Liz Benjamin

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Posts by Liz Benjamin

US Chamber To Hit NY-19 Airways For Gibson (Updated)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is poised to launch a slew of TV ads in districts held by “vulnerable” House Democrats and in support of incumbent Republicans, including New York Rep. Chris Gibson, who is facing a challenge from Democratic newcomer Sean Eldridge.

Citing media-tracking sources, POLITICO reported that the chamber has reserved air time in more than half a dozen competitive House races and in states with competitive US Senate contests. The full cost of the campaign was not yet available.

Gibson is the only New Yorker to benefit from the business organization’s air buy. The ad, which appears below, focuses on Gibson’s working-class roots and his experience as a combat veteran. It also deems him an “independent voice for jobs,” which echoes Gibson’s own efforts to cast himself as a pragmatist in a conference dominated by ideological conservatives.

This is the first salvo in what is shaping up to be one of the more bitter and expensive House races in New York this year, thanks in no small part to Eldridge’s personal wealth and the GOP’s desire to hold the seat at (almost) any cost.

UPDATE: A GOP source says the buy is $279,000 for broadcast and cable. The ad starts airing tomorrow in the Albany and New York City markets (to hit the upper Hudson Valley portion of the district) and will run through May 19th.

Extras

AG Eric Schneiderman declined to comment on a subpoena reportedly sent by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in reference to the work of the recently disbanded Moreland Commission.

Legislative leaders shrugged off the report that the commission is in Bharara’s crosshairs.

Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe criticized the ethics package that was approved in exchange for the end of the commission, which he served on.

Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie are forming a special bi-state panel on the future of the Port Authority.

In a jonit statement, the governors said the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has “raised questions regarding management and governance that must be analyzed and address.”

Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos said “there’s a good possibility” the Senate will vote on some sort of legislation dealing with medical marijuana this session.

Cuomo says public campaign finance would “finish the job Teddy Roosevelt started” in cleaning up Albany, and puts the onus on the IDC-GOP coalition.

Hillary Clinton revealed her “G-rated” guilty pleasure: Chocolate.

Clinton is still trying to decide if she’s “ready” to run for president again in 2016.

The return of Monica Lewinsky, who said it’s time to “burn the beret and bury the blue dress.” More here.

Political and media relations strategist Audrey Gelman is joining Marie Claire’s masthead as a contributing editor.

NYC First Daughter Chiara de Blasio released a deeply personal essay on her struggles with mental  illness and addiction.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio poached a tech commissioner from the Cuomo administration.

Dutchess County Comptroller Jim Coughlan’s racist tweets were blasted by his two Senate GOP primary opponents, and the local Conservative Party chairman said he’s reviewing support of Coughlan’s candidacy.

NY-22 congressional candidate and Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney is fluent in Serbo-Croatian.

The state Court of Appeals has determined that the names but not the addresses of retirees who receive public pensions must be disclosed according to state Freedom of Information Law.

The Teamsters Joint Council 16 endorsed Sen. Jeff Klein in his primary against Oliver Koppell.

LG Bob Duffy insists he’s not being forced off the 2014 ticket with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

NY1′s Pat Kiernan has a cameo (as himself) in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer made a personal plea to the Pew Research Center to remain in a Manhattan building that he and his father own.

Republican NY-21 primary opponents Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny traded digital blows over the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, which he signed and she did not.

The state Senate’s Health Committee voted down a measure called the Reproductive Health Act that would strengthen abortion rights in New York.

For the first time in the Maid of the Mist’s history, it will share the falls with another operator this season.

The plaintiffs in the Greece prayer case say they’ll continue to push the town board to be more inclusive as it schedules people to deliver pre-meeting prayers.

Antonacci In For State Comptroller

Republican Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci has decided to throw his hat into the ring to challenge Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Time Warner Cable News’ Bill Carey reports. A formal announcement is expected tomorrow.

According to Carey, Antonacci has received assurances of support from both state GOP Chairman Ed Cox and state Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long. He will likely have no trouble securring the nomination of both parties are their respective conventions later this month, as no other candidates interested in challenging DiNapoli have come forward.

Antonacci’s name first surfaced last week as a potential statewide contender. He briefly toyed with the idea of running for comptroller in 2010, but ended up launching a long-shot bid for the party’s nomination for AG. He lost that to Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, who ended up losing the general election to Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman.

The GOP nod for comptroller went to hedge fund manager Harry Wilson, who spent some $4 million of his own money on the race. Wilson came within several percentage points of defeating DiNapoli, who managed to hold on thanks largely to his support from organized labor, which ran an aggressive GOTV effort on his behalf – especially in Democrat-dominated New York City.

Last year, Antonacci considered mounting a 2014 campaign against Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei, and even went so far as to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with NRCC officials. But he ended up taking a pass on the race.

Antonacci could benefit from the comptroller-only public campaign finance system set up in the 2014-15 budget. DiNapoli, with the support of good government groups who say they system doesn’t go far enough, has already said he won’t participate.

Hanna’s First TV Ad: ‘Home’

Rep. Richard Hanna’s first TV ad seeks to address the criticism of his Republican primary opponent, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, that he isn’t sufficiently conservative to represent the 22nd Congressional District.

The 30-second spot, which hit the airwaves today, focuses on Hanna’s ties to upstate, his disdain for “bigger government,” his vote in support of repealing Obamacare and his support for 2nd Amendment rights. It makes no mention of his self-professed support for “women’s rights” (ie: abortion), which has contributed to his status of one of the most moderate members of his GOP conference in the House.

The ad notes in the tagline that Hanna is a Republican, which makes sense, since his only competition is in the June 24 GOP primary because there is no Democratic candidate running in the general. (Tea Party Michael Kicinski was kicked off the GOP ballot by the state Board of Elections due to insufficient signatures on his petitions). Local Republican Party officials and the NRCC are supporting Hanna against Tenney.

Hanna also has the Independence Party line, which gives him a spot on the November ballot regardless of what happens in the primary. Tenney passed up the opportunity to appear on the Conservative Party line in the general election, leaving herself the option of seeking re-election to her Assembly seat if she loses the primary.

The fact that Hanna is already up with an ad highlights the fact that he has far more in the way of resources than Tenney, though both candidates have loaned money to their own campaigns. Here’s the script of Hanna’s ad, titled “Home”:

“Upstate is my home. It’s where I built a business from the ground up and started a family. It’s a place I am committed to rebuilding. New Yorkers know personal responsibility matters and bigger government is not the solution. So I’ve voted to cut what we can’t afford, repeal Obamacare and protect our Second Amendment rights. I come home every weekend, listen to you and go back to work. 
I’m Richard Hanna and I approve this message.”

Avella Slams Koppell On Term Limits (Updated)

The IDC’s newest member, Sen. Tony Avella, jumped into the fray today on behalf on his conference leader, Sen. Jeff Klein, criticizing Klein’s primary opponent, Oliver Koppell, for actively working to extend term limits during his time as a NYC councilman.

“He’s making it all about negative attacks against Senator Klein, when at the same time, he did, what I consider to be, the most disgraceful, undemocratic action, ever by any elected official,” Avella said of Koppell during an interview this morning on The Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter.

“And that was when he and I both served in the City Council and he voted to overturn the will of the people by extending term limits. You know if you want to talk about undemocratic action…he should be held to account to that.”

In 2009, when then-NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg wanted to seek a third term but needed to change the law to do so, it was Koppell who introduced the legislation necessary to make that change. At the time, Koppell, then a councilman representing the Bronx, said term limits “cut off people’s careers in politics, which makes no sense” and also “rob the public of a choice.”

Koppell also told a local newspaper that the “public can’t be trusted” to make good decisions about who to put into office to represent them, adding: “Many people are not sophisticated enough to make some of these decisions. That’s why I believe in electing people who spend the better part of their lives working on these issues.”

The Council eventually passed Koppell’s bill, enabling not only Bloomberg to seek a third term, but every citywide elected official and Council member who was facing ouster due to the two-term limit – including Koppell himself – to do the same.

Koppell also took things one step further, endorsing Bloomberg for re-election, passing over a fellow Democrat, former NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson, who was also running that year, to do so. (For the record, Avella was defeated by Thompson in the Democratic mayoral primary that year).

It’s not surprising that Avella took this line of attack. Klein’s allies had signaled even before Koppell formally announced his candidacy yesterday (through media interviews with NY1 and the New York Times) that they planned to make an issue of Koppell’s support of Bloomberg and term limits.

But Avella may soon have other things to worry about – like his own political future. Queens Democratic officials have made no secret of the fact that they are furious with the senator for abandoning the regular Democrats for the IDC, and they are actively recruiting a challenger to run against him in the September primary – perhaps former NYC Comptroller and 2009 mayoral candidate John Liu.

UPDATE: Koppell emailed the following response (and this link):

“It is disgraceful that Tony Avella has sold out progressive Democratic values for member items, a practice he criticized while in the Council and one that is supposed to be restricted in Albany. Now, he (sic) doing the bidding of his Leader Jeff Klein, who doled out those member items and got Avella’s blind loyalty in return. This is from someone who supposedly ‘hates politics.’”

“While Avella will have some explaining of his own to do come September, in the interim, I challenge Mr Klein to debate me on the issues that matter, and not hide behind his surrogates.”

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public schedule.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is headed to Washington, D.C. today, where he will meet with Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Joe Crowley and other members of the NYS congressional delegation.

From 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., GOP gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino will attend the Chenango County GOP Meet and Greet, Fred’s Inn, 5149 State Highway 12, Norwich.

At 8:30 a.m., the Long Island Association’s Energy & Environment Committee hosts EPA regional administrator Judith Enck, 300 Broadhollow Rd., Melville.

At 9 a.m., NYC Council members, parents and public education advocates criticize recent changes in state laws concerning funding, resources and space allocated to charter schools by the city, before a 10 a.m. hearing of members of City Council’s Committee on Education at City Hall; steps, Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, Associated General Contractors, National Federation of Independent Business hold a press conference targeting the NYS Trial Lawyers Association, LCA Press Room (130), LOB, Albany.

From 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Astorino will tour Marshman Farm and milk cows, 3564 County Road 32, Oxford.

At 10:30 a.m., Sens. David Valesky and Patrick Gallivan will unveil a “scathing” report that highlights the growing trend of financial abuse among senior citizens in New York State, 4th Floor, state Capitol, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes a public safety announcement, Guilderland Police Department Headquarters, 5209 Western Turnpike, Guilderland.

At noon, de Blasio will speak at the Communications Workers of America 2014 Legislative-Political & Movement Building Conference. (Closed press).

Also at noon, the Senate Democrats unveil a “comprehensive” legislative ethics package, Room 315, state Capitol, Albany.

From noon to 1 p.m., Astorino meets with with Cortlandville Town Supervisor Dick Tupper, Cortland Elks Lodge, 9 Groton Ave., Cortland.

At 12:15 p.m., Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried and Sen. Bill Perkins will be joined by health care professionals, advocates, and unions for a rally in support of single payer health coverage plan, West Capitol Park, Albany.

At 12:30 p.m., state legislators announce a resolution against professional leagues promoting dictionary-defined racial slurs (like the Washington “Redskins”), LCA Press Room (130), LOB, Albany.

At 1 p.m., NY-21 candidate Matt Doheny will visit Lowville Sport and Farm Equipment, 6371 E Martinsburg Rd., Lowville.

Also at 1 p.m., LG Bob Duffy delivers remarks at the annual Police Officers’ Memorial Ceremony, Empire State Plaza, Albany. Schneiderman will also attend, and he’s scheduled to speak at 12:45 p.m.

At 1:45 p.m., de Blasio will speak at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s launch of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Potomac Ballroom, Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD. (First Lady Chirlane McCray and Chiara de Blasio will also attend).

At 3 p.m., former governors David Paterson and George Pataki propose new health protection measures against nuclear terrorism; 601 West 26th St., Manhattan.

Also at 3 p.m., Astorino tours Vestal Asphalt, 201 Stage Rd., Vestal.

At 5 p.m., Doheny attends the United Methodist Church Spaghetti Supper, Natural Bridge Community Center, 44035 Church St., Natural Bridge.

From 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., vice chairwoman of the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea Clinton, former Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO, U.S. Agriculture Secretary and U.S. Rep. Dan Glickman and NYC Public Advocate Tish James will be honored by NYC Coalition Against Hunger officials; Blue Water Grill restaurant, 31 Union Square West, Manhattan.

From 6 p..m. to 7:30 p.m., Astorino attends a Chemung County GOP event, Bernie Murray’s Restaurant, 500 S. Main St., Elmira.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and deputy comptrollers hear testimony about the city’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts as Stringer hosts the second hearing of his office’s Sandy Oversight Unit; Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn.

Headlines…

Federal prosecutors have reportedly issued a grand jury subpoena seeking emails, text messages and other records from all the members of the anticorruption commission that Gov. Andrew Cuomo abruptly shut down in March.

Bill Hammond: “Cuomo’s powers of persuasion are failing him when it comes to justifying a low point of his tenure thus far: His decision to shut down his own investigation of Albany corruption when it was only half-finished. The more he talks about the whys and wherefores, in fact, the deeper he digs his hole.”

The 115-page affordable housing plan released by the de Blasio administration yesterday left many questions unanswered, and aides to the mayor conceded many of their ideas need to be extensively studied before they can be enacted.

Jimmy Vielkind considers potential replacements to LG Bob Duffy as Cuomo’s running mate this fall. Names include: Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, former Rep. Kathy Hochul and Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle.

More >

Extras

ProPublica’s Justin Elliott says Cuomo administration members are evading FOIL by conducting public business via private emails.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined an ambitious affordable housing plan today.

NYC Council Housing Committee Chairman Jumaane Williams was disappointed with de Blasio’s proposal.

The ex-girlfriend of Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm has pleaded not guilty to charges she was involved in a campaign straw donor scheme.

According to his daily schedules, de Blasio had three meetings with Cuomo in February and March, during the height of their clashes over charter schools and funding for the mayor’s pre-K plan.

Rep. Charlie Rangel is hoping to energize his supporters by highlighting alleged attacks from Fox News.

Rangel’s campaign is running ads highlighting indirect accusations of inappropriate behavior by the campaign of his main primary challenger, Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

The cost of Mark Halperin and John Heilemann for Bloomberg: $1 million-plus per man, per year through 2016.

A former employee of Matt Doheny’s 2012 congressional bid who is trying to win workers’ comp benefits called her former boss a “despicable” employer.

Conservative Islip Town Councilman Anthony Senft officially kicked off his campaign for Sen. Lee Zeldin’s seat.

A jury found an Occupy Wall Street protestor guilty of assaulting a police officer at Zuccotti Park in 2012.

Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk has landed the backing of the Greene County Independence Party in her re-election bid against former Assemblyman George Amedore.

Robert Schultz, lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the SAFE Act, was in Buffalo collecting signatures from other plaintiffs in the case to appeal the dismissal of their suit to the state’s highest court.

Ryan Karben explains how new flare-ups between the Hudson Valley’s Hasidim and their neighbors are ensnaring a growing number of state agencies and creating headaches for politicians in a crucial election year.

A bill that would bolster abortion rights in New York is on the Senate Health Committee’s agenda tomorrow.

Sen. Bill Perkins and Assemblyman Jeff Aubry are pushing to dramatically reduce the use of solitary confinement in state prisons.

The terms of NYRA CEO Christopher Kay’s contract are quite sweet.

Earth Day lobby day kicked off with a tribute to the late singer/activist Pete Seeger.

Oregon State has fired its basketball coach, who happens to be President Obama’s brother-in-law.

There will be no baby pigs at this year’s New York State Fair.

Here and Now

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

At 8:30 a.m., NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito attends VP Joe Biden’s Cinco de Mayo Reception, Number One Observatory Circle, Washington, D.C.

At 10 a.m., environmental advocates perform a musical tribute to the late Pete Seeger during annual Earth Day lobby day, Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, Albany.

Also at 10 a.m., jury selection begins in former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno’s second trial on federal corruption charges, federal courthouse, Albany.

At 10:10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio makes an announcement, Courtyard, 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn. (He’s expected to make an affordable housing announcement).

At 11 a.m., First Lady Michelle Obama will attend ribbon cutting for the Anna Wintour Costume Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Avenue, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., health and civic groups hold a press conference to release government health data and legislation, LCA Room (130), Legislative Office Building, Albany.

At noon, Biden will attend a DCCC fundraiser at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., de Blasio makes another announcement, 1259 College Ave., between 168th and 169th streets, the Bronx.

From 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m., prison justice advocates will rally outside the state Capitol, Albany. (Cornel West is scheduled to address attendees).

At 1 p.m., LG Bob Duffy attends an event to celebrate the start of the Watertown Mercy Hospital Redevelopment Project, Mercy Hospital, 218 Stone St., Watertown.

At 2 p.m., Diana Durand, charged with using straw donors to exceed the maximum allowable contribution to the campaign committee with regards to Rep. Michael Grimm, will be arraigned, 225 Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn.

Also at 2 p.m., Biden will deliver remarks to the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., Sen. Brad Hoylman holds a fundraiser, Albany Room, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

At 6 p.m., Sen. Tony Avella holds a fundraiser, Fort Orange Club, 110 Washington Ave., Albany.

Also at 6 p.m., Assemblyman Felix Ortiz holds a fundraiser, The University Club, 141 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 6:45 p.m., Mark-Viverito attends the Met Gala, 1000 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

Headlines…

An IDC spokeswoman says conference leader Jeff Klein “looks forward to a spirited debate of ideas” with his (now official) primary challenger Oliver Koppell.

The Queens Democratic Party is mounting an aggressive campaign to oust state Sen. Tony Avella, after his defection to the IDC, and it is hoping former NYC Comptroller John Liu will help them get the job done.

Cuomo has “privately” pledged to campaign against the IDC-GOP Senate coalition if the DREAM Act, Women’s Equality (with an abortion plank) or campaign finance reform doesn’t pass by the end of the session.

John Cahill, a former top aide to ex-Gov. George Pataki, has reportedly decided to challenge AG Eric Schneiderman this fall, thinks the race is “winnable” and will announce his candidacy in the days before the GOP convention.

Cuomo won’t attend a pro-charter school education conference in Lake Placid this week, even though he is billed as the event’s “honorary chair.” He sent a video message instead.

More >

The Weekend That Was

Tomorrow, former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno will return to U.S. District Court in Albany to face trial for the second time. The charges center on hundreds of thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” Bruno received from businessman Jared Abbruzzese, or companies controlled by him, between 2004 and 2006.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to lay out his affordable housing plan tomorrow.

The MTA is aiming to restore normal subway service from Queens into Manhattan by tomorrow morning along the four lines — the E, F, M, and R — affected by the derailment of an F train on Friday near the 65th Street Station in Queens, officials said.

President Obama made jokes about FOX News and Hillary Clinton at the White House Correspondents Dinner.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays the VP on TV, teamed up with real life VP Joe Biden for a Correspondents Dinner video that features several VIP cameos.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn presented Clinton, a Chicago native, with an Order of Lincoln medallion – the state’s highest honor.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia announced his support for Clinton in 2016 – if she runs.

Political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin will join Bloomberg in the coming days to start a new site that will focus on American politics and policy.

The Post-Standard writes: “Cheers to Sen. Charles Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo for pushing hard for full disclosure and improved oversight of crude oil transport trains that send up to 300 cars a day through the heart of Syracuse.”

A lot of speculation and intrigue continues to surround the potential sale of the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills could identify a new owner within three months, leading Cuomo to step up the state’s efforts to secure the franchise’s long-term future in the region.

LG Bob Duffy on the sale of the Bills: “My sense is that there are people putting their hats and names in the ring right now, perhaps from around the country. And we’re cheering for anyone with connections to western New York.”

Sam Roberts recommends former LG Richard Ravitch’s new memoir.

A former NYPD cop was arrested for spray painting anti-Semitic graffiti throughout the orthodox community of Borough Park.

The 22 entities vying to build casinos in New York appear to have one thing in common: a willingness to use whatever political, financial and public-relations muscle they can to win a casino license in a process that is moving at a speedy pace.

Supporters of Scaffold Law reform are pushing forward despite the governor’s recent comments that the issue isn’t likely to move this year.

Michelle Rhee says the reforms in the deal struck by de Blasio with the UFT aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Crain’s says the 2014-15 budget “isn’t perfect,” but the governor “on balanace…kept the Legislature heading in the right direction.”

The Working Families Party is reportedly putting “enormous” pressure on Cuomo to reject the state Independence Party’s endorsement.

Fired Buffalo school administrators Yamilette Williams and Faith Morrison Alexander intend to sue district administrators and board members for what they describe as falsehoods, fraud and “selfish political purposes” associated with their termination early last month.

FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano has abused his power to obtain firefighters’ private phone records, according to Ron Kuby, an attorney who represents the United Firefighters Association.

New studies from the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association are calling attention to this “diversity gap” at elementary and secondary schools in the United States.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who had been invited to give the commencement address at Rutgers University in New Jersey this month, said on Saturday that she would no longer give the speech.

Extras – Rep. Grimm Indictment Edition

Federal prosecutors are preparing criminal charges against Rep. Michael Grimm, capping a two-year FBI investigation that ranges from his business dealings to his first campaign for Congress in 2010.

Grimm’s attorney William McGinley issued the following statement:

“After more than two years of investigation plagued by malicious leaks, violations of grand jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges against Congressman Grimm. We are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised.”

“From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth. Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing. When the dust settles, he will be vindicated. Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent.

…which makes it an interesting time for this: Grimm, whose Staten Island district was rocked by Sandy in 2012, is the first House Republican to admit changing his mind on man-made climate change in a new Showtime documentary.

The GOP is likely stuck with Grimm – good news for Democrat Domenic Recchia! – unless he resigns, dies, moves out of the district, runs for a judgeship (he IS a lawyer) or is found guilty before the election.

And Grimm isn’t the only House Republican in trouble.

In other news…

Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t be pushing for Scaffold Law reform this session. Why? “The trial lawyers are the single most powerful political force in Albany. That’s the short answer. It’s also the long answer.”

The Mike Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety group is paying for hundreds of activists and gun violence survivors to attend the annual NRA convention in Indianapolis.

Former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge is stepping down from his position with Everytown because he’s “uncomfortable” with the group’s expected electoral work.

Apparently the “Camp Philos” education reform conference is very exclusive.

Sen. Chuck Schumer said Brooklyn needs a “nerd bus” and a “nerd boat.”

Just 41 percent of New Yorkers think their state is the best state to live in. They also have below-average trust in their government, according to Gallup.

Faith Voters for Hillary has a website and is in the process of forming a PAC.

New Jersey U.S. attorney Paul Fishman has issued a subpoena to a legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge closures for its documents pertaining to the matter.

A 10 percent tax on tanning salons imposed as part of Obamacare – also known as the “Snooki tax” – is not raising nearly as much money as the government predicted.

Rep. Charlie Rangel and two of his three primary challengers – Sen. Adriano Espaillat and the Rev. Michael Walrond – will debate a second time on May 14.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio distanced himself from an FBI investigation of anti-horse-carriage group that helped him the 2013 primary by running attack ads against then-Council speaker Christine Quinn.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Bloomberg “could learn some humility,” and suggested the NRA could teach him about that in the November elections.

President Obama left Japan without a trade deal.

The NYC Council is moving forward with a package of legislation that would ban  anonymous campaign mailers and force Super PAC-like groups to list their top  donors in print.

Erie County legislators pass few laws, make few budget amendments but pass hundreds of resolutions that have nothing to do with the operation of county government.