State Senator Thomas Libous, a New York Republican, has been indicted on federal charges that he lied to federal agents. Meanwhile, his son, Matthew Libous, was charged with filing false tax returns.
This is a big case in upstate New York, because the state senator faces five years in prison, which could complicate efforts by Republicans to hold the Senate, which is the last vestiges of their political power in the state.
Sen. Libous is 61 and has been in the state senate since 1988. He currently is the 2nd highest ranking Republican in that body. He has been effective in directing millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to his district that borders on PA.
For the last four years, he has worked closely with Governor Cuomo, a Democrat, to assist him in passing much of the Democrat’s agenda in New York.
In a statement to reporters after he was arraigned in White Plains, NY, Libous stated that he had done nothing wrong. He questioned the timing of the prosecution, noting that the case was well timed with his reelection bid in the fall.
Sen. Libous stated that he is not guilty of all charges, and he is going to fight them. He also noted that his son is innocent as well.
For many New York political observers, the Libous case is just another example of the corruption of Albany. Legislators there often are accused of abusing legislative office for personal gain.
According to the US Attorney on the case, public servants should serve the public and not try to use their office to benefit themselves and their families. He noted that 26 legislators in NY state have left office since 2000 due to ethical or criminal issues.
The charge on the state senator, however, is related to an earlier investigation in 2013 by federal prosecutors that focused on whether or not Libous obtained a job for his lawyer son, in exchange for a promise that the senator would send business to the law firm that hired his son.
Federal prosecutors are investigating if a lobbying firm at the senator’s request paid the law firm at least $50,000 every year to cover the cost of the salary that the senator requested for his son.
The senator’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea for his client, and the senator was released on $50,000 bond.
The lawyer for Matthew Libous also entered a plea of not guilty, and his client also was released on $50,000 bond..
The six count indictment on Matthew states that he did not report thousands of dollars in income. He also is accused of using a cell phone tower business to pay for many of his personal expenses.
The senator’s indictment states that the FBI interviewed him in 2010 and he falsely claimed that he did not recall how his son started to work at the legal firm. He also told the FBI that no deals had been made to get his son a job.
If the senator is convicted in this corruption case, he could face several years in prison. He also could be deprived of the ability to run for public office in the future.