Dan Halloran Arrested on Fraud and Bribery Charges

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  April 2, 2013 — 54 Comments

In a shocking turn of events this morning, New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, along with State Sen. Malcolm Smith, were arrested on charges of fraud and bribery in connection to an alleged plot to fix the mayoral race. The arrests came after an FBI-led investigation, one in which U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claims Halloran “quarterbacked” the drive to find party officials willing to be bribed. In a meeting with an informant, Halloran allegedly expounded at length on what it takes to “grease the wheels” of New York City politics.

Dan Halloran

Dan Halloran

“Halloran, meeting on Sept. 7 at a Manhattan restaurant with the government informant, allegedly made clear that it takes big bucks to bring government action in New York. ‘That’s politics, that’s politics, it’s all about how much,’ Halloran said, according to the criminal complaint. ‘Not about whether or will, it’s about how much, and that’s our politicians in New York, they’re all like that, all like that.’ Halloran allegedly added: ‘You can’t get anything without the f–king money.’ The meeting ended with Halloran receiving $7,500 cash bribe from the feds’ cooperating witness, according to the complaint.”

You can read the full complaint against Halloran, and the other implicated officials, here. On his arrest this morning, Halloran claimed to have no idea as to why he was being picked up by law enforcement, saying he was “sure the truth will come out once I have an opportunity to find out what’s going on.” That said, if even some of these allegations are true, Halloran most certainly will face jail time, and his colorful, sometimes unorthodox, political career is likely over.

For those not in the loop, the reason Dan Halloran’s arrest is being mentioned in a Pagan news blog is that Halloran is the highest elected official in the United States who also happens to openly be an adherent of a Pagan/Heathen religion. Specifically, he was for a time a prominent (and eventually prominently controversial) member of the Théodish belief system, a faith that seeks to practice Germanic pre-Christian religion. Though Halloran never denied being a Théodish Heathen, he also wasn’t very transparent about it in the beginning, causing a great deal of havoc when he was “outed” by the local press during his city council run. His beliefs were often sensationalized by the press, including Village Voice cover art depicting Halloran with a dead sacrificed goat, ceremonial robe and runic cloak.

Halloran’s initial response to the attention was to downplay the Heathen-ness of his faith (infuriating many of his co-religionists), and stress his Catholic heritage.

I took comfort in my family’s history and our heritage, yet through all of this pain and hardship, I never lost faith in God. Last week, I was attacked for my faith in the Queens Tribune.These attacks happened on the eve of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest time of the year for the Jewish people. Having been raised in a Catholic household that shares its religious roots with the Jewish faith, I was deeply offended that religion would be used for political gain. […] I am a man of faith – and now my faith is under attack by a newspaper working for my opponent. I call on my opponent to disavow the Queens Tribune’s attack on religion. I am running a campaign on the issues.”

From that point, Halloran has steered clear of talking explicitly about his faith, even when journalists dug up former co-religionists who made allegations relating to his leadership role within Theodism. In a 2010 interview with the Pagan Newswire Collective, Halloran reiterated that his faith is private, and “irrelevant” to any policy decision he might make.

“My service in the Council and advocacy for our neighborhoods has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that my religious faith is not only irrelevant to my public policy… but also a source of great personal strength for me which only inures to the benefit of my Community. I do occasionally hear that being a “Druid” explains why I am such an eco-conscious Republican.”

Still, his Heathen faith was a continual punch-line for critics, and already Gawker has posted an “epic poem” today in his honor. Halloran was a complex figure who could be charming and infuriating depending on who he was interacting with, and I can’t picture many politicians within Tea Party and Libertarian circles overcoming the obstacles he did, to the point of making a serious bid for congress. Halloran was living proof that being a Pagan wasn’t an impossible obstacle to modern political office, even if you were a conservative Republican in New York City. It is for this reason that these revelations are especially disheartening, because our collective history will now mark Halloran’s “firsts” with the asterisk of scandal and corruption.

We will continue to follow this story as it develops. The Wild Hunt will also be featuring an editorial this week from Cara Schulz, a Pagan who interviewed Halloran in 2010, and has followed his career over the years.

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • not surprised

  • not surprised.

  • Mike

    I wonder how his alleged fraudulent actions fit in with a heathen honor code.

    • Frecnedeor

      Not well, considering he had been outlawed in Theodism previously.

    • Rather poorly, he’s already persona non grata in most of the Northeastern Heathen community for his words and actions.

    • This man HAS no honor! I was in his tribe. He is a liar, an philanderer, and a slimeball of the umpth degree. He is the WORST example of Heathenry ever.

      • cernowain greenman

        I don’t know if Heathens believe in karma, but it sure has “come back around” upon Halloran. Or, maybe I should say he has felt the heavy weight of Thor’s hammer.

        • Nick Ritter

          I think it’s safe to say that many of us have a belief (based on observation) that bad deeds done have a tendency to come back and bite the doer.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I’ve often heard it said of Heathenry that there is no karma, ‘three-fold law’ or other similar belief of reaping what is sown.

            It’s almost a selling point, really.

          • Nick Ritter

            Really? I’ve never heard that.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Possibly a difference between continents?

            I don’t know about anywhere else but, over here, there used to be quite a lot of emphasis on how Heathenry was *not* Wicca. Perhaps this led to a rejection of the law of return?

            Things have changed in recent years but Heathenry used to be seen as ‘the bad boy’ under the (British) Pagan umbrella.

          • Heathens have a concept of Wyrd. Think of Karma with a set of teeth. I won’t go into a lengthy discourse here. Suffice to say, a person’s actions determine his destiny.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I get Wyrd, but I don’t see it as cognate with Karma.

            Put it another way, if the historical Germanic and Scandinavian tribes had a concept like Karma, would they be immortalised as Vikings?

          • Nick Ritter

            “I don’t know about anywhere else but, over here, there used to be quite a lot of emphasis on how Heathenry was *not* Wicca. Perhaps this led to a rejection of the law of return?”

            We’ve had that emphasis here, as well. I don’t think it’s a matter of karma, or of the law of return, both of which are relatively well-developed beliefs in their respective traditions. Rather, I think that it goes back to the adage that, having made the bed, one now has to lay in it.

            To “heathenize” it (if that’s necessary), one’s actions build Wyrd in a particular way, and one then has to deal with the consequences of that.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            I’d agree with that. Karma and the 3xLaw are very much spiritual in essence, whilst the Heathen stance would seem to be much more human factor – piss people off and expect to get shunned.

        • That’s NOT what “karma” is.

  • Lou

    For some reason “I told you so” doesn’t really seem to say enough.

    • cernowain greenman

      The only good I can see here is that he didn’t achieve a higher office when he did this.

    • Cynemund

      It still feels pretty damned good.

  • bill

    I have heard nothing sve what the media has deigned to show, and the media has been for sale for decades, I would recommend avoiding judgements until Dan has his day in court.

    • You can read the official complaint against Halloran here:

    • yea, no…Dan-O’s history makes judging him all too easy, and since the old “we are our deeds” adage gets thrown around all too flippantly in heathen circles nowadays it is all the more reason.

      Again, those of us who know him, of his past deeds and past “avoidances”, this comes as no surprise.

      Not to mention the whole luck thing coming into play.

    • The media has always been for sale. Graffiti in ancient Rome was a business that was used for everything from advertising prostitutes to political propaganda.

  • http://gawker.com/5993290/the-saga-of-dan-halloran-the-first-atheling-of-theodish-new-normandy-who-was-arrested-in-a-bribery-probe

    and one of the replies…

    family is from Queens and Dan Halloran is a very good friend. He’s a
    really, sincerely nice guy. Being involved in local NYC politics means
    there are plenty of people who hate him, but that’s a function of local
    government more than any character flaw.
    I doubt that any other member of the city council is universally
    beloved or squeaky clean either. I have no idea about the voracity of
    the charges against him, but again, I’d chalk it up to local politics.
    Not that its an excuse, but horsetrading and backroom deals between the
    parties are basically standard practice at this point.

    for the pagan stuff, we all know about it, and its pretty hilarious.
    Nobody really takes it seriously, least of all Dan. Its basically a big
    Renaissance Faire; an excuse to dress up in a costume and pretend to
    live in ye olde medeval times. ”

    “nobody really takes it seriously, least of all Dan…”


    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      I wonder if Mr. Halloran would be available for comment on that claim?

    • That is a lie. He took himself VERY seriously…

      • not seriously enough it would seem….or TOO SERIOUSLY depending on who you talked to.

    • So he was eithef lying to his neighbours, or lying to his fellow Heathens. Either way, I’m inclined, from this response alone (assuming it’s true, of course) to echo the words of the Heathens above who say theh knew him: He sounds like a scumbag who likes to tell people what they want to hear, for his own personal gain.

      • Lēoht Sceadusawol

        Or, in short, a typical politician.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Sad. I see in NYC as in Cleveland, Pagans get covered when behaving badly.

    • fyreflye

      I didn’t see his religion mentioned in the NYT story or in the complaint above. How was his religion involved in the coverage of his indictment?

      • It hasn’t been. I’m sure the Daily News here will mention it briefly but most of the coverage seems to be concentrating Malcom Smith, I didn’t even know Halloran was involved until I loaded up TWH and I’m from NYC.

        • The Post had something about both of them on an online release yesterday. I try to steer clear from the News and Post because of their overt sensationalism.

  • Cynemund

    Shocking? Not to anyone who has known the man in person.

  • Kenneth

    I don’t even know whether to think of him as a pagan or not. The overall trajectory of his career in both politics and religion seems to be one of opportunism. He’s “x” when it’s cool to be x, or builds some important networks, and “y” when it isn’t. I don’t think we ought to try to disown the association on our own part just to put a good face on our movement. As pagans do move into the mainstream of society, they will include the full spectrum of virtue and vice as much as any other group of people.

    • Disowning him from the Pagan and Polytheist movement through casual words like “I can’t even think of him as pagan anymore” cos, in practice, he seems to be morally dubious, even on a good day, I dunno… That kind of reminds me of Christians who pull the No True Scotsman fallacy when people talk about the atrocities that Christians have carried out “in the name of God[sic]”.

      “No TRUE pagan would…”-thinking is crap. Of course pagans are just as capable as anyone else to do all that, cos we’re just as human.

      • We know from history that political scullduggery is in no way incompatible with polytheism, Heathenism, Paganism, and so forth (or any other religious tradition). However, many believe that Dan did in fact forsake the Gods when he wrote his now infamous “I Believe in God” piece during his campaign. There are things that “No True Heathen” can do, and forsaking the Gods is one of them.

        • I’d be inclined to agree, if not for the fact that, for better or worse, pagans very commonly redefine statements like “I believe in God” into some quasi-Platonic or pantheistic interpretation, to save their own skins, socially. The statement was “I don’t even know whether to think of him as a pagan or not,” and to be pedantic, one can easily argue whether or not one is a Heathen, and one can still be a pagan if the others decide he’s not a Heathen.

          Yes, if one clearly falls outside the perimeters of what something is, then “No True Scotsman” doesn’t apply; on the other hand, “pagan” is one of those things so loosely defined, that it’s ultimately up to whether or not one can say “yes” to two things: 1) is one’s religious practises in line with academic definitions of “pagan”, and / or 2) does one consider oneself a “pagan”? If one can say “yes” to both, all the batter, but for the purposes of discussing whether or not another person is or not, then only one “yes” can suffice.

  • I’m not surprised a politician, of whatever religious background, (allegedly) engaged in corrupt behavior, but I have to confess I’m amazed that one has actually been arrested for it.

  • fyreflye

    Here’s the link to the Village Voice story that really does trash Halloran for his religion:

  • No matter how you feel about Halloran, the sad fact is that this is a tragedy. Granted, ti was of his own making. A person who had the talent to become a positive influence in Heathenism and in politics chose a path of divisiveness and corruption instead. Here’s what I wrote in my daily lessons last night (follow the link)

    Today’s lesson is about wasted talent, and how a promising Heathen individual screwed the pooch:

    • Nick Ritter

      That was well written, and I think you got to the crux of the matter: while those within Theodism and Heathenry at large who have been alienated by Dan have some cause for glee, the greater tragedy is that the most publicly prominent Heathen in the country has dug us a hole in terms our reputation that we may have to work hard to get out of.

      I was interested by your side-comment that some don’t consider Theodish folks to be Heathen. Would you care to expand on that? I’ve never had anyone tell me I wasn’t Heathen because I’m Theodish.

      • I knew a few people who considered Theod to be more akin to mainline Paganism and Wicca than to Norse or German Heathenism. Maybe you can answer a question for me. What ever became of Eldoread of the Moody Hill Theod? I met him over 20 years ago. I believe his name was John Blacke. Anyone know what became of him and his group?

        • Nick Ritter

          “I knew a few people who considered Theod to be more akin to mainline Paganism and Wicca than to Norse or German Heathenism.”

          Interesting. I’ve known a few Theodsmen who considered general Heathenry to be closer to Wicca and general Paganism than to Theodism. There has been an unfortunate amount of bad blood between Theodism and other forms of Heathenry; hopefully all water under the bridge by now.

          Concerning John Blacke, aka Eldoraed of Moody Hill: Moody Hill Theod was defunct by the time I joined Theodism (which was January of ’96), after a bitter schism between Eldoraed and Garman. Moody Hill Theod disbanded around then, if I recall correctly. After Garman stepped out of the public presence about a decade ago, I had heard from some Theodish folks on the East coast that Eldroaed was speaking to some of them. I’ve never spoken to the man myself, but friends of mine have. That’s all the information I have, I’m afraid.

          • My last contact with John was about late 1992 – early 1993. He was a personable fellow. Some of his crew had put out a few publications. Hard to believe it’s 20 years or so….

    • Cat C-B

      Good article, Thor.

  • Cat C-B

    It’s true that where there’s smoke, there isn’t always fire. Sometimes there’s actually a whacking big fog machine in the room…

    But it is hard to see how these accusations can be rebutted. Mr. Halloran’s career in both politics and religion seems to have generated an awful lot of smoke, and unless somebody is following him around from community to community, belching out fog wherever he goes, it’s hard to avoid seeing him as a less than honorable man–a sad enough thing in any community, but to a Heathen?

    Sad indeed.

    My only comfort–and it’s a cold one–is that we’re certainly not the first minority community to be disappointed by a politician from our midst.

  • Deborah Bender

    The Rachael Maddow show on MSNBC (the liberal cable news network) covered the scandal last night as part of a longer piece on political corruption in the US. Halloran was mentioned without any religious reference. This means nothing in particular because Maddow seems to be a complete secularist.

    Based on Maddow’s analysis, I think the New York scandal arose out of dual problems, an endemic culture of political corruption, and the overwhelming Democratic majority of the NYC electorate, which distorts ordinary two-party politics. There’s a technical fix for the latter which was recently adopted in California; in statewide elections primaries are open and the general election is between the top two vote-getters regardless of party affiliation. Corruption will always exist when there is money to be made from political power.

    • Lēoht Sceadusawol

      Corruption will always exist when there is power to be made from politics.

  • Dan Halloran (a/k/a O’Halloran) is currently designated as an Elder and
    Cleric of the Troth, Inc., a New York non-profit religious corporation.
    Mr. Halloran has not been active nor involved with the Troth, Inc. for
    many years. He has recently been accused of certain felonious acts. If
    Mr. Halloran is convicted of these actions, then established Troth
    disciplinary procedures will be enacted. The directors (a/k/a “Rede”) of
    the Troth are aware of the issues and Mr. Halloran’s status is being
    carefully monitored for the protection and integrity of our

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