Attorney General

Schneiderman Endorsed By Two PBAs

Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was endorsed Monday by a pair of law-enforcement unions.

Schneiderman, who is seeking a second term, received the nod from both the New York State Association of PBAs and the PBA of the City of New York.

The endorsements follow a TV ad from the AG’s campaign that highlight his office’s drug-enforcement efforts, playing up the criminal justice aspects of the post as he faces Republican John Cahill.

“Eric Schneiderman has consistently fought for the tools our members need to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said New York State Association of PBAs President Michael Palladino. “His Criminal Justice Bureau has stifled the spread of heroin and illegal guns, and his inVEST Partnership is securing hundreds of bulletproof vests for police departments in need. Eric Schneiderman knows how protect New York’s citizens as well as its officers.”

PBA of New York City President Patrick Lynch, meanwhile, praised Schneiderman in an endorsement letter for “proven track record and commitment to law enforcement.”

“I’m proud to have worked side by side with the members of the New York State Association of PBAs and the PBA of New York City over the last three and a half years, and I’m honored to have their endorsement today,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “Together we’ll continue the fight to keep the public and our men and women in uniform safe, and ensure equal justice for all New Yorkers.”

Cahill, meanwhile, seized on a report in The New York Post today that quoted gadfly, activist and comedian Randy Credico, who alleges Schneiderman used cocaine in the mid-2000s at a since-defunct New York City night club. The Schneiderman campaign has called the allegations “laughable.”

Gillibrand Emails For Schneiderman

AG Eric Schneiderman is getting a boost in the final weeks of the general election campaign from New York’s junior US senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who says a win by the Republicans next month would be “simply unacceptable.”

An email blast going out later this morning focuses on abortion rights – a wedge issue the Democratic candidates from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on down are again using to blast their GOP opponents in this Democrat-dominated state.

Gillibrand calls Schneiderman a “lifelong pro-choice advocate” and “the ONLY (her emphasis) candidate for Attorney General who represents the values of New York women, especially when it comes to reproductive rights.”

“As a public interest lawyer, Eric defended reproductive health clinic workers,” the senator wrote. “As a state senator, he led efforts to pass the Clinic Anti-Violence Act and a law requiring emergency contraception to be made available to victims of sexual assault.”

“As attorney general, he successfully fought to protect and expand buffer zones around health clinics so that families would be safe from intimidation and harassment.”

“And in response to the Supreme Court’s troubling Hobby Lobby ruling this year, Eric proposed the Reproductive Rights Disclosure Act to force employers to disclose to women if they plan to change their contraception coverage.”

“We need an attorney general who unequivocally supports a woman’s right to choose, and Eric is the only candidate in this race who meets that basic standard.”

Schneiderman’s Republican challenger, former Pataki administration official John Cahill, is a practicing Catholic who is personally opposed to abortion and has expressed opposition to the abortion rights plank of Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act.

But Cahill has also pledged to uphold the law regarding abortion if he’s elected attorney general on Nov. 4, as well as any other potentially controversial laws – including same-sex marriage.

Gillibrand’s email does not specifically mention Cahill by name.

League Of Conservation Voters Split Difference In AG’s Race

The League of Conservation Voters has endorsed both Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and his Republican opponent, John Cahill.

The group’s endorsements of both candidates come as Schneiderman also receives the nod from the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, an organization that’s been critical of Cahill.

Cahill, a former top aide to Gov. George Pataki, is a former commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Cahill has made a point in his campaign of playing up his record on the environment during the Pataki administration.

Schneiderman’s endorsement from the Sierra Club isn’t much of a surprise. The group has been pushing Cahill to release more information on his clients in the energy industry.

TV Ad #2 for Schneiderman: Pro-Cop, Anti-Crime

With just over two weeks remaining in the 2014 campaign, Democratic AG Eric Schneiderman is starting to ramp up his TV presence, cashing in on the air time he reserved months ago.

Schneiderman’s campaign today will release his second TV ad, which has a dual focus – his crime-fighting efforts, and his program to use cash from civil forfeiture funds to help purchase bulletproof vests for cops around the state.

Schneiderman started what he dubbed the “inVEST” program after the federal government cut funding over the past three years for bulletproof vest purchases by local police departments.

The AG pledged to dedicate some $3.5 million to the program, which reimburses local law enforcement agencies up to 50 percent of the cost of new vests. (The federal money also comes in the form of a matching funds).

The program has already helped purchase close to 8,000 vests, according to Schneiderman’s campaign.

The AG’s Republican opponent, former Pataki administration official John Cahill, has pledged to return a more law-and-order focus to the office if he’s elected on Nov. 4. Throughout the campaign, Cahill has accused Schneiderman of being insufficiently tough on crime – an accusation the AG’s campaign deemed “desperate.”

The Schneiderman campaign also likes to remind reporters that the AG has broad support from the law enforcement community, and has been endorsed by a variety of police unions across the state.

Cahill has the support of the State Troopers PBA, in part due to his opposition of the AG’s move to unseal documents about the 1971 Attica prison riot.

Recent public opinion polls have showed Cahill gaining on Schneiderman, though the AG continues to maintain a double-digit lead over his Republican rival. Schneiderman has a 25-to-1 cash advantage over Cahill.

That fact, coupled with the AG’s forward-thinking strategy of reserving $3 million worth of air time for the final weeks of the campaign, will enable him to blitz the airwaves and raise his name recognition just in time for Election Day in a way Cahill cannot.

Schneiderman’s new ad, which appears below, will run through Election Day. His first ad, called “One Set of Rules,” is still on the air, too.

Here’s the script of the new ad:

“Gridlock in Washington blocked funding for bulletproof vests for our police officers. As a New Yorker, I was outraged. As attorney general, I did something about it.

We’ve paid for bulletproof vests for close to 8,000 police officers across the state and funded it with money my office seized from drug gangs and criminals we’ve locked up.

Taking criminals off our streets and keeping our cops safe. There’s nothing more important.”

Slaughter, Higgins Endorse Schneiderman

Two western New York congressional members on Wednesday endorsed Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s re-election.

Schneiderman recevied the nods from Democratic Reps. Louise Slaughter and Brian Higgins, whose districts including the Rochester and Buffalo areas, respectively.

“Eric Schneiderman is the people’s lawyer, fighting for equal justice for all New Yorkers,” Higgins said in a statement. “From prosecuting debt collectors that took advantage of military personnel to securing the largest heroin bust in the Western New York history. New Yorkers can count on Eric to fight for them. I’m proud to support his re-election for Attorney General.”

Slaughter in her statement said Schneiderman has held officials in both Albany and Washington “accountable.”

“I’m proud to endorse Eric Schneiderman for re-election,” she said. “We must hold elected leaders in Albany and Washington accountable and Eric has been a key partner in that effort.”

Schneiderman faces Republican John Cahill next month for a second term.

Schneiderman To Be Endorsed By Teamsters

From the Morning Memo:

The Teamsters Joint Council 16 will announce later this morning its endorsement of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for a second term.

It’s not wholly surprising the incumbent Democrat would receive the backing of the organization, given its ties to the Working Families Party.

But with the endorsement comes important field and advertising infrastructure in the final weeks of the general election.

Schneiderman, who faces Republican John Cahill, will benefit from a coordinated operation from the labor group, including phone banks, canvassing and direct mail in effort to drive union members to the polls next month.

“I’m proud to endorse Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for re-election,” Joint Council 16 President George L. Miranda said in a statement. “Since he took office, he’s proven himself to be a tireless champion for working men and women. He has gone after unscrupulous employers who cheated their employees out of hard-earned wages, and to date he’s recovered more than $18 million for 14,000 workers and their families. He’s helped thousands of homeowners avoid foreclosure, and forced bad landlords to make repairs for tenants living in deplorable conditions. Eric makes sure everyone plays by the same rules, and we need him as our Attorney General.”

Business Council For Cahill, No Endorsement In Comptroller’s Race

As the New York State Business Council endorses Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor, the lobby group is backing the Republican challenger in the race for attorney general.

The Business Council endorsed on Wednesday John Cahill, the former top aide to Gov. George Pataki, over Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

“The office of Attorney General, through the Department of Law, has enforcement, regulatory and policy-making functions that can have significant impact on individual businesses and on industry sectors. Therefore, this election matters to business, and we are pleased to be making our first ever endorsement for the office of Attorney General,” said Business Council President Heather Briccetti.

The group cited Cahill’s support for hydrofracking, making changes to the state’s Scaffol Law as well as “reasonable state-level oversight” of the financial services industry.

Schneiderman, who is running for a second term, pushed for tougher settlement terms with large, mortgage-holding banks in the wake of the housing crisis and subsequent financial meltdown.

The AG also pushed to have banks not receive immunity from future prosecutions following a major, multi-state settlement.

A Quinnipiac University poll released this morning showed Schneiderman leading Cahill 46 percent to 34 percent.

The Business Council, meanwhile, is not expected to issue an endorsement in the race for state comptroller.

Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli is running for a second term against Republican Bob Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller, who is participating in a public financing system set up earlier this year that only impacts the comptroller’s race.

Schneiderman And Cahill To Debate Oct. 30

Time Warner Cable News and NY1 are pleased to announce that Democrat Eric Schneiderman and Republican John Cahill have agreed to a live, televised statewide debate in front of a live audience at Hilbert College in Hamburg, just outside Buffalo, on Thursday, Oct. 30th.

The hour-long debate will be moderated by Capital Tonight anchor Liz Benjamin, who will be joined by panelists Errol Louis of NY1, Bob McCarthy of the Buffalo News and Laura Nahmias of Capital New York.

The debate will be seen live across the state on Time Warner Cable News, NY1 and with Spanish translation on NY1 Noticias at 7pm. This debate will be open to the public. Ticketing information will be available next week.

Cahill: What About Our Debate?

The attorney general campaign of Republican John Cahill on Tuesday renewed its call for debates with Democratic incumbent Eric Schneiderman.

The call comes as debates are being — tentatively, in some cases — agreed to in the race for governor and comptroller.

“Whether it’s ducking debates, gutting public access, running from the press or burying his questionable tax history, Eric Schneiderman has established himself as one of ‎the least transparent AG in state history,” Cahill said in a statement.

The campaigns of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino have agreed to a televised debate in Buffalo with no date set.

In the race for comptroller, Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli and his GOP opponent Bob Antonacci will debate on Time Warner Cable News and NY1 on Oct. 15.

TWC News and NY1 have invited Cahill and Schneiderman to debate as well.

Meanwhile, Schneiderman’s campaign earlier today rolled out a high-profile endorsement from Robert Kennedy, Jr., the prominent environmental activist.

“Eric understands that the time to act on climate change is now. He has defended New York State’s right to prosecute polluters and pressured the federal government to update their standards for air pollution limits. He has also protected one of New York’s most precious natural resources by securing millions of dollars to improve water quality around the state,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I look forward to partnering with Eric over the next four years on this important work, and I’m proud to endorse him for re-election.”

Update: The Cahill campaign responds to the RFK Jr. quote, bringing up this rather unflattering story in The New York Post.

“Let’s call the RFK Jr. endorsement what it is—one male chauvinist with power backing another. A fact sloppily hidden behind Schneiderman’s shameless politicking is his complicit efforts to silence women who have been victims of sexual harassment in the State Capitol.”

Unshackle Upstate Backs Cahill

Unshackle Upstate has announced its first endorsement in a statewide race, backing Republican John Cahill in his bid to unseat Democratic state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Unshackle Upstate’s outgoing executive director Brian Sampson called Cahill a strong candidate with the vision and integrity to tackle the Albany-status quo and stand up for upstate communities, taxpayers and small businesses.

“John Cahill has the experience and character New Yorkers deserve from the State’s chief law enforcement officer,” Sampson said. “He understands that the Office of attorney general should be independent, just and fair to all New Yorkers.”

“For too long, the attorney general’s office has been a complicit contributor to New York’s reputation as the tax and regulation capital of the country. John Cahill will change that and we are proud to support him.”

This isn’t a big surprise, since Unshackle Upstate tends to support Republican candidates.

Last month, the organization released its 2014 legislative endorsements, backing 10 Senate candidates and 13 Assembly candidates – all but two of whom (Sen. Dave Valesky and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger) were Republicans, even though the organization touted its “bipartisan” list of supported candidates.

It’s unclear if Unshackle will pick a favorite in the governor’s race, or repeat its neutral stance of 2010.

The business community was pleased with Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo early in his tenure, applauding his spending and tax cuts. But the governor’s public pledge – as part of his endorsement deal with the WFP – to support a Democratic takeover of the state Senate has given many in the business world, including Sampson et al, pause.

In recent interviews, Sampson has sounded bullish about Cuomo’s GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, but so far, there has been no movement on a formal endorsement.

The state Business Council, which endorsed then-AG Cuomo for governor in 2010 – the first gubernatorial endorsement in its 30-year history – has also yet to endorse a candidate in this year’s race, and might very well remain neutral.

Both Cuomo and Astorino spoke to the Council at its annual meeting at The Sagamore in Bolton Landing last month.