Dec 4th - 5:59 pm
Joel also reportedly gave the governor a T-shirt that said “I’m Too Sexy for this Job.”
Fred Dicker: “To many observers, the contrast between the new Moreland Commission’s findings on public corruption and Gov. Cuomo’s actions is nothing short of breathtaking.”
WNYC is seeking tips to ID the nonprofit name checked in the Moreland report.
NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced his first appointments, including Anthony E. Shorris, a former Port Authority executive director and Koch administration commissioner, as his top deputy.
“I want everyone to know where the buck stops in all those other situations,” said de Blasio. “It stops with Tony Shorris.”
Lots of speculation as to who else will be joining de Blasio in City Hall.
WNY GOP operative Michael Caputo organized a long-shot meeting between party leaders and Donald Trump in hopes of convincing the real estate mogul to change his mind about running for governor.
Many of the problems highlighted in the Moreland Commission report have been red-flagged before by the media.
Munir Avery, an attorney with close ties to Queens County politics, is planning to challenge embattled Sen. Malcolm Smith next year.
Jim Kennedy, a veteran of the Clinton White House, has been appointed chief communications officer of News Corp.
NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly will stay on through the end of Bloomberg’s administration – at least, he hasn’t told the mayor any different.
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn won among write-in voters in the NYC mayor’s race.
The Buffalo News OpEds in favor of medical marijuana, which will be the subject of an Assembly hearing in the Queens City tomorrow.
In November alone, Hillary Clinton attended at least 16 star-studded award ceremonies and speaking engagements.
Sen. Mike Gianaris, a confirmed foodie, Tweeted a photo of his octopus lunch.
New York Farm Bureau members shot down a proposal to oppose hydrofracking.
Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC.
State Commissioner John King and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch are finally bringing their Common Core tour to New York City.
Bloomberg will celebrate his final weeks in office at a number of parties.
An upstate federal court will allow a prominent GOP lawyer from Georgia join in an effort by a conservative group to strike down contribution limits for PACs.
Danny Hakim, former NYT Albany Bureau chief, had a tough time transporting his family’s dog, Harley, to his new assignment in London.
Dec 4th - 5:54 pm
It turns out Assemblyman Keith Wright was correct when he said earlier this week that veteran Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel will be making an announcement “sooner rather than later” about whether he’ll seek yet another 23rd term in 2014.
What Wright was not (ahem) right about, however, is that Rangel has already made a decision about running. Not only is the congressman still considering retirement, but he has also started to meet with potential successors.
“I had thought about retirement very, very seriously and it’s not off the table,” Rangel told our Washington, D.C. Bureau reported Michael Scotto today.
“But the truth of the matter is I have to give people that want to aspire to fill the vacancy – which it would be if I retired – time to raise the money and get known throughout the district, and I meet every week on this issue with different candidates, and those I haven’t met with I’m meeting with this weekend.”
“…I’m talking with some people seeing whether or not there can be some coalition around a candidate as it has been for the last 43 years,” Rangel continued. “But before Christmas I’ll have to make some decision.”
Wright, who chairs the Manhattan Democratic Party and co-chairs the state Democratic Party, is frequently mentioned as a potential successor to Rangel. The assemblyman unequivocally told the New York Post that the congressman “is running,” adding: “You can’t keep a war horse down.”
While speaking to Scotto, he shied away from saying he is seeking his own replacement, but did hint that somebody – and he refused to name names – around whom he thought a coalition could be built recently decided they’re no longer interested in the job.
“That person decided that they have other political ambitions, and I had worked with that person for a number of years, but I have to respect their decision,” the congressman said. “I say all of that to say that I was left without a possible successor that had already done these things – knowing all the community leaders.”
Despite being censured for ethics violations in 2010, Rangel won a hotly contested Democratic primary in 2012. His toughest challenger was Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who is widely expected to run again next year.
Dec 4th - 4:49 pm
Executive District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick re-asserted on Wednesday the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption remained free of influence by either Gov. Andrew Cuomo or Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Fitzpatrick, in an interview with YNN Syracuse’s Bill Carey, said he disagreed with Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s contention in an interview this week on Capital Tonight that a Moreland probe of either Cuomo or Schneiderman would make a “mockery” of the process.
“I’m not sure if Joanie were asked today she would give the same answer,” he said.
Fitzpatrick in the interview went back to July, when the commission was first formed, saying that at the time he answered questions about Moreland’s independence.
“I haven’t had any conversations with the governor that say, hey, I’m off limits or any conversations with the attorney general,” he said. “To me, they’ve both been cooperative as far as I’m concerned.”
He added that simply because Cuomo and Schneiderman aren’t in the report doesn’t prove the commission hasn’t looked into their own campaign finances.
“And just because they’re not mentioned in the report should not be construed to mean we didn’t look at fundraising by the governor and by the attorney general,” Fitzpatrick said. “But by the fact they’re not in the report it would indicate at this point we haven’t found anything that was improper or illegal or unethical.”
Dec 4th - 3:18 pm
Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino is open to the idea of a Donald Trump candidacy, but having a Republican gubernatorial candidate in favor of getting rid of Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb remains a priority.
“That’d be interesting,” Paladino said in a phone interview. “I think he’s well intentioned and posturing to try to have some really effective change in New York and I think that’s great. I think he would be considering his background a very good candidate for the Republican Party.”
The GOP’s 2010 nominee for governor added, however, that Trump would have to get out and see the rest of state, while also backing the ouster of the Republican leaders in the Legislature.
“He would have to get out and engage himself with all the constituencies of the party in upstate New York,” Paladino said. “He would have to see to it that Dean Skelos and Brian Kolb are let go.”
Trump met with a group of Republican lawmakers in New York City earlier today, along with Paladino’s former political strategist, Michael Caputo. Trump’s office did not throw cold water on running for governor after the meeting.
Paladino has vowed to run for governor on the Conservative Party line should New York Republicans nominate a “RINO” or a candidate who doesn’t push to end Skelos and Kolb’s tenures.
Paladino said he’s never met Trump, but believes any Republican would be able to defeat Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
As for his impressions of Trump, he believes the real estate mogul is “astute” and “bright.”
“I think he’s very astute, I think he’s very bright, I think we think alike on matters of fiscal responsibility, how to create jobs, how to lower taxes,” Paladino said.
Also considering a run for governor: Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
Dec 4th - 2:49 pm
A top counsel for Donald Trump emerged from a meeting with New York Republicans on Wednesday to not completely rule out a run for governor next year and promised to meet with the group again.
“We had a very interesting meeting and Mr. Trump has agreed to meet with them again at a later date,” said Michael Cohen, an executive vice president and special counsel to Trump.
It’s a different tone than the one taken by Cohen in The Daily News earlier when he outright dismissed the chances of him running against Democrat Andrew Cuomo next year.
“Mr. Trump has already stated on several occasions that he’s not interested in running for governor of New York,” Cohen told the newspaper. “Politicians and political operatives speak to, and seek an audience with, Mr Trump all throughout the year looking for his guidance and support. I suspect (Wednesday) is no different.”
Included in the meeting with Trump were Republican state lawmakers and political consultant Michael Caputo, the architect of Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino’s run for governor in 2010, who set up the meeting in New York City.
Meanwhile, Republican Chairman Ed Cox, who has been touting Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino as a potential candidate for governor, told WCNY earlier in the morning that Trump was good at “public relations” and an “astute observer” of politics.
“Some people want to talk to Donald Trump and that’s fine,” Cox said.
Of course, Trump has flirted with the possibility of running for higher office before, most notably considering the idea of running for president in 2012.
New York Republicans in 2005 approached him about running for governor of New York then as former Gov. George Pataki was about to retire.
And while Trump will likely not be a candidate for governor, the flirtation with Republicans like Assemblyman David DiPietro and Sen. Kathy Marchione — both of whom attended the meeting — is illustrative of the concern some in the GOP base have with finding someone who can upstage Cuomo come 2014.
Shortly after the Trump news broke on social media, a Democratic insider called and could only giggle uncontrollably at the news.
Dec 4th - 1:30 pm
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spent more of his campaign war chest on legal fees as part of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal.
Campaign finance records show Silver spent $25,000 on legal fees for his attorneys at Stroock, Stroock & Lavin.
Filings posted in October show the speaker spent an additional $40,000 on legal representation.
Back in July, it was reported Silver had spent $115,000 as part of the ethics investigation relating to the Lopez scandal.
Lopez, who resigned from the chamber earlier this year, was found to have broken the public officers law in a report that detailed a pattern of sexual harassment and abuse from the Brooklyn Democrat toward legislative staffers.
Silver has apologized for secretly approving more than $103,000 in settlement money, but hasn’t been accused of any legal wrongdoing.
Silver and the Assembly are being sued by the two of the women who accused Lopez of harassment.
Despite the legal bills, Silver still has more than $3 million in his campaign account, records show.
Dec 4th - 12:56 pm
Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz is something of an outlier for the mainline Democratic conference, notably being a vocal social conservative on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
But he’s also one of the few, if only, Democratic lawmakers in the chamber opposed to public financing of political campaigns.
And in his latest What You Should Know email blast, Diaz praises the seven members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Moreland Commission on Public Corruption who dissented on the recommendation that a donor matching system be introduced.
Diaz questioned the use of public money for political activities, when he believes it should be directed to programs for the needy.
“There were seven dissenters and I stand with these magnificent seven members of the Moreland Commission. I stand with these magnificent seven members of the Moreland Commission in their statement that public funds should not be used for political campaigns,” Diaz wrote. “Why should public funds be used for my political campaign when just the other day the New York Daily News described the Bronx as “the hungriest borough?” Why should public money be used to finance political campaigns when our homeless shelters are overflowing and affordable housing is so scarce? How can any politician in good conscience accept public money for his or her campaign when so many of their constituents continue to struggle to support their families?”
Senate Republicans are in staunch opposition as well to public financing, having blocked the most recent efforts this year to create a system.
Diaz’s no vote is illustrative of the uphill slog a public matching system faces in the Legislature, though Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom today he’ll continue to push the measure and would have already had an ethics measure had not been for holding out on public financing.
Dec 4th - 12:00 pm
He’s good at PR and an “astute observer” but Republican Chairman Ed Cox didn’t say much more than that on the push by some legislative Republicans to launch Donald Trump into the governor’s race next year.
Though Trump has said he isn’t running for governor against Democrat Andrew Cuomo next year, Republican lawmakers are still trying to push him into the race.
And while Trump may have buffoonish qualities — hosting a reality TV show, questioning the president’s citizenship among them — he is adept at public relations and has an army of fervent supporters on social media, while also being able to tap into the conservative base.
“Some people want to talk to Donald Trump and that’s fine,” Cox said.
So Cox, asked about the overtures on Susan Arbetter’s Capitol Pressroom, was cautious.
“Donald is a very astute observer of politics,” he said. “He’s very good in public relations.”
Does this mean he’s backing away from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino? Not at all, Cox said.
He once again touted Astorino, a potential Republican opponent for Cuomo next year, but is yet to declare whether he’ll run.
Cox praised Astorino for managing the budget in Westchester, and for being re-elected in an area with an unfriendly enrollment for the GOP.
“Why can’t Rob Astorino win the governship if he can win in Westchester County?”
Dec 4th - 11:39 am
If Gov. Andrew Cuomo really was intent on dropping public financing, an ethics package would have been achieved by now, he told Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Pressroom this morning.
“My support is clear, because otherwise, frankly, we would have had a package before now,” Cuomo said in the interview.
(Interestingly, this is a similar sentiment shared by a source to The Daily News on Tuesday).
And yet he acknowledged, as he did yesterday, that a system based on the New York City public matching program for political candidates is difficult to accomplish given Republican lawmakers in the Senate oppose the measure.
“Public finance is the stumbling point,” he said. “The Senate Republicans do not agree with public finance.”
Cuomo on Tuesday highlighted the areas in which the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption agrees as remedies to Albany’s ethical problems, including more aggressive enforcement and anti-bribery penalties.
The preliminary report included a seven-person “dissent” on public financing.
His spokeswoman later in the day clarified that he was full-throated in his support for public financing and wasn’t backing off the measure.
Meanwhile, Cuomo insisted the anti-corruption panel of his creation can investigate other areas of the government beyond the Legislature.
Responding to comments made by Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney on Capital Tonight on Monday that the commission was never going to probe the governor or attorney general, Cuomo said it was “much ado about nothing.”
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice on Capital Tonight on Tuesday went a step further regarding Mahoney’s comments saying she was just plain wrong to make that assertion.
Cuomo added the main problem to tackle is legislative corruption, claiming there haven’t been corruption problems in the attorney general’s office, the comptroller’s office or among his cabinet (former Comptroller Alan Hevesi, however, went to prison for a massive pay-to-play corruption scandal involving the pension fund that Cuomo as attorney general helped prosecute).
“The whole point is, there has been evidence of corruption in the legislature,” Cuomo said. “And that is an undeniable fact.”
Dec 4th - 8:48 am
(A shortened version of this morning’s Memo – with video).
We already knew there were divisions among the 25 Moreland Commission members, thanks to the seven-member dissent on public campaign financing included in the preliminary report released Monday.
But that disagreement morphed into open warfare yesterday as Commission Co-Chair Kathleen Rice lashed out at one of the dissenters, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, all but accusing her of lying when it comes to the commission’s ability – and willingness – to include anyone other than state legislators in its public corruption probe.
Rice’s comments came during a Capital Tonight interview last night, and were in response to Mahoney’s appearance on the show Monday evening, in which the Republican Onondaga County executive said it would be a “mockery” for the commission to “pretend” it would investigate the governor.
To do so, Mahoney said, would be a conflict of interest, since the commission was appointed by Cuomo and then deputized by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. (She did not address the fact that a Moreland Commission, by definition, is supposed to restrict its efforts to executive agencies).
Mahoney also said there had been “no conversations” within the commission to look at anything other than legislative corruption.
With very little prompting on my part last night, Rice, who is also a Democrat and the district attorney of Nassau County, insisted that Mahoney “doesn’t speak for the commission,” adding: “I think some of the things she said were just out-and-out not true.”
“In fact, the governor and the attorney general have made statements in direct contradiction to what commissioner Mahoney said about the ability to look into the governor,” Rice continued.
“The governor made it very clear and the commission has made it very clear that this commission’s mission is to follow the money where ever it goes without fear or favor.”
Rice also played down the dissent over public campaign financing, saying: “We had more than a majority of people saying (that) was the way to go.”
I asked her about reports that the Cuomo administration had actually encouraged this dissent, in hopes of providing cover for the governor if he fails to get a deal with the Senate Republicans, who have dug in their heels against the idea of using taxpayer dollars to fuel the ambitions of aspiring elected officials.
(Cuomo actually fueled that belied himself yesterday by initially saying leaders should focus on getting a deal on the reform measures where agreement already exists, and then walking that back by issuing – through a spokeswoman – a statement reiterating his strong support for creation of a publicly financed system).
Rice stuck to the administration’s talking points, saying it’s “very clear” where the governor stands on public financing. “We felt it was important for the dissent to be able to be heard,” she said, “and they were.”
You can watch my entire interview with Rice here.