May 10th - 3:37 pm
The state Republican Party today blasted out an invitation ot Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino’s latest fundraiser, a golf outing with a $625 price tag for individuals, $2,300 for a foursome.
Why do we at Capital Tonight care?
Astorino is running for a second term this year in Deep Democratic Blue Westchester County against New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. Rather than commit to the usual circular firing squad, the Democrats in the area have rallied around Bramson,
a former state assemblyman.
Astorino, who unseated the three-term Andrew Spano, is considered not just a rising star in the New York Republican Party, he is practically one of perhaps three current officeholders political insiders believe can be a statewide candidate in 2014.
And not for nothing, but Westchester County is also the home of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It will be interesting to see how involved Cuomo becomes in the Westchester CE race, given the chance to knock off a potential opponent.
May 10th - 3:00 pm
The lobbying entity formed to back Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fiscal agenda raised more than $1 million last year from five donors, according to the the group’s 2012 federal tax filing shows.
It’s a more modest fundraising figure for the pro-business group that so far this year has remained dormant as Cuomo has sought a decidedly liberal agenda that included a raise in the state’s minimum wage and an extension of a tax surcharge on the wealthy.
By contrast, the coalition of business, real estate and private-sector union interests raised $17.5 million from 74 donors in 2011.
The filing, made available today, shows the Committee to Save New York received individual contributions of $25,000, $250,000, $275,000 and $600,000. The identities of donors were not disclosed, but the source of a $10,000 grant from the Coalition for New York’s Future was named.
The dramatic reduction in donors coincided with the development of disclosure rules for lobbyists from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which ultimately backed a relatively narrow look-back period.
The lobbying entity was formed in early 2011 to boost Cuomo’s fiscal goals, which included spending reductions, a property tax cap and a new, less generous pension tier.
The group spent more than $4 million on an advertising campaign in 2012, down from the $12 million blitz in 2011.
Records show the group also contracted Mercury Public Affairs to handle its press for $139,652. Michael McKeon, a former aide to Gov. George Pataki and the head of Republicans for Cuomo handled the committee’s press work.
Still, the committee’s ad campaign in 2012 proved helpful in a challenging second year for Cuomo, who successfully won the creation of Tier Six in March 2012.
Though the coalition has not voluntarily release the names of its donors, it would be later revealed past donors included utility ConEd, a law firm Cuomo investigated as attorney general and along with gambling interests.
This year Cuomo has started to rely heavily on an ad campaign from the state Democratic Committee, blanketing airwaves with spots promoting his budget plan and, more recently, his ethics overhaul legislation.
So far the group is yet to file paperwork with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics to lobby the state in 2013.
The tax filing reports the Committee to Save New York has $2.1 million in remaining assets.
May 9th - 1:48 pm
Republican Chairman Ed Cox and Conservative Party cheiftan Michael Long are co-headling a fundraiser next month for Sen. Lee Zeldin, a Suffolk County Republican viewed as a rising star in the GOP ranks.
Individual tickets cost $500, while a bundle of eight tickets run a donor $10,000.
Zeldin, sometimes mentioned as a possible House candidate, was first elected in 2010 unseating Democratic Sen. Brian Foley.
The June 5 event takes place at Morton’s The Steakhouse in New York City.
May 2nd - 12:21 pm
The New York Democratic Committee and mainline Democrats in the state Senate are calling on state Republican Chairman Ed Cox to disinvite Texas Sen. Ted Cruz from a fundraiser later this month.
Democrats are also calling out Republican Leader Dean Skelos to not attend the May 29 fundraiser, which is also the GOP’s annual dinner.
Cruz, a tea party-backed Republican who has already started to court controvesy for his questioning of Chuck Hagel during his nomination hearings for secretary of defense, is being singled out by Democrats for opposing Hurricane Sandy aid to New York.
Cruz isn’t the only Republican to earn New Yorker politicians’ ire. Republican Rep. Peter King blasted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for holding a fundraiser in the city after voting against Sandy aid.
“Ted Cruz is the most anti-New York Senator in the United States Senate and yet the New York Republicans welcome him with open arms. By embracing Cruz as their standard bearer, let’s look at the platform the New York State GOP is backing,” Democratic Committee Executive Director Rodney Capel said. “In addition to Senator Skelos’ anti-choice pronouncements, they are now squarely anti-women’s rights, anti-marriage equality, anti-background checks on gun purchases, anti-immigration and anti-public campaign finance reform. This makes them pro-what, exactly? Cox’s Republican Party makes Mitt Romney look inclusive. We call on Mr. Cox to rescind the invitation to this extremist. If he doesn’t, Dean Skelos and every Republican who doesn’t want to be labeled an anti-New York extremist should boycott the event.”
Mainline Senate Democrats called on the GOP lawmakers invited to the invite to boycott it as well.
“Senate Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for raising money on the strength of support from an extremist like Ted Cruz, who voted to deny vital Hurricane Sandy relief to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in need. After the vote, a big show was made of the fact that those who did not support New York at that critical time would not be welcome here. Instead, Senate Republicans are celebrating such a person. If they had any decency, Senate Republicans would remove their names from this fundraiser, call for Ed Cox to disinvite Cruz, and repudiate the organizers.
Apr 26th - 1:09 pm
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will appear at a fundraiser for the New York Republican Party, according to an invitation that will circulated later this afternoon.
The lunctime event with GOP Chairman Ed Cox will be held May 21.
Originally Walker, a Republican who has ignited a flashpoint for liberals and union advocates, was scheduled to appear at the New York City event on Nov. 1 last year, but the fundraiser was cancelled in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
The fundraiser includes a $2,500 pricetag for a photo opportunity or a $1,000 ticket for lunch only.
The event is being held at “21″ in New York City.
Apr 23rd - 3:47 pm
Sen. Greg Ball today is fundraising off his contentious Piers Morgan interview, calling the CNN host “an ivory tower elitist” who was put “in his place.”
In a fundraising appeal sent to supporters this afternoon, Ball includes links to the interview and references his “original statement” that he would support the torture of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect.
“Please view my interview and donate immediately to help me continue my flight With your support,” Ball writes. “I will never back down! For just $100, I would be honored for you to personally join me on May 1st for a great event at Primavera in Westchester.”
Earlier in the day, his spokesman called Morgan a “snake” for claming the Putnam County Republican left the studio early. Ball’s office says he had to leave in order to get to his next interview on Fox News.
The text of the fundraising email is after the jump. More >
Apr 15th - 4:34 pm
Sean Eldridge, a Hudson Valley investor and political activist who is mulling a potential challenge next year to GOP Rep. Chris Gibson, has raised $311,215 over the past three months, according to a report filed with the FEC.
During that same period, Eldridge spent $31,517. (His expenses include $10,000 to KnickerbockerSKD, which has been handling the press for his unofficial campaign). He has $279,607 on hand.
“We’re grateful for the strong support and interest Sean is receiving as he considers a congressional bid,” Knickerbocker’s Mike Morey told me this afternoon.
The report covers a three-month period from January 1 to March 31.
A source close to Eldridge confirmed in early February that he was eyeing a possible run for Congress, and later that some month, Eldridge and his husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, reportedly purchased a $2 million home in Gibson’s district. (NY-19).
UPDATE: I’m told Eldridge and Hughes purchased their new home in January – before reports of Eldrirdge’s potential congressional run started to leak out.
Hughes maxed out ($5,200 – $2,600 each for primary and general) to Eldridge’s committee, but so far, the wealthy couple has not put a substantial amount of cash behind this endeavor – something that generally occurs in the form of a loan with potential self-funders.
There are a number of contributors of note in Eldridge’s filing, including Tim Gill, a prominent gay rights activist and donor ($1,500); and John Barabino ($2,600), who is a member of the Gill Foundation Board of Directors; and attorney and gay rights advocate Evan Wolfson ($1,000).
Also of note: George Soros gave $1,500, Jennifer Soros $2,600 and Jonathan Soros $2,600. Jonathan Soros (Friends of Democracy) and Eldridge (Protect Out Democracy) are both investing in a push by well-heeled New York Democrats to establish a publicly funded campaign finance system in New York. Both groups spent heavily in last year’s tight Senate race that was ultimately won by Democratic Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk.
Eldridge so far hasn’t formally announced he’s running, but this strong fund-raising show increases the likelihood he’ll ultimately throw his hat into the ring. (At the end of December 2012, Gibson had $15,016 on hand and just over $1,000 worth of debt).
Apr 3rd - 4:02 pm
In the wake of the latest bombshell corruption scandal, which netted two New York City GOP officials from Queens and the Bronx, other party leaders were quick to volunteer that knew absolutely nothing about the scheme to essentially buy a GOP ballot line in the NYC mayor’s race for Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith.
The scandal netted Bronx GOP Chairman Jay Savino and now former (as of today) Queens GOP Vice Chair Vince Tabone. The Queens, Brooklyn and former Staten Island GOP chairs all told the Daily News they not only weren’t aware of the ballot-rigging scheme, but also were not contacted by federal investigators about it.
That left Manhattan GOP Chairman Dan Isaacs, who is normally a pretty talkative guy. But yesterday, didn’t have very much to say about this mess – or his possible role in exposing it - other than: “It is inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation, which I hope is completed as expeditiously and thoroughly as possible.”
Today, Isaacs has expanded on those comments a bit in an email to to Manhattan Republicans, in which he calls the alleged actions of those arrested “an outrage and a complete betrayal of the public trust,” adding: “With three Democrats and three Republicans arrested, it also shows that corruption is not limited to an exclusive partisan provenance.”
“(I)f anyone harbors concern that there is ‘another shoe to drop’ here in Manhattan, I want to take this opportunity to reassure you that there is not,” Isaacs continued.
“Anyone who knows me and has worked with me during my involvement with the Republican Party knows that I value personal integrity over all else. I demand it as much from myself as from those with whom I deal. There is an expectation and covenant that I have with those who have given me the responsibility to lead our local Republican organization which I simply will not betray.”
Isaacs is supporting supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis in the GOP NYC mayoral primary. (Catsimatidis, for the record, employed Tabone on his campaign and in his business, but has since suspended him from both positions. Catsimatidis also revealed he has been working with the feds on this investigation).
Isaacs also used his email to promote his committee’s annual “spring fling” fund-raiser, which is taking place at the Women’s National Republican Club in Manhattan tonight. He called the event “a good opportunity to begin to restore trust in the concept of an honest and participatory political process.”
The Manhattan GOP has been having trouble raising money, and certainly needs the influx of cash this event might bring.
Mar 12th - 3:05 pm
Austin Shafran, who quit his job with the Cuomo administration in January to focus full-time on a run for the NYC Council, says he has raised close to $60,000 in less than two months.
Shafran, a Queens Democrat, is looking to unseat Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, who is seeking re-election after his failed House bid last year.
To do that, he’ll first have to emerge victorious from a semi-crowded Democratic primary, which includes ex-Sen. Tom Duane’s brother, John, who is a former assemblyman; Paul Vallone, brother of NYC Councilman and Queens BP candidate Peter Vallone; and Democratic state committeeman Matthew Silverstein.
Shafran said he received contributions from some 320 individual donors.
“I’m truly honored to have such a deep and diverse chorus of support behind our middle-class-first agenda,” Shafran said. “The support we have received from hundreds of working families, neighborhood businessess, and members of the labor community shows that people who love their city can come together to change it for the better.”
“This is a strong first step toward the community-driven approach we are building to deliver the better schools, safer streets and stronger economy that middle class families deserve.”
We haven’t seen any numbers from the other candidates yet. (They’re actually not due until Friday, though the deadline was midnight last night. I’ve only seen Shafran’s toplines, but he says his burn rate is minimal and he has most of the roughly $58,800 he raised on hand).
As of the January filing, Halloran had raised $24,035 over the course of about a year and a half, Duane $35,230 in about 11 months, Vallone $34,700 in five months, and Silverstein $8,654 in 16 months.
Shafran, who left his job at the Empire State Development Corp. to launch his political career, maxed out on his NYC CFB matching funds for the Democratic primary in February, raising
$15,836. (I’m told the matching amount is now about $20,012).
Prior to joining the Cuomo administration, Shafran was the resident pitbull (in other words, the chief spokesman) for the Senate Democrats. He also worked for former Councilman (now Assemblyman) David Weprin and for former Rep. Gary Ackerman.
Mar 8th - 3:36 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to torpedo the system of raising campaign cash, with his sky-high donor limits and endless loopholes, that he has thrived in.
But the governor, in making a refocused pitch for overhauling campaign finance laws with a system of public financing with matching dollars, told reporters earlier today in New York City he finds the process of raising money as it is now deeply unpleasant.
Cuomo last reported more than $22 million in cash on hand for his 2014 re-election campaign and is holding a series of fundraisers later this year that include stops at Yankee Stadium, Florida and even one fundraiser featuring Paul Simon.
But Cuomo said he needs to fund-raise because he can’t dip into a well of his own cash.
“The least 0part of my job is the fundraising part,” Cuomo said today after speaking on the issue. “But until the rules are changed I don’t have an alternative. I happen to not be independently wealthy which would have solved a lot of problems on a lot of levels. But I’m not independently wealthy so I can’t self-finance.”
Cuomo brought up the hypothetical of a wealthy businessman who decides to self-fund a campaign for governor (Businessman Carl Paladino did just that in 2010, vowing to spend his own money against the very well-funded Cuomo campaign and lost in a landslide).
“I am in a situation where as I described were there could be someone could come in who is a rich, multimillionaire says I want to be governor and they’re going to spend a lot of their own money, that could be formidable. An independent expenditure committee could spend a lot of money. So money is very powerful in an electoral context,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo on Monday will take part in a telephone town hall meeting with Citizen Action as he starts to gear up for a campaign finance reform effort.
Cuomo has decried money in politics and cash from independent groups seeking to influence policy in Albany and state and national elections. But he has also had the Committee to Save New York on his side, a lobbying campaign funded by business interests that aided his agenda during his first two years in office, but for now is laying low.
The governor in his State of the State address called for a new disclosure law requiring donations above $500 be made public within 48 hours.
He also backs a public financing system for campaigns, but wrote in his accompanying policy book for the State of the State that the money would come from a non-taxpayer source. Details on where that money would come from haven’t been revealed.
Cuomo said he’s optimistic state lawmakers will go along with the proposals, suggesting that they, too, find fundraising distasteful.
“It’s very unpleasant. Raising money is very hard, it’s very unpleasant on a personal level, it takes a lot of time,” Cuomo said. “Most politicians who have to deal with the systems would be the first ones who say they want to get rid of it.”