Liz Benjamin

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Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Extras

Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick insists Larry Schwartz never directed him to stop any investigations or subpoenas when he chaired the Moreland Commission.

Democratic Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins defended the governor’s interference in the commission, echoing the administration’s “well, he created it” argument.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino expects “indictments and criminal charges” as a result of the NYT’s Moreland story.

Even after its disbandment in April, five staffers from the defunct commission remain on the state payroll - including its former executive director at a salary of $175,000 a year.

NY-19 Democratic candidate Sean Eldridge is wealthy now, but he once worked at a Taco Bell drive-through.

John Degnan has taken over as the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will be feted like a prodigal son returning home when he visits the small town in southern Italy where his grandfather was born.

Following Eric Garner’s death while in NYPD custody, NYCLU and labor groups are pushing Cuomo to veto a bill they say would hamstring the ability of local governments to discipline police for misconduct.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito refused to say race was a factor in Garner’s death.

CBS’ “Late Show” will remain in New York City after David Letterman retires and Stephen Colbert takes over next year.

…that’s thanks to at least $16 million in state tax breaks and cash.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg released details of his trip to Israel, which he made to show it’s safe to fly into and out of the country.

Jennifer Rubin suggests Bloomberg should challenge Hillary Clinton from the left in 2016.

Bloomberg had a tense interview with CNN host Wolf Blitzer, in which he accused Blitzer of “insulting” America.

The thirteen “best” New York restaurants NOT in NYC – agree or disagree?

Eight Queens Library trustees were booted thanks to their opposition to ousting their free-spending director.

State Education Commissioner John King will be releasing ”instructional reports” on this year’s Grade 3-8 English and math tests early.

Did Anyone Break The Law?

Today’s New York Times story on the Cuomo administration’s extensive meddling in the now-defunct Moreland Commission is exhaustive and comprehensive, laying out in detail the (successful) effort by the governor’s top aide, Larry Schwartz, to derail any lines of investigation that might expose or embarrass the executive.

But while the piece notes that US Attorney Preet Bharara is now investigatig the commission’s demise – shut down by Cuomo in exchange for agreement on an ethics reform package by legislative leaders – it does not directly address the question of what laws may have been broken during this entire mess, and by whom.

The governor, both in interviews following the commission’s shuttering and in his 13-page response to the Times, has insisted that this body was never independent of the executive branch – despite his initial claims to the contrary – and therefore any interference by his office could not possibly be considered meddling. In late April, Cuomo told Crain’s New York Business:

“It’s my commission. I can’t ‘interfere’ with it, because it is mine. It is controlled by me.”

But as former Assemblyman (and attorney) Richard Brodsky noted when the commission was first created last summer, a Moreland Commission – by its very definition – does not have the power to investigate anything other than the executive branch.

However, when the commission members are deputized by the state attorney general’s office, their powers are expanded and they are able to investigate the Legislature, which was, of course, the real reason Cuomo wanted to create this commission in the first place – no matter what he publicly claimed about it being independent and free to follow the money trail wherever it lead.

That model was employed by the governor’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, when he set up what came to be known as the Feerick Commission, created – ironically – to investigate the state’s campaign finance system, which was ultimately deemed to be “an embarrassment and a disgrace.”

Ultimately, the commission’s findings fell on deaf ears, however, since state lawmakers weren’t inclined to change the system that benefitted them. Hence, the need for what was ostensbily to be a robust and no-holds-barred probe into the loophole-riddled campaign finance system by the current Gov. Cuomo’s commission.

I spoke briefly with Brodsky this morning, and he reiterated that Schwartz – acting alone or at the governor’s direction – would have “every lgeal right” to interfere with a Moreland Commission – if that’s what this commission was. But, since all 25 commission members had been deputized by the AG’s office, Brodsky says that this commission was actually a more powerful hyrbid. And if Schwartz, or anyone else on the Capitol’s second floor, interfered with the deputy AGs, well, that appears to be a different legal story altogether.

Brodsky stressed that he won’t opine on whether the law was broken based on the NYT’s reporting, saying: “That’s for law enforcement to do.”

“What you can say without a doubt, however, is that it was the attempt to investigate the Legislature through a referral that raises the hard legal questions,” Brodsky said. “The governor has the unfettered power to investigate the executive branch in any way he wants – or doesn’t want to. The problem arises when the governor’s office interferes with the attorney general’s office.”

Presumably, Bharara knows this, too.

AG Eric Schneiderman has so far not commented on the NYT story, and he won’t be saying anything any time soon, according to his press office.

But he was asked back in May about the subpoena sent by Bharara’s office to the defunct Moreland Commission’s chief counsel, Kelly Donovan, who just so happens to also be the AG’s executive deputy for criminal justice.

“I’m not going to comment on this,” Schneiderman said at the time. “I can’t comment on investigations arising out of the Moreland Commission whether they’re being conducted by my office or other prosecutors.”

“…I deputized (commissioners) as special deputies so they would have authority to look into branches of government other than the executive branch, but the commissioners – none of them were employees of my office. None of the staff that was hired was hired by my office. The only people we had around were folks who had full-time jobs who were detailed to help the commission, and whatever directions there were for them to take actio – they were directed to stand down, essentially, on the subpoenas – and that’s it.”

Schneiderman’s GOP opponent, John Cahill, so far hasn’t issued any statements in response to the NYT story, but he is scheduled to hold a press conference outside Schneiderman’s Manhattan office at 2:30 p.m., at which he presumably will be addressing this issue.

Teachout: Cuomo Might Have to Resign Over Moreland Mess (Updated)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s multiple opponents and critics didn’t not waste any time in seizing on this morning’s bombshell report in the New York Times about the administration’s extensive meddling in the now-defunct Moreland Commission.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout was the first to release a statement, calling the revelations in the paper “deeply disturbing.”

The Fordham Law professor said that if Cuomo directed or even knew of efforts by his top aide, Larry Schwartz, to obstruct and interfere with the commission’s work than he should “immediately resign.”

“When a private indiscretion became public, Governor Eliot Spitzer quickly resigned from office,” Teachout said.

“The Cuomo administration’s indiscretions – public acts that violate the public trust – are far worse. The administration’s direct obstruction of Moreland suggests there is deep corruption within the Governor’s office.”

“…The Cuomo administration’s handling of the Moreland Commission distills what plagues our democracy: a special class of insiders in Albany, connected through financial and political clout, have immunized themselves from the law. Governor Cuomo has taken this corruption and elevated it to new levels.”

Ironically, it was just yesterday that Teachout was standing with Cuomo’s GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and railing against the governor for failing to reign in corruption during his tenure.

Teachout specifically cited Cuomo’s shutting down of the Moreland Commission as proof that the governor is not serious about addressing the underpinnings of the corruption problem that has plagued the state Capitol for years.

Astorino released a far more subdued statement, saying Cuomo is in “big trouble” and cheering on US Attorney Preet Bharara for taking over where the Moreland Commission left off.

“We applaud the United States Attorney for his work to levy justice on Moreland’s targets, and on those who interefered with the Commission to protect Mr. Cuomo and his political allies,” Astorino said. “We urge the greatest expediency possible in these deliberations. New Yorkers cannot afford to have a crook in the Governor’s Mansion.”

Schneiderman Doubles Down On TV Air Time

From today’s Morning Memo:

Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman has reserved a second $1 million block of TV air time for the end of the campaign, locking up the airways early as his GOP opponent, John Cahill, struggles to catch up in the fundraising race and build name recognition.

A source familiar with Schneiderman’s plan says this block – like the first $1 million chunk purchased by his campaign in June – is with broadcast stations in the state’s five major media markets: NYC, Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, and covers the final month of the AG’s race.

Consider this: Schneiderman has now spent more on future TV ads than Cahill has raised to date.

According to the July 15 reports filed with the state Board of Elections, Cahill has raised just over $1 million and has $968,689 on hand. Schneiderman took in $2.6 million over the past six months, and has $6.9 million on hand.

These early ad buys don’t merely give the AG bragging rights and allow him to flout his eight-to-one spending advantage. They also secure him as much as a 20 percent discount.

Cahill, meanwhile, will be forced to buy time at a more expensive rate (unless he acts ASAP), and since Schneiderman has already snapped up the good time slots, the former Pataki administration aide will have to make do with what’s left over.

Though Schneiderman has a major cash advantage – thanks largely to the power of incumbency and his longstanding support among labor unions – the AG is clearly leaving nothing to chance in his first re-election race.

The AG enjoys a wide lead over Cahill, though the race has tightened just a hair, according to this week’s Siena poll. (Cahill, it should be noted, is garnering more support among GOP voters than any other of the party’s statewide contenders).

Also, though a majority – 56 percent – of New Yorkers say they don’t know who Schneiderman is, despite the fact that he has held statewide office for the past four years, more people – 74 percent – don’t know Cahill.

And Schneiderman is determined, clearly, to do everything he can to keep things this way – spendingbig to raise his own name recognition, and perhaps to define Cahill (most likely as too conservative for Democrat-dominated New York) before Cahill can afford to do it himself.

There is still the possibility that Chill will be assisted by big spending by an anti-Schneiderman Super PAC, but that has yet to materialize.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 7:25 a.m., Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino will be a guest on AM970 with host Joe Piscopo.

At 7:48 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WVOX Good Morning Westchester with host John Marino.

At 8:03 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on WGY with hosts Chuck and Kelly.

From 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., Crain’s New York Business holds a forum on “The Business of Taxis: Innovating an Industry,” John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St., Manhattan.

At 8:45 a.m., members of The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s board of commissioners hold board and committee meetings; 15th floor, 225 Park Ave. South., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Education holds hearing on Avonte’s Law, 250 Broadway, 16th Floor. Watch here: http://on.nyc.gov/1uBIXAH

At 10:30 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilman Andrew Cohen and others hold a press conference regarding participatory budgeting for the 2015-2016 budget year, City Hall, Red Room, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., Assemblymen Michael Cusick and Matthew Titone, administrators from the College of Staten Island, and American Red Cross representatives publicize how residents can prepare for hurricane season, during an event featuring two American Red Cross relief supply trailers; base of building 1M near the campus tower, 2800 Victory Blvd., Staten Island.

At noon, Brooklyn BP Eric Adams and Councilman Mark Treyger will call for reforms to the citywide approach towards water safety in the wake of the sixth drowning death of the summer, Stillwell Avenue entrance, Coney Island Boardwalk.

At 1 p.m., LG Bob Duffy makes an announcement, Loretto – The Nottingham, 1301 Nottingham Rd., Jamesville.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC Public Advocate Tish James will join the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York to release a joint policy report entitled “Improving Voting Access for New Yorkers with Disabilities”, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss atends and delivers remarks at the Baron Steuben Association of Retired Troopers Dinner, Redwood Restaurant, 6 Cohocton St., Naples.

Also at 6 p.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout and her LG running mate, Tim Wu, hold a strategy call for reporters and supporters.

Also at 6 p.m., NY-21 Green Party candidate Matt Funiciello will be speaking at a meet-and-greet, Minerva Volunteer Fire & Rescue Station, 1495 State Route 28N, Minerva.

At 7:15 p.m., funeral services will be held for 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner, who lost consciousness and died as NYPD officers attempted to arrest him on Thursday, July 17; Bethel Baptist Church, 265 Bergen St., Brooklyn. (The Rev. Al Sharpton will speak).

At 8 p.m., the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City holds 2014 state and local endorsement meeting at the LGBT Center, 208 West 13th St., Manhattan.

Headlines…

A three-month investigation by the New York Times reveals extensive interference in the now-defunct Moreland Commission by the Cuomo administration, and extreme frustration on the part of many commissioners and staffers. The administration submitted a 13-page response insisting it did nothing wrong.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg flew El Al to Tel Aviv “to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel.”

Long Island Rep. Steve Israel is reintroducing legislation to install anti-missile technologies on U.S. commercial airliners, prompted by the Ukraine air disaster and Hamas rockets in the Gaza crisis.

State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long sided with GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino in his war of words with NJ Gov. Chris Christie, saying Christie is “in bed with Cuomo.”

Though they are technically opponents, Astorino and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout teamed up for a joint attack on Cuomo and the “growing corruption crisis in Albany” under his watch.

Bill Hammond tries to explain the “Cuomo paradox” – why voters love the governor that insiders loathe.

Cuomo signed into law a bill to extend Albany’s pilot residential parking permit system for two years. He also OK’d a bill that will allow the city to install red light cameras at up to 20 intersections.

The legislation that created JCOPE also called for creation by June 1, 2014, of an eight-member review panel to “study, review and evaluate” the activities and performance of the commission. The panel is support to issue a report in 2015. So far: Nothing.

Factions of Erie County’s divided Democratic Party appear headed for open warfare following allegations that Board of Elections officials deliberately destroyed designating petitions for a local candidate deemed unfriendly to Democratic Headquarters – a potential criminal offense.

Every New York Police Department officer will be retrained in the use of force following the death of a Staten Island man after an officer subdued him with an apparent chokehold, Commissioner William Bratton said.

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Extras

Two U.S. appeals courts issued contradictory rulings on Obamacare subsidies. One upheld them. The other struck them down for millions of Americans covered through HealthCare.gov.

Brooklyn BP Eric Adams: “If flying a #whiteflag on the #BrooklynBridge is someone’s idea of a joke, I’m not laughing. We won’t surrender our public safety to anyone.”

Some news outlets fell victim to a twitter parody account that took responsibility for the flag switch.

US Sen. Chuck Schumer still uses an ancient LG flip-phone, in part because “you can FOIA any email.”

Speaking of outdated technology

Looks like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and his son, Dante, are having a good time on their Italian vacation. More here.

Back home in NYC, Sen. Bill Perkins called Eric Garner’s death – apparently by being choked by an NYPD officer – a “murder.”

LG Bob Duffy had some interesting tweets today.

Hudson Valley Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Chris Gibson sent a letter to the FERC this week urging it to abandon the Lower Hudson Valley Capacity Zone.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 contender, called fellow would-be White House aspirant Hillary Clinton “a 20th century candidate.”

A judge ruled investors in the Empire State Building can’t sue over their claims they were shortchanged by the deal that turned the iconic skyscraper into a public stock.

New York has a sandwich tax, and a burrito (somehow) qualifies.

Anti-Zephyr Teachout protestors and Randy Credico crashed the Teachout-Astorino press conference.

Stair Fair tickets can be bought online at a discount.

Under fire for flouting the law in NYC, the popular apartment sharing website Airbnb has hired de Blasio’s former camaign manager, Bill Hyers.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer is looking to capitalize on his reputation as the scourge of Wall Street analysts by backing TipRanks, which describes itself as a financial accountability website.

Emmi Roth USA, a producer of premium specialty cheeses and dairy products, will expand its yogurt manufacturing facility in the Finger Lakes.

Grisanti Doubles Down vs. Undocumented Immigrants

Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti, who is facing a GOP primary battle this fall and so far does not have the support of local Conservatives, is continuing to make political hay from various Democratic proposals to assist undocumented immigrants in New York.

His latest salvo is an on-line petition against a plan, introduced just as the 2014 session drew to a close by Bronx Sen. Gustavo Rivera, called the New York is Home Act, which would enable nearly 3 million noncitizens who meet specific criteria to apply for citizenship with New York’s Office for New Americans.

“This is the most outrageous proposal I have seen during my four years in the Senate,” Grisanti said in a statement released this morning. “It would not only allow illegal immigrants to vote and run for office in state and local elections, it would allow them to get driver’s licenses, serve on juries, and become eligible for Medicaid.”

“It would also allow them to receive in-state college tuition rates and financial aid. The New York City liberals never seem to learn that middle-class families are sick and tired of funding their politically motivated giveaway programs. I will oppose this legislation every step of the way.”

This is a continuing theme for the Democrat-turned-Republican Western New York senator, whose very first TV ad of this year’s campaign (released back in April) focused on his opposition to the DREAM Act, which would help the children of undocumented immigrants access state cash to attend college. Grisanti voted “no” on the DREAM Act when it was brought to the Senate floor in March and failed to pass.

Grisanti is typically considered one of the more moderate members of the Senate Republican conference - a reputation earned by ”yes” votes on two bills pushed by Cuomo: same-sex marriage and the gun control measure known as the SAFE Act.

He faced a Republican primary in 2012 that was backed by Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman who ran for governor on the GOP and Conservative lines in 2010. Grisanti won re-election that year in a crowded three-way race that included Democratic and Conservative Party candidates. (He had lost the Conservative Party’s support thanks to his support of gay marriage – ironically, the party backed a Democrat that year - but is the only one of the four GOP senators who voted “yes” on the measure still sitting in the Senate chamber).

This year, the Conservatives have again taken a pass on Grisanti, backing a palceholder candidate pending the outcome of a GOP primary, in which Grisanti faces a challenge from attorney Kevin Stocker. Sotcker failed in 2012 to knock the senator from his perch.  But Stocker is angering local GOP leaders by trying to wage a write-in campaign on the line belonging to the WFP, which is working hard to flip the Senate into Democratic hands.

If he succeeds, Stocker would challenge Democrat Marc Panepinto on the WFP line in September while also running against Grisanti on the GOP line.

Grisanti has the Independence Party line, which means he’s assured at least one line on the November general election ballot. (Rus Thompson, the Paladino-backed Independence Party member who had been threatening to run, won’t be appearing anywhere on the ballot either in September or November).

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

NYC City Mayor Bill de Blasio is on the island of Capri, Italy with his family. No public events are scheduled.

At 10 a.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout make a joint announcement, Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan. (Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and local business owners will join him).

At 10:30 a.m., JCOPE meets, 540 Broadway, Albany.

AT 10:45 a.m., Astorino will be a guest on “Live from the State Capitol” with host Fred Dicker.

At 11:30 a.m., NYC Council members and state lawmakers who are members of minority caucus groups, as well as other city officials, hold a news conference to criticize the actions of NYPD officers during the Thursday, July 17, arrest of 43-year-old Staten Island resident Eric Garner, who lost consciousness and died; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Sen. David Carlucci joins Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and others to call for legislation to be signed to ensure people who have had their image broadcasted without their consent will have a course of action, Clarkstown Police Station, 20 Maple Ave., New City.

At 1 p.m., Astorino will hold a joint press conference with state comptroller candidate Bob Antonacci and former Rep. Bob Turner calling on Cuomo to return the $37 million in Superstorm Sandy funds he spent on TV ads to the victims, 175 Ocean Ave., Breezy Point, Queens.

At 1:15 p.m., labor leaders speak out against the DEC’s plan to shut off electricity from Indian Point Energy Center, Colonial Terrace, 119 Oregon Rd., Cortlandt Manor.

At 5:30 p.m., Reps. Peter King and Chris Collins headline a fundraiser for fellow Republican Bruce Blakeman, who is running for Congress in NY-4, Capitol Hill Club, 300 First St. SE, Washington, DC.

At 6:30 p.m., Astorino will attend a fundraiser for Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Tropix on the Mile, 395 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport.

At 8 p.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer greets the crowd from the state at Shakespeare in the Park: King Lear, at the Delacorte Theater, 81 Central Park West, Manhattan.

At 8:15 p.m., Astorino will attend the Huntington Chamber of Commerce Networking Luau, Crab Meadow Beach, Waterside Avenue, Northport.

Headlines…

Republican Governors Association Chairman Chris Christie on why he won’t be campaigning on Astorino’s behalf in New York anytime soon: “We don’t pay for landslides and we don’t invest in lost causes.” He’ll change his mind if the race becomes “competitive.”

Christie, the New Jersey governor and a potential 2016 contender, has yet to regain the record high popularity he enjoyed before a scandal involving the George Washington Bridge, though public interest in the lane closures is fading, according to a new poll.

While campaigning in Connecticut, Christie was rebuked by Newtown families for rejecting a bill that would have banned the sale of ammunition magazines larger than 10 rounds.

Food Network star Sandra Lee, who rarely makes public appearances with her live-in boyfriend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, made a splash at the Adirondack whitewater rafting race he organized this past weekend.

School bus operators who need Mayor de Blasio’s help to retain lucrative city contracts contributed nearly $40,000 to a mayoral nonprofit — but took steps to hide the donations from public view.

De Blasio is keeping up a breakneck New York-type pace on his family vacation in Italy, leaving the Italians to wonder: What’s the rush?

The Staten Island neighborhood thrust into the spotlight when Eric Garner died after an NYPD officer subdued him with an apparent chokehold is in a precinct that has historically seen tension between the police and residents.

An NYPD internal report prepared right after Garner’s death plays down the incident, with supervising officers failing to note the chokehold and insisting he was not in “great distress.”

Nearly two-thirds of New York voters say they’re never surprised when another state legislator gets indicted because most are out only to help themselves and their political pals, according to a new Siena poll.

A legal battle with Cuomo’s anti-corruption Moreland Commission didn’t stop the Syracuse-based firm of Hiscock & Barclay from contributing to the governor’s campaign.

Well-known election attorney and former Senate Democratic Leader Marty Connor is representing challengers to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout’s petitions.

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Extras

Westchester Democratic Chairman Reginald LaFayette, who is also a local election commissioner, thinks it’s “a little insulting” to be asked why he can’t file financial reports on time.

The League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes and 1199 SEIU have reached a tentative deal on a new four-year contract.

Federal prosecutors want GOP Rep. Michael Grimm’s tax evasion trial to start in October - a month before Election Day.

The NYC Department of Investigation has begun a review of scores of cases of serious injuries suffered by inmates at Rikers Island.

NY-24 GOP candidate John Katko, who is “not interested in doing the lables,” shared his positions on a host of key issues.

Bronx Councilman Fernando Cabrera rolled $33,000 from his NYC campaign account to his Senate account to fund his primary challenge to Sen. Gustavo Rivera; the CFB wants that cash back.

On his second day in Italy, Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Vatican and invited Pope Francis to come to New York.

If Tim Wu defeats Kathy Hochul in the Democratic LG primary, it could be curtains for the state Independence Party.

Two of the nation’s largest non-profit immigration service groups will shut down as part of a settlement with AG Eric Schneiderman.

GOP operative John Haggerty, who bilked former NYC Mayor Bloomberg out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2009, turned himself in this morning to serve 1 ​1/3 to 4 years in prison.

A report from the city’s Independent Budget Office found 21 percent of households that moved out of New York City in 2012 moved within the state - either to the suburbs or upstate.

GE, which is slated to receive $135 million from the Cuomo administration, contributed $90,000 to the state Democratic Party in less than seven months.

Ken Thompson took a hefty pay cut this year when he was became the new Brooklyn district attorney.

State government contracts related to the Saw Mill River Parkway are paving the way for political donations to Cuomo.

Sen. Michael Nozzolio is touting a GOP proposal to use a $3.3 billion settlement with a French bank for education aid and ending the Gap Elimination Adjustment.

 

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 10 a.m., state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will address the Teamsters Conference, the Fort William Henry Resort and Conference Center, 48 Canada St., Lake George.

Also at 10 a.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will attend the Chautauqua County Fair with candidate for sheriff Rusa Payne, 1089 Central Ave., Dunkirk.

At 1 p.m., the first meeting about the broadband availability enhancement component of the Smart Schools Initiative will be held, Blue Room, second floor, state Capitol.

At 2 p.m., Astorino will attend a Cattaraugus County meet and greet, Cutco Theatre at JCC, 250 North Union St., Olean.

From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., a tourism workshop on “Becoming China Ready” takes place in Empire State Plaza’s Meeting Rooms 4 and 5, concourse, Albany.

At 6 p.m., Astorino will attend the Chautauqua GOP Annual Dinner, Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, 433 E. Terrace Ave., Lakewood.

Headlines…

Cuomo’s campaign operatives are being accused of dirty tricks for allegedly sponsoring a biased “push poll” to convince voters that the governor’s GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, holds politically unacceptable views.

The death of Eric Garner while in NYPD custody reveals the tensions between two of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s priorities: mending relations between the police and minority residents while fighting serious crime by focusing on petty offenses.

Eric Garner’s son, Eric Snipes, said he wants to see Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the plainclothes cop seen in a viral video putting Garner in a chokehold and refusing to let up even when the father of six repeatedly yelled he couldn’t breathe, behind bars.

Although officially banned by the NYPD, the chokehold can often be effective in subduing a person resisting arrest and has been tough to eliminate its use by officers.

Four emergency responders have been placed on desk duty as prosecutors investigate the Garner case. The two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians, employed by Richmond University Medical Center, can’t respond to 911 medical calls until the investigation is complete.

The head of the NYC police union asked the public and elected officials to give officers involved in the incident that led to Garner’s death “the benefit of the doubt.”

De Blasio and his family kicked off an eight-day summer vacation on Sunday standing with Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino on a balcony overlooking the Roman Forum, the city’s birthplace. The family is scheduled to spend less than 48 hours in Rome before heading to Capri, once an island vacation hideaway of Roman emperors and now a favorite hangout for the glitterati.

Italian journalists referred to de Blasio as “the cool mayor,” and were impressed by his willingness to handle his own baggage.

The NYT gives the de Blasio vacation its stamp of approval: “You can’t blame Mr. de Blasio for leaving town. He is the city’s chief executive, but he is also a husband and dad, and surely has an acute sense of the fleeting preciousness of time with family.”

A spokesman for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice called sexist and racially insensitive tweets by her congressional campaign staffer “stupid…attempts at sarcasm and parody,” and said the staffer has been disciplined.

State lawmakers spent $300,000 over the past six months from their campaign accounts to cover legal fees stemming from multiple scandals — bringing the total to $7.5 million since 2004

The Democrat & Chronicle says its difficulty in getting information on a Cuomo TV ad campaign “reflects a culture of secrecy that continues to permeate Albany nearly four years into an administration that promised to be ‘the most transparent and accountable in history.’”

Florida’s treasurer is accusing Cuomo of running a misleading ad campaign about START-UP NY that’s aimed at luring business to New York from the Sunshine State, saying: “We know a huckster when we see one.”

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