Michael Johnson

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Posts by Michael Johnson

Extras

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone.

A meeting over the expansion of the Peace Bridge was so contentious the board deadlocked over a vote to approve the minutes from a previous meeting.

Republican Assemblyman Bill Nojay sent a letter to his Democratic colleague Sean Ryan bashing Ryan for his criticism of the Erie County Sheriff’s refusal to support the SAFE ACT.

Paul Simon is headlining a fundraiser for Governor Cuomo at the end of next month.

Mayor Bloomberg says the free market will determine how popular the citibike program will be.

The Assistant Director of the Great NYS Fair was fired for making lewd comments.

President Obama addressed the sexual assault scandal in the military during his speech at the Naval Academy commencement address.

Paula Broadwell expressed remorse over her affair with Gen. David Petraeus in her first extended interview since the scandal.

Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing a bill that would make tampering with a Mobile Phone ID a crime.

Breaking: Sen. Sampson Taken Into Custody

FBI officals confim that former Senate Minority Leader John Sampson is un custody after turning himself into federal officials earlier this morning on public corruption charges.

Several news outlets reported over the weekend that Sampson was “Senator #1” in the recently released sentencing document for former Senator Shirley Huntley, who plead guilty to stealing taxpayer money through a non-profit organization she set up. The sentencing document revealed that Huntley wore a wire to obtain evidence against Sampson, and two unknown lawmakers, for the FBI.

According to various reports, Sampson is expected to be charged with obstruction of justice.

We’ll obviously have more on this throughout the day.

Update: United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch will hold a press conference at 11am to announce the unsealing of an indictment in a criminal case against a New York State elected official. She does not specifically mention Sampson but we are told by FBI sources that it will be about him.

McDonald Loses Campaign Finance Challenge

New York City Republican Mayoral Candidate George McDonald has lost his legal challenge to the city’s limits on contributions.

McDonald argued that the city’s cap on individual contributions at $4950 was in contrast to the state law which allows $19,700 for mayoral primaries and up to $41,000 for general elections. He accepted 11 donations for more than $5000 dollars earlier this year and then challenged the city campaign finance board in court.

McDonald recently discussed the case on Road to City Hall with Errol Louis, expressing frustration that it took so long for the court to rule on his case. His spokesman echoed those comments in a statement.

“It’s disappointing that it took 147 days to ‘just say no’ in long form. Further, it’s simply incomprehensible that such a decision would take this long and smacks of the kind of crony politics that New Yorkers have grown tired of seeing,” said Dave Catalfamo, McDonald Campaign spokesman. “Given this decision, the NYS Board of Elections should immediately clarify its website to make apparent New York City’s primacy on election law. We are considering our options on appeal.”

McDonald’s campaign said earlier this year that they will comply with the current campaign finance laws.

Mcdonald Final Verdict

Dadey Jumps Into Ted Cruz Debate

For the past few days we have seen dueling press releases from the state Democratic Party and the State Republican party over the announcement that conservative Texas US Senator Ted Cruz will be headlining the State GOP’s annual fundraiser.

First the Democrats, in a statement by Party Executive Director Rodney Capel, blasted Cruz as anti-New York because he voted against the Sandy Relief Bill. He went on to also say he is anti-women, anti-gay rights, and anti-immigrant, and they called on Republicans to boycott the fundraiser. State Democratic Party Co-Chair Keith Wright echoed those comments on the show last night.

The State GOP fired back calling this hysterics. And taking a chance to attack Cuomo for his push to pass the Reproductive Health Act.

“Mr. Capel’s hysterics notwithstanding, the truly extreme position is the one taken by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State address, where he called for passage of the so-called “Reproductive Health Act,” which would expand late-term abortions in New York, even up to the day of a baby’s birth,” NYS GOP Chairman Ed Cox said in at statement.

Now often outspoken Onondaga County GOP Chair Tom Dadey is getting in the fray. He just fired off this statement accusing Democrats of creating a distraction from the governor’s record on the upstate economy.

“Whether it’s Keith Wright, Rodney Capel or Governor Cuomo himself, New York Democrats have no business choosing who speaks and who doesn’t speak at the State GOP’s annual dinner,” Dadey said. “This attack is designed to distract from their failure to turn around the Upstate economy. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Dadey goes on to attack Cuomo for his failure to green light high volume hydraulic fracturing in New York State.

“The Governor should stop hiding behind the endless studies and approve hydrofracking, just like President Obama’s EPA and the State of Pennsylvania have already done. It’s governmental malpractice to let another generation of Upstate New Yorkers leave this state in search of a job and the opportunity that comes with it when the potential for an economic resurgence is right at our fingertips,” Dadey said.

This type of back and forth between the state political parties has been pretty rare in the past two years. The state Democratic party, which is historically and for all intents and purposes controlled by the Governor, has generally avoided direct confrontations with their Republican counterparts.

Meanwhile the Republican party and Chairman Ed Cox only started attacking Governor Cuomo on a consistent basis in the past few months – focusing heavily on the upstate economy.

Reporter Roundtable

Newsday’s Yancey Roy, Albany Times Union’s Rick Karlin, Jon Campbell from the Gannett News Service, and our own Nick Reisman make up the Reporter Roundtable. They discuss Cuomo’s negotiating style, his proposed task force for municipalities, and the recent scandals surrounding Senator Greg Ball and Assemblyman Steve Katz.

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Assemblyman Mark Johns Makes Case For Term Limits

Since Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblyman Eric Stevenson were arrested on bribery charges early this month, several ideas have been bounced around on how to reduce corruption in the legislature. While the governor has announced plans in support of public financing and empowering district attorneys during these situations, others are calling for term limits and according to a recent Siena poll, 82 percent of registered New York voters agree. Assemblyman Mark Johns is sponsoring a bill that would create term limits in the legislature and he sat down with Liz to explain the bill.

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Eric Friedman From NYC Campaign Finance Board Defends Public Campaign Financing

Recent corruption cases has triggered a debate in Albany over campaign finance reform. Democrats have pointed to the New York City system as a model for reform. But Republicans in the Senate say the system is corrupt and they have announced that they will hold a hearing to investigate public financing abuses in the NYC. NYC Campaign Finance Board Director of External Affairs Eric Friedman takes issue with their allegations and joined us for an interview defending the system.

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The Insiders

Bruce Gyory and Bob Bellafiore debate Governor Cuomo’s new strategy of withholding bill language, and the infamous tweet by state Senator Greg Ball.

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UFC’s Lorenzo Fertitta Updates Us On His Push To Legalize MMA

A bill legalizing Mixed Martial Arts passed in the Senate last month and now the Assembly version of the bill has over 60 sponsors. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said it’s inevitable that the sport will be allowed in the state, what we don’t know is when. The Governor also said today that he would be open to MMA if it could benefit the state’s economy, and advocates are not giving up on the issue. One of those advocates is Ultimate Fighting Championship President and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta who spoke to Liz from the Capitol about the bill.

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Environmental Advocates Outline Earth Day Agenda

Today is the 43rd Earth Day and environmental advocates in New York have ideas they’d like to see put into place. We talk with Julia Walsh from Frack Action and Roger Downs from the Sierra Club.

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