Nick Reisman

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Cuomo Says He Pushes Mayors Statewide To ‘Do Something’

Asked Saturday about his feud with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted to reporters he is taking a broader view of pushing mayors statewide to “do something.”

The ongoing dispute between de Blasio and Cuomo has spilled now into the conditions at the New York City Housing Authority, which the governor is pushing the city administration to fix.

“I don’t believe it’s about giving speeches about values. I believe it’s about doing this about values,” Cuomo said before marching i the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“I push mayors all across the state to not just talk about issues, but to do something about them. That’s my job and that’s my legacy and that’s my personality.”

Cuomo has not had the same antagonistic relationship with mayors of, say, Buffalo or Rochester that he has had with de Blasio. Both men have been at odds with each other for the last several years.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, for instance, was picked by Cuomo to lead the state Democratic Committee.

De Blasio has viewed Cuomo has undermining his administration’s policy goals in Albany by aligning with a Republican-controlled state Senate. Cuomo views de Blasio as someone who has failed to push forward on actual accomplishments.

The feud has taken another twist this month after it was revealed public education advocate and actress Cynthia Nixon was discussing a potential primary campaign against Cuomo with political strategists who have worked with de Blasio.

Cuomo will likely seek to emphasize these differences even further should a primary progress.

“My administration is all about getting things done for people,” he said.

Email Evidence Allowed In Pigeon Case

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s case against western New York political operative scored a victory Friday after a state Supreme Court judge reversed a ruling that denied email evidence in the case last June.

In the ruling, Judge Donald Cerio vacated his own ruling from last year that found the emails were improperly obtained by investigators.

But Cerio determined that “upon further consideration” that evidence should be allowed at trial given the probable cause for search warrants to be issued to gain access to the documents.

At issue was the timing of search warrants for the emails and when Google could provide access to investigators to view the emails in question.

Pigeon is accused of nine felonies associated with allegedly bribing a state Supreme Court judge. The judge, John Michalek, has already pleaded guilty.

image2018-03-16-135404 (1) by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Cuomo Promotes Indivisible Rally For Early Voting

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continued to shore up his support from the left with an email from the state Democratic committee that promotes a rally with Empire State Indivisible, a group that arose after the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

The rally is scheduled for Sunday in New York City; it’s unclear from the email if Cuomo will attend the event.

“Republicans nationwide are attempting to restrict people’s ability to vote. We won’t allow it – with your help, we will modernize our antiquated system by bringing Early Voting to New York State, along with automatic and same-day voter registration and no-fault absentee ballots,” the email states.

“Take some time on Sunday to join our friends at Empire State Indivisible. If you can’t make it in person, give your State Senator a call and urge them to support Early Voting in New York State!”

Cuomo has proposed a range of good-government reforms in his budget plan that includes an early voting provision that so far has been blocked in the Republican-led Senate.

Cuomo has emphasized a number of issues and endorsements from the political left in recent weeks after news broke he may face a primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon.

Trichter Files To Run For Comptroller

comptrollerDemocratic operative Jonathan Trichter has filed to run for state comptroller, according to a posting on the Board of Elections website.

Trichter plans to seek the Republican line to challenge incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli, who first took office in 2007. Trichter has also not ruled out running against DiNapoli in a Democratic primary. He would have to seek and receive a Wilson-Pakula waiver to run on the GOP line.

Though Trichter is a registered Democrat who has worked for Eliot Spitzer, he’s also been an ally of Republican businessman Harry Wilson, the 2010 GOP nominee for comptroller.

Wilson bowed out of the race for governor at the start of the year.

Elton John Endorses Cuomo

British pop singer Sir Elton John and his husband David Furnish on Friday endorsed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election — the latest high-profile nod for a governor who does not face re-election for another eight months.

John and Furnish in a statement credited Cuomo for having “championed a progressive agenda that has included significant policy and legislative progress on affordable housing, public education reform, and women’s rights.”

Cuomo has worked within John’s political orbit before, attending and speaking at the singer’s AIDS Foundation gala last year. John himself is not an American citizen, much less a New York resident, making him ineligible to actually vote in the race for governor.

But the endorsement also comes amid a flurry of activity for Cuomo amid the potential primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon, a public education advocate and actress best known for her role in “Sex And The City.”

Cuomo has announced in recent days endorsements from a range of figures, including the National Organization for Women – New York, as well as former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has also urged Nixon not to run.

A subplot to these endorsements has been Cuomo’s reminder that he successfully pushed for the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2011, a development that spurred President Obama to change his mind publicly on the issue. Five years later, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages nationally.

Cuomo has also put in an appearance this week at a student walkout protesting gun violence and pushing for new gun control measures.

Faso Fundraises Off Cuomo Feud

Republican Rep. John Faso’s re-election campaign on Friday released a fundraising email with the freshman lawmaker’s feud as a hook for donating money.

Cuomo and Faso have been trading barbed criticism over the last several weeks following the passage of the December tax legislation. As a possible workaround to a cap on state and local tax deductions, Cuomo wants to create a charitable deduction vehicle for New Yorkers to deduct their taxes when paying above the $10,000 limit.

Faso wrote to the IRS to check if the process would withstand legal scrutiny. Cuomo blasted the request.

In the fundraising email, Faso’s campaign said Cuomo threw “a childish tantrum” that denigrated his office.

“Will you help me fight back against Cuomo’s juvenile behavior? Donate $50, $25, or $10 now!” the email states. “We can’t allow the governor to embarrass New York in this way.”

Faso’s response went even further on Thursday when he compared the current governor’s behavior unfavorably to that of his father, the late former Gov. Mario Cuomo — touching off a sore spot for the younger Cuomo.

Republicans seeking donations in response to their feud with the governor is not novel. Rep. Chris Collins has done this, as has Rep. Tom Reed earlier on Friday as well after the state Democratic committee launched an ad campaign knocking his opposition to new gun control measures.

“This week we learned that Governor Cuomo is launching a six-figure attack on us because of our support for the Second Amendment,” the Reed email states. “The Governor is showing once again that he is completely out of touch with our tradition of lawful, legal gun ownership here in the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and Western New York.”

Louise Slaughter Dies At 88

Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, one of the most powerful and prominent members of Congress from upstate New York, has died at the age of 88, her office announced Friday morning.

She died at George Washington University following a fall at her residence in Washington, D.C. last week.

Her chief of staff, Liam Fitzsimmons, said in a statement that to have known Slaughter “is to have known a force of nature.”

“She was a relentless advocate for Western New York whose visionary leadership brought infrastructure upgrades, technology and research investments, and two federal manufacturing institutes to Rochester that will transform the local economy for generations to come,” he said. “As the first chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, Louise blazed a path that many women continue to follow. It is difficult to find a segment of society that Louise didn’t help shape over the course of more than thirty years in Congress, from health care to genetic nondiscrimination to historic ethics reforms. The Slaughter family is incredibly grateful for all the support during this difficult time. Details on funeral arrangements will be provided when they are available.”

Her death drew bipartisan mourning, including from Monroe County Republican Chairman Bill Reilich.

“At this difficult time, I want to first and foremost express my deepest condolences to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter’s family,” he said. “She has long served her constituents with strength and passion and as a senior member in Congress is responsible for many initiatives and has secured both funding and support for many critical issues.”

Republican Rep. Tom Reed also offered his condolences.

“She has long served her constituents with strength and passion and as a senior member in Congress is responsible for many initiatives and has secured both funding and support for many critical issues,” said Reed, who represents a neighboring upstate district.

Democratic Assemblyman Joe Morelle, a former county Democratic chairman, said the country is mourning Slaughter’s death as well.

“For nearly 50 years, Louise Slaughter was a tireless advocate for our community and one of our nation’s most fearless champions for fairness, equality, and justice. Her work and legacy will forever be an inspiration to me and I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to call her my friend and partner in public service,” he said.

Progressive Dems Question NRA Ads

From the Morning Memo:

A coalition of progressive Democrats are criticizing TV ads released by the state committee that knock House Republicans over gun control over concerns the spots are a stealth campaign commercial for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

State Committee Executive Director Geoff Berman in response insisted the ads are being misconstrued. But the incident highlights what could be a growing rift within the committee that in recent months has elected Zephyr Teachout, a critic of the governor’s who challenged him in a 2014 primary.

Teachout was one of the committee members who signed onto the letter.

The ads released this week take Republicans task for the lack of new gun control legislation in the wake of a high school shooting in Florida, airing in GOP-held House districts.

But in a letter to Berman, the Democratic committee members questioned the effectiveness of the ad given its intent to criticize Republicans on gun control.

“The ad buy is not targeted to a region in which there are close swing districts, nor does it mention any Republican by name,” the letter states. “It appears to be a re-election ad.”

The committee members called for the next committee meeting to discuss ad spending, proposing a ban on communications prior to endorsements being made and asked that “focus resources” on the state Senate, narrowly controlled by Republicans.

In a response released by Berman (and made available on Twitter, where else?), the state executive director writes that the ad campaign is meant to be part of a weeks-long campaign meant to highlight the gun control issue, which has been a key issue for the governor, and “holding them accountable” on passing new legislation.

“It draws a contrast between Democrats (exemplified by the proposed Cuomo gun safety legislation) and the NY GOP with their NRA A-ratings and NRA obstructionist record.”

Berman also notes Cuomo’s re-election campaign “made a sizable donation” to the state party to help cover such efforts.

The questions surrounding the ads come as Cuomo could face a competitive primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon, an actress and public education advocate.

But Cuomo has also made it a point this election cycle to flip House seats held in competitive districts by Republicans, viewing Reps. John Faso and Claudia Tenney as especially vulnerable this year.

Cuomo, Faso Trade Jabs Over SALT, Mario Cuomo’s Legacy Invoked

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rep. John Faso traded barbed comments over efforts to circumvent a $10,000 federal limit on state and local tax deductions, a debate that grew acidic with a reference to the governor’s late father.

The fight largely stems from a Cuomo-backed proposal that would create charitable vehicles that would allow New Yorkers to deduct some of their local tax burden. The move is an untested one and Faso wrote earlier this month to the Internal Revenue Service to determine if the provision would be legal.

Cuomo this morning released a letter to Faso chastising the Republican lawmaker’s request to the IRS, accusing him of politicizing the agency.

“First, I don’t know how you could be seeking an IRS opinion when New York State has not even passed a law on which they could opine,” Cuomo wrote in the letter to Faso.

“Second, I don’t know why you would be trying to sabotage the State Legislature’s efforts to undo the damage you have done to New York State taxpayers. This is not a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans will pay higher taxes due to the Federal tax bill. Our attempt to negate the ramifications of the Republican Tax Bill would help all. Your hyper-partisan activities are to the detriment of your own constituents. Seeking to engage the IRS in preemptory opinions smacks of politicization of the Internal Revenue Service. You and your colleagues have accused President Obama of politicizing the Internal Revenue Service, and now you and your colleagues are seeking to do just that.”

Faso in a letter released later in the afternoon accused Cuomo of making “hyper-partisan attacks” on the tax law, which Faso actually voted against.

And Faso compared the current governor unfavorably to his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.

“While Mario Cuomo certainly was a vigorous political combatant, he always conducted himself in a way which was compatible with his office,” Faso wrote. “Although I had many disagreements with him, Mario Cuomo was at his core, a man of principle and honor. You, on the other hand, sir, are no such man.”

These are fighting words. Cuomo holds his father and his legacy in a sacrosanct state, making the kicker of the letter a real punch to the solar plexus and will do little to advance either man’s relationship (part of this bad blood may stem from way back in 2010, when then-Attorney General Cuomo settled with the lobbying firm Faso worked for as part of a major pay-to-play pension fund scandal).

Cuomo included the SALT workarounds as part of his $168 billion budget plan that is expected to pass by March 29. Republicans in the state Senate are skeptical it can be agreed to by the end of this month.

GAMC Letter to Faso by Nick Reisman on Scribd

18.03.15 Full Letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Republicans Protest Parole Of Herman Bell

Republican state and city lawmakers on Thursday protested the parole of Herman Bell, who was one of three men convicted of killing two police officers in 1971.

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan called on the parole board members who supported Bell’s released to be removed.

“What message does this indefensible release send to the victims’ families or to our brave law enforcement officials across the state that an individual could commit such a heinous act and still be set free to live and breathe with other New Yorkers?” Flanagan said in a statement.

“Herman Bell is a callous and depraved cop-killer who took the lives of two police officers just because they wore the uniform. He has forfeited his ability to live outside of the four walls of a prison cell. The members of the Parole Board who made this decision should be removed immediately.”

Supporters of Bell’s release from prison note his age at the time of the crime and his record of good behavior while serving time in prison. He has also expressed remorse for the crime after maintaining his innocence.

Still, Republicans and law enforcement officials decried the move. Sen. John DeFrancisco, a Republican candidate for governor, called it “utter insanity.”

“What we are seeing in this awful decision is progressivism gone mad,” he said. “Bell’s victims remain in the ground; their families continue to grieve, and Bell will walk free.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who like DeFrancisco is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, also criticized the parole board’s decision.

“The decision by Governor Cuomo’s Parole Board is a travesty of justice and a bitter insult to the law enforcement community,” he said. “If it was my Parole Board, I would ask for their resignations – today.”

Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, meanwhile, called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to rescind the parole board’s decision.

“Up until now, Herman Bell had absolutely no remorse for killing two police officers,” Long said. “In fact, after his 6th denial of parole, he sued for his freedom — because he was a changed man who played the flute.”