Jul 5th - 1:47 pm
AG Andrew Cuomo says it’s OK for him to accept big campaign contributions from special interests and lobbyists because he has integrity and can’t be bought.
“Integrity in govenrment trumps all, Alan,” Cuomo told WAMC’s Alan Chartock.
“You know, look at the basic premise…The basic premise is, well, if people give you money maybe you’ll be influenced. Not if you have integrity, and if you don’t have intergity you’ll be influenced because of the money, you’ll be influenced because of the politics, you’ll be influenced because somebody is a friend of somebody.”
“If you’re electing people without integrity, you’re going to have a problem one way or another.”
Chartock had asked Cuomo to respond to a recent Times story that more than half of the estimated $7.1 million his campaign has accepted from PACs, LLCs, associations and other entities has come from big-moneyed special interests in Albany, including the health care industry, labor and real estate developers.
Those are, of course, the exact same special interests that Cuomo regularly assails as the root cause of the problem in Albany.
Jul 5th - 11:41 am
AG Andrew Cuomo sat down for his second extended interview with WAMC’s Alan Chartock late last week, and made several interesting points – including a defense of his government service, which Republicans, particularly Rick Lazio, have sought to cast as a drawback.
Lazio’s campaign has repeatedly tried to undercut Cuomo’s argument that he’s an outsider, noting he has longstanding ties to Albany that date back to his father’s days as governor.
Cuomo first claimed that “some” of his Republican opponents (he refused to name names) “have had more government experience than I have,” adding:
“Some have been vocal legislators who worked in govenrment positions for a lot of years. Some have represented corporations that do a lot of business with govenrment for years with millions and millions of dollars.”
“So, I think the question is: Do you represent the people of the State of New York? Will you repsrent the interests of the people? Will you work for the people?”
(It’s clear Cuomo, who has never recognized Lazio that I can recall, was referring there to the former Long Island congressman, who served four terms – from 1993 to 2001 – and then went to lobby for JPMorgan Chase after he lost his 2000 US Senate campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton).
Cuomo went on to insist that his years in government – both at the state and federal levels – are in fact an asset, saying:
Jul 5th - 8:32 am
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who (thankfully) belongs to the early-risers club of which I am a card-carrying member, told me this morning that he has not been informed of a reported move by state Democratic leaders to oust controversial Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. from the party.
Dinowitz, who chairs the Bronx Democratic County Committee (not to be confused with the county leader title, which is held by Assemblyman Carl Heastie), said he had “heard a rumor several weeks ago” that someone at state party HQ might try something along these lines, but he wasn’t kept in the loop.
“If it’s being done by the state committee, you would think someone would actually give me a call,” Dinowitz griped, noting Bronx leaders asked the state party for assistance prior to the infamous Utopia Paradise Theater meeting at which the Rainbow Rebels clashed with loyalists to Assemblyman Jose Rivera and wrested the county committee from his control.
“We asked the state committee to come in and observe the meeting and make sure it was done fairly, because we suspected it wouldn’t be and they chose at that point not to take a role,” Dinowitz recalled. “Maybe they’re more activist now than they were.”
Of course, that was back in September 2008 – long before the state Democratic Party came under AG Andrew Cuomo’s control with the installment of his longtime ally (and sometime foe) Charlie King in the position of executive director.
Dinowitz said he is not aware of the administrative tribunal process state party leaders reportedly hope he and his fellow Bronx Democrats will use to boot Espada ever before being employed in this manner.
He reminded me that the Democrats tried to oust the scandal-scarred senator from their ranks once before after the first time he switched sides to confab with the GOP. That clearly didn’t work, since Espada remains a Democrat, although he was defeated in a primary in 2002 by none other than Ruben Diaz Sr.
“It’s a little hard to comment; we have to read the rules, see if there are provisions for this and decide what we’re going to do,” Dinowitz said. “In the meantime, all I can say is my phone works.”
Jul 5th - 8:14 am
Here’s Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s brief appearance last week on “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” during which he discussed the passage of what’s come to be known as “Ian’s Law” – a bill that blocks insurance companies from dropping high-claims patients under the auspices of keeping costs lower for the majority of policy holders.
Schneiderman, who has received quite a bit of play for the bill – never a bad thing when one is running for statewide office (in this case, AG) – admits it only applies to New York, but also says he hopes it serves as a model for other states and eventually a federal fix.
The Manhattan Democrat never mentions his campaign on the show, nor does Olbermann say anything about it.
Nevertheless, the fact that Schneiderman got what amounted to a big wet kiss from a national figure widely viewed (in spite of his objections) as a liberal commentator is notable – particularly when you consider the fact that one of his opponents, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, was once the runner-up for Olbermann’s “worst person in the world” award.
This is from a transcript of Olbermann’s Jan. 13, 2006 show:
“The night‘s runner-up, Kathleen Rice, the newly elected district attorney of Nassau County, New York. She has hired as her executive assistant at a salary of $95,000 a year a woman named Cheryl Rice. They happen to be sisters-in-law. Well, so? Kathleen Rice‘s campaign platform had been merit-based hiring. Whoops.”
Jul 5th - 7:34 am
Democrats are preparing to try to oust Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. from the party through a tribunal.
“(AG Andrew Cuomo’s) mark is all over this budget,” a Democratic insider told Chris Smith. “He began a dialogue with Paterson about a month ago, and they’ve been having nearly daily conversations and Andrew talks a ton to Larry Schwartz.”
County leaders are unsure whether they would participate in what amounts to a pension fund borrowing plan if it passes the Senate and is signed by the governor.
The Auburn Citizen calls Gov. David Paterson “Exhibit A” in the case for term limits.
The Legislature passed a host of bills before departing Albany that are now awaiting action by the governor.
Cuomo and Rick Lazio both marched in the annual Fourth of July parade in Travis, Staten Island. Mayor Bloomberg was there, too.
Cuomo and his GOP rivals agree on taxes (don’t raise them) and spending (cut it), but disagree on whether a mosque should be built near Ground Zero.
Democrats are having a tough time raising campaign cash.
Jul 4th - 5:17 pm
Posted by Liz Benjamin in [...]
Some headlines from this three-day weekend to date. (I’ll be working tomorrow, so look for Here and Now – bright and early, as usual).
AG Andrew Cuomo is reportedly eyeing more charges for Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.
More vetoes might be on the way from Gov. David Paterson, including one on the public authorities utilities prevailing wage bill.
“It was physically painful, but a worthy project,” Paterson said of what Casey Seiler has dubbed “VetoThon.”
The Times calls on Paterson not to stop at 6,709.
Nonprofit organizations decry Paterson’s pork vetoes.
It’s anyone’s guess when – or if – the Senate will return to Albany.
A bill banning short-term rentals in NYC awaits the governor’s signature.
Mike Gormley looked closely at the Capitol and saw signs of actual governing taking place.
Paterson will sign the no-fault divorce and Domestic Workers Bill of Rights bills.
Jul 4th - 7:12 am
Hello SoP/CapTon viewers, readers, lurkers and commenters! I hope this Independence Day weekend is treating you right.
I’m about to celebrate my three-month anniversary with YNN (where does the time go?), which means the blog is about to turn three as well.
We’re curious how things are going out there in blogland for you. So, please consider this thread an open invitation to comment on anything to do with the product we’re offering – format, content, my hair etc. – and also on an of the sundry and varied topics that might strike your fancy.
Please don’t spend all weekend inside at your respective computers, though. It’s glorious outside.
Jul 2nd - 7:07 pm
Larry Schwartz got dissed by the OTB board of which he is now the chairman.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney has a mailer that appears to be in response to criticism levied by her primary challenger, Resha Saujani.
The soda tax fell victim to a well thought-out industry ad campaign.
Carl Paladino is going back on the air.
Sen. Eric Schneiderman will be on Keith Olberman’s show tonight.
The Thruway Authority has improved its monitoring of fuel prices, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says.
Gov. David Paterson says he’s done running for office.
A former aide to Mayor Bloomberg who was denied the top job at ESPA will run a campaign to defeat state lawmakers who oppose gay marriage.
Sean Coffey needs interns for his AG campaign.
Bloomberg’s erstwhile opponent, Rep. Anthony Weiner, thinks the mayor has “done a good job.”
The mayor ruled out offering buyouts to city workers.
Not everyone is buying AG Andrew Cuomo’s promise to deliver on gay marriage.
Wayne Barrett wonders why the tabs are slamming Albany on FMAP but praising Bloomberg.
Chelsea Clinton wedding madness continues.
The Authorities Budget Office’s annual report on public authorities is available here.
Jeff Simon thinks Eliot Spitzer on CNN is a good thing.
The Bloomberg administration payroll shrunk by $26,000 from February to June.
Happy 4th of July weekend! (For those in the viewing area, there is no Capital Tonight Monday, July 5th).
Jul 2nd - 6:49 pm
In a traditional late-Friday release, Gov. David Paterson announced he has accepted resignations from three members of his administration, including OMRDD Commissioner Diana Jones Ritter, whose impending departure I reported earlier this week.
“During Diana Jones Ritter’s tenure, she moved the agency and its system forward as a national benchmark of excellence in service to people with developmental disabilities,” the governor said.
“As Commissioner, she significantly contributed to the lives of extraordinary New Yorkers who live with developmental disabilities and also to the families and stakeholders who support them. I wish her only the best in her new position at the MTA.”
The others jumping ship – who, like Ritter, are Spitzer administration holdovers – are:
Jul 2nd - 5:59 pm
There has been a lot of sniping among four of the five Democratic AG contenders, with words like “insider,” “reformer”, “Republican” and “progressive” being lobbed about with great abandon.
Through it all, Eric Dinallo has remained largely outside the action. A cynic might argue that’s because his opponents don’t consider him in need of tearing down. But he insisted during a Capital Tonight interview yesterday that he’s making a point to stay on the sidelines because he thinks political arguments aren’t serving the voters.
“I think they’re fighting about kind of classic political problems,” Dinallo told me. “They’re creating political issues between themselves that New Yorkers don’t and shouldn’t care about. It’s is the sort of the garden variety politicians fighting about the political issues, not about the core substance of the attorney general’s office.”
“I think that’s what New Yorkers care about…That’s what we should be talking about not who has some kind of marginally more or arguably less progressive record dating back to some political barbing back and forth.”
“I have absolutely no interest in engaging because it’s not about the office it’s not about what I believe New Yorkers care about from that office.”