senators with campaign cash in exchange for their votes. That information was revealed in court papers filed ahead of Mr. Smith’s coming Manhattan corruption trial. That case involves a bribery scheme by which Mr. Smith allegedly tried to get on the New York City mayoral ballot.

State Board of Elections records show that, between Sept. 30 and Oct. 29, Mr. Aubertine’s campaign accepted five donations from Mr. Smith totaling $9,500. The following donations were made: Sept. 30, $1,500; Oct. 5, $2,000; Oct. 10, $2,000; Oct. 18, $2,000; and Oct. 29, $2,000.

Mr. Aubertine served a two-year term representing the 48th District in the Senate before he was defeated in 2010 by Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton. Mr. Aubertine later served a three-year term as commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. He is now employed by the state comptroller as special assistant for external affairs.

Mr. Aubertine did not return phone calls Monday seeking comment.

In the Manhattan federal court filing, prosecutors paraphrased Mr. Smith on how he used campaign contributions to get votes, according to the Post. “In particular, he said that he contributed $1,000 per week to the campaigns of approximately 10 members of the state Senate during the last [weeks] of their elections,” prosecutors wrote.

Recipients of Mr. Smith’s campaign contributions in 2008 included six incumbents and one challenger. Of the seven victors, only two senators remain in office: Joseph Addabbo Jr., D-Queens, who received $6,000, and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, who received $4,000.

Trading cash for votes
The following seven Democrats were elected to the state Senate after receiving campaign cash from state Sen. Malcolm Smith between Oct. 1 and Election day, Nov. 4, 2008.
• Suzi Oppenheimer, Mamaronec; $11,500
• Darrel Aubertine, Jefferson County; $9,500
• Craig Johnson, Long Island; $9,500
• Joseph Addabbo Jr., Queens; $6,000
• William Stachowski, Erie County; $6,000
• Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Yonkers; $4,000
• Pedro Espada Jr., The Bronx; $500
SOURCE: NYS Board of Elections
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