Queens lawmakers State Senator Malcolm Smith and City Councilman Dan Halloran were arrested this morning by the FBI in a corruption probe. The NY Post reports that they're accused of plotting to "rig this year’s mayoral election through fraud and bribes." Sources tell the tabloid, "The pols allegedly formed an alliance built on cash payments and fraud to get Smith — one of the state’s top Democrats — placed on the GOP mayoral ballot."

Smith was once the head of the State Senate's Democrats but joined an "independent" group of Democrats that allowed Republicans to take control. Last summer, he was mentioned as a mayoral hopeful to run on the Republican ticket, because of his appeal to conservatives (he likes stop-and-frisk and Wal-Mart in NYC). But Smith (who has other problems) would have needed considerable help to pull it off: The Daily News explains, "Candidates need the backing of three of the five borough party leaders to get access to a coveted ballot line."

Sources tell the News that Halloran is accused of "arranging the bribes [to help Smith], which were to be hidden in consultant contracts... At least some of the payments were made, they said."

The Post was outside Smith's home when he was arrested—he didn't say anything—but outside Halloran's place, the cuffed Councilman said, "I have no idea" why he was arrested, declaring, "I’m sure the truth will come out once I have an opportunity to find out what’s going on."

WABC 7 reports, "Two others, identified as Vicent Tabone and Joseph Savino, are also facing charges in the corruption probe. Savino is the current chairman of the Bronx Republican Party. Tabone in the vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party."