By LOUIS FLORES
A Federal grand jury has reportedly been empaneled to probe the accounts of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, according to a report published by The New York Daily News.
Before New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) was selected to lead the State's lower legislative house, he served as chair of the Bronx Democratic County Committee.
Assemblymember Michael Benedetto (D-The Bronx), treasurer of the Bronx Democratic County Committee, has reportedly been subpoenaed and has met with investigators from the U.S. Attorney's Offices in each of Albany and Manhattan, according to The New York Daily News' report.
Speaker Heastie was selected to lead the New York State Assembly in February 2015 after the previous leader, former Assemblymember Sheldon Silver (D-Lower East Side), was arrested on five counts of Federal corruption charges.
Selection of Assemblymember Heastie to serve as the Assembly speaker took government reform advocates by surprise, given ethical questions that had been raised about his campaign activities, including in reports published by The New York Times and POLITICO New York.
According to the reports, the campaign finance activities of Assemblymember Heastie had become of interest to the Moreland Commission, a corruption-fighting panel of investigators empaneled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) that was later disbanded as part of a backroom budget deal with former Assemblymember Silver and former New York State Senator Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).
After the closure of the Moreland Commission, the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara seized the commission's files and incorporated the facts and information of the Moreland Commission's investigations into the anti-corruption prosecutions being waged by Federal prosecutors.