Nick Reisman

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Farrell Endorses Wright’s Bid To Replace Rangel

Manhattan Democratic Assemblyman Denny Farrell on Friday endorsed congressional hopeful and fellow Assembly lawmaker Keith Wright, who is seeking to replace longtime Rep. Charlie Rangel in a crowded Democratic primary.

“Keith Wright has been an essential voice for central Harlem for decades. His dogged advocacy and leadership is palpable throughout the community, and his partnership here in upper Manhattan and in the New York State Assembly has been invaluable,” Farrell said in a statement. “It is with great confidence and excitement that I support my friend, neighbor and long-time colleague to continue the legacy of inclusion and representation for Harlem residents in US Congress.”

Farrell’s endorsement of Wright coincides a day before state Sen. Bill Perkins announces his House campaign for the Harlem-based district on Saturday. Farrell is also a former top lieutenant to ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Both Farrell and Wright were potential replacements for Silver, who stepped down from post last year after he was arrested on corruption charges.

Instead, Wright quickly endorsed Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie — then the county Democratic chairman — virtually the same day he announced his run for speaker.

The endorsement roll out of Farrell, the chairman of the Assembly’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, was coupled with the backing of Councilwoman Inez Dickens, Harlem clergy members and the support from former Gov. David Paterson.

“Many pursue elected office as a life’s work, but few embrace public service as a life’s passion,” said Paterson, who is stepping down from the Democratic Committee’s chairmanship at the end of the month. “My dear friend Keith Wright is one of those few. I’ve served this community in many capacities, and I am fully confident that Keith has the expertise and compassion necessary to govern the tough issues. Keith’s candidacy for Congress is the correct next step in what has been a long life of selfless and exemplary commitment to serving others.”

Gillibrand, ASC Appear At Gun Trafficking Roundtable

gillibrandU.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, along with state Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins on Friday participated in a roundtable discussion to address how to crack down on gun trafficking.

The event, held in New Rochelle, also highlighted Gillibrand’s bill that would make gun trafficking a federal offense.

“I am proud to work with all the members of law enforcement, advocates, and community members who participated in today’s roundtable meeting and share the goal of cracking down on gun trafficking to keep illegal guns off our streets,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “I am not willing to throw my hands in the air and say nothing can be done while lives are being senselessly lost due to weapons being in the hands of criminals.”

The discussion also comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushes for federal action on gun control in the wake of the shooting death of administration lawyer Carey Gabay and the mass shooting this month at an Oregon community college. More >

Bruno Closes Campaign Accounts, Donates Most To Senate GOP (Updated)

brunoFormer Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno announced on Friday the bulk of his leftover campaign and legal defense fund cash — some $1.4 million — will be transferred to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.

Bruno announced in a press release sent out by his longtime spokesman John McArdle that he would close out the remainder of his campaign account as well as a legal defense fund formed to help him fight federal corruption charges, with most of the money going to help the GOP maintain control of the chamber.

An additional $100,000 from Bruno’s accounts will be donated to the Tech Valley High School Foundation, aiding a school the Rensselaer County Republican was instrumental in helping create.

Bruno in his statement said it was “more important than ever” that Republicans maintain control of the Senate in a state otherwise dominated by Democrats.

“As Republican leader it was my job to return Republicans to the Majority every two years to assure there was balance in a government dominated by Democrats,” Bruno said in a statement. “I strongly believe that preserve that balance and maintaining a Republican majority is more important than ever. That, unfortunately, will take a significant effort and it’s my hope these funds will help maintain a Republican majority that will continue to focus on creating jobs and economic growth, good schools and quality health care.”

For the Republicans, the help the money will bring can’t be understated in what is expected to be a challenging cycle.

The $1.4 million will swell the GOP coffers heading into an election year in which Republicans are defending a narrow majority in the chamber. The Republican effort to hold the Senate is even more complicated by the upcoming presidential race, when more Democratic voters come out to the polls, aiding down-ballot races. More >

Senate GOP To Dems: Don’t Mess With Orange County

FlanaganerAs Senate Democrats eye the Hudson Valley Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Bill Larkin as a potential pickup next year, Republicans on Friday morning responded: Don’t bother.

A statement from Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif belittled the Democratic plans — being telegraphed on Saturday in a planned keynote address to Orange County Democrats by Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins — as “odd and misguided.”

“The last time the Senate Democrats planted their flag it cost hardworking Orange County families dearly,” Reif said in the statement. “During their disastrous two-year stint in the majority in 2009-10 they raised taxes by a whopping $14 billion, instituted the job-killing MTA payroll tax on local schools and businesses, shifted school aid intended for Orange County to New York City, and took the STAR rebate checks away from seniors and homeowners who live there. Anyone who runs with the backing of the Senate Democrats will have to answer for that record.”

Democrats believe Larkin’s seat is vulnerable, however. Heading into an election year with a narrow majority, Republicans are expected to be defending suburban and upstate swing districts as more Democrats are due to come out to vote in a presidential election year.

Assemblyman James Skoufis is believed to be a potential candidate for the job. More >

Cuomo, Pushing National And International Issues, Still Focuses On de Blasio

cuomobridgeGov. Andrew Cuomo in recent weeks has focused on issues of national and international importance.

In the aftermath of an administration lawyer being gunned down in Brooklyn, and later a mass shooting at an Oregon community college, Cuomo stepped up his call for strong gun control legislation, saying it should be an issue in the 2016 elections and called on Democrats to get tougher on the issue.

In the past week, Cuomo has made two speeches on climate change, one at New York University and a second at Columbia, including an appearance with former Vice President Al Gore, who lauded the governor’s signing of a greenhouse gas compact between states, provinces and local governments.

But ask Cuomo about the ongoing snit between his administration and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office over funding the MTA’s next four-year capital plan, and the governor becomes especially animated.

Asked about the state of the talks over having the city kick in a larger share of funding following the Gore event at Columbia, the governor went on a nearly 12-minute stemwinder, with reporters only getting a few chances to interrupt the monologue to offer a counter question.

“We are not closer,” Cuomo said. “This let’s keep it simple, OK? I believe in the MTA, I believe in mass transit. We’re talking today about protecting the environment. Anybody will say if you want to protect the environment, the way to do it is utilization of mass transit.”

The behind-the-scenes hostilities between Cuomo and de Blasio — which had previously been seen in passive-aggressive public slights — erupted in July when the mayor publicly rebuked the governor for his handling of the city’s agenda in Albany, accusing him of siding with Senate Republicans over his own platform.

Since then, Cuomo has seemingly sought to out-maneuver the mayor every chance he gets on key issues, especially ones in which the greatest city in the world is, by law, a creature of the state.

“We want to continue to grow the economy in New York City,” Cuomo continued in the gaggle. “The answer is mass transit.” More >

Stewart-Cousins To Push Senate Dem Agenda In Orange County

ascFrom the Morning Memo:

Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will address the Orange County Democratic committee on Saturday as the conference looks to the Hudson Valley as key region in helping win back the majority.

Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, will address the Orange County Democratic committee’s annual gala, which will also be attended by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.

In her prepared remarks, Stewart-Cousins will make clear the conference will be planting a flag in the region as part of its strategy to win the majority.

“We are going to be here with you fighting to give you the Senate Democratic Majority that you deserve,” according to her prepared text. “A Democratic and Progressive majority that believes in your issues, a majority that believes in fighting for the working and middle class, a majority that believes in a real minimum wage increase so we can lift over 1 million people out of poverty — that believes in smart and targeted tax relief for the middle and working class.”

Democrats in particular are eyeing the seat held by longtime Republican Sen. Bill Larkin as a potential pickup opportunity.

Larkin, who is planning to run for another term, has been knocked by Democrats, who have tied him to the corruption scandal surrounding the former majority leader, Long Island Republican Dean Skelos.

Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis is expected to run for the seat. More >

Assembly To Discuss Ride-Share Services

From the Morning Memo:

The Democratic-led Assembly later this month will be hosting a series of roundtables on ridesharing and car-sharing services in New York state.

The events — which are planned for Oct. 19 in New York City and Oct. 21 in Albany — are expected to including the chamber’s committees on Insurance, Transportation, Cities and Local Governments.

The roundtable meetings come as elected officials are struggling with ways to regulate ride-share apps like Uber and Lyft, while others have sought to bring the popular services to upstate cities.

Efforts to create a statewide regulatory insurance framework for companies like Uber and Lyft have so far stalled in the Legislature. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio unsuccessfully sought a measure that Uber believed would have capped its growth.

Cuomo, With Gore, Pushes Action On Climate Change

cuomogoreAppearing with former Vice President Al Gore on Thursday at Columbia University, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged to make New York a leader on climate change initiatives, pushing a plan that says other states and Canada should follow.

“We can show the nation what is possible,” Cuomo said, pledging to “drive the national conversation” on the issue. “Let’s lead by example. It’s the only way to lead, it’s the New York way to lead.”

Cuomo joined California in signing on to the Under 2 MOU, an agreement between states, provinces and local governments across the world to cap the rising average temperature by the year 2100. The agreement requires the governments to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and New York already is pursuing a goal of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by mid-century.

At the same time, Cuomo is pushing solar power for a combined 150,000 homes and businesses by 2020, while also pursuing renewable energy at SUNY campuses that same eyar.

The state will work with other governments in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with determining how to link success carbon markets to cap emissions. More >

DiNapoli: ‘Positive Relationship’ With Bharara

bhararaComptroller Tom DiNapoli in a radio interview on Thursday described his relationship with the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office as “ongoing and positive” as the federal government investigates the contracting process for the “Buffalo Billion” economic development program.

DiNapoli wouldn’t say, however, whether he or his office has been issued a subpoena or turned over documents relating to Bharara’s investigation.

“I can’t comment directly on that question other than to say we have a very on going and positive relationship with Mr. Bharara’s office,” he said on Fred Dicker’s Talk-1300 radio show. “Certainly it’s a cooperative one. But I can’t comment without any specificity about those interactions.”

Bharara and DiNapoli were spotted last year breaking bread in lower Manhattan, a lunch that came after the federal prosecutor took possession of records generated by the Moreland Commission, an anti-corruption panel that folded earlier in 2014 following an agreement on ethics law changes in the state budget.

Attorney General Eric Schneideramn, along with DiNapoli, have also teamed up on various public integrity probes in recent years. More >

Schneiderman, NYC Campaign Finance Board Settle With Advance Group

schneiderman Consulting firm The Advance Group on Thursday received a $25,800 fine by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the New York City Campaign Finance Board joint investigation over the organization’s work during the 2013 elections in New York City.

The investigation by the AG’s office, along with the campaign finance board, found through its investigation that the Advance Group had worked for both city-based candidates as well as independent groups that had spending money to boost those candidates.

As per the terms of the settlement, none of the candidates who were clients of the group violated the law.

“New York voters deserve elections that are fair and free of coordination that distorts the democratic process,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The law preventing coordination between candidates and advocacy campaigns is clear. Today’s agreement sends a clear message that campaign coordination is unacceptable in New York City and state politics.”

City campaign finance law limits the amount of contributions a campaign may receive from a single contributor, and those laws also apply to money spent by outside parities that are working on behalf or opposition to individual campaigns.

Spending done without the cooperation of a campaign is considered “independent” but that activity can include authorizing, requesting or suggesting the campaigns work together. More >