While members of the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton State Department and her presidential campaign have all managed to escape arrest and prosecution for corruption, not all of their Democratic Party associates appear immune to being indicted for serious criminal charges. On Friday, U.S. Justice Department prosecutors announced they unsealed an eight-count indictment that charges Democratic Party operative G. Steven Pigeon with serious corruption.
A longtime, well-connected Democratic Party operative, Pigeon faces the federal charges of bribery, wire fraud and criminal conspiracy. Federal prosecutors are also lodging a complaint that Pigeon allegedly entered into an unholy relationship with former-New York State Supreme Court Judge John Michalek, who was forced to resign from the bench.
Justice Department documents accuse Pigeon of arranging well-paying jobs for members of Michalek’s family in exchange for a high-paying court for one of his associates. The judge also allegedly gave Pigeon access to confidential information in certain judicial cases.
Also, public records indicate that there is a strong local connection as Democratic strategist and Clinton family associate Steve Pigeon did his part to help Hillary Clinton win the presidential nomination
In June 2016, Judge Michalek pled guilty in State Supreme Court to bribery and filing a false instrument and resigned from the bench. He has not yet been sentenced and is now cooperating with both state and federal investigators.
According to the federal indictment: [B]etween February 2012 and April 2013, Pigeon offered and provided things of value to former New York State Supreme Court Judge John A. Michalek, in exchange for official action. Specifically, Pigeon promised employment for a member of Michalek’s immediate family with the 2012 campaign to reelect President Barack Obama; offered to help the same family member obtain employment with the U.S. Department of State; and agreed to support Michalek’s application for appointment to the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court, all to obtain favorable judicial decisions from Michalek and to control who Michalek would appoint to a paid court receivership.
In a prepared statement released by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kenneth Blanco said: “Bribery of a judge strikes at the very core of our democracy. The independence of the judiciary is paramount to civilized society. Our prosecutors and law enforcement partners will pursue any and all attempts to corrupt our fundamental institutions, including the judiciary.”
“The detailed facts set forth in the indictment provide evidence not only of the charges contained therein but of the tremendous investigation conducted by agents from the Buffalo Division of the FBI together with their partners at the New York State Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Police,” said Acting U.S. Attorney James Kennedy. “The indictment speaks for itself.”
If convicted of his federal charges, Pigeon could face a range of five to twenty years in prison per count and fines of $250,000 per count.
Pigeon also faces criminal charges in a separate state case. He, along with two associates, is accused of setting up a political action committee (PAC) through which illegal campaign funding was arranged for at least three New York State political races.
Photo: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (left) and Democrat operative G. Steven Pigeon.