When New York State Senator and former Majority Leader Malcolm Smith was arrested this week, he joined a remarkably large group: in the past six years, members of the New York State Senate have been about three times more likely than average Americans to run afoul of the law. And majority leaders have been over ten times more likely.
The arrest rate in the country as a whole for a variety of crimes the FBI tracks is just over 4%. But the New York Public Interest Research Group says 11 state senators have been arrested in the last six years, bringing the arrest rate in the state senate (based on an estimate of how many have served in that time) to around 12%. And three of the five people to serve as majority leader or majority coalition co-leader during that time have been arrested. Which means the people who help make New York's laws are disproportionately likely to be accused of breaking them.