Jun 6th - 5:45 pm
“I am stalking you.”
Rep. Anthony Weiner reportedly wrote that to a 26-year-old single mother in Texas, Megan Broussard, who exchanged suggestive photos with him.
“I’m not on a crusade to ‘take him down.’ I just acted to protect myself and my family,” Broussard wrote.
Weiner said he did not use a government BlackBerry to exchange inappropriate images and messages with women.
Ben Smith susses out Weiner’s re-election defense.
Weiner’s meltdown, good for Eliot Spitzer?
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (speaking before the congressman’s bombshell press conference) called Weiner a “very good friend.”
Andrew Breitbart planned to meet today with the (no longer) anonymous woman who sent him the latest pictures and emails from Weiner.
In case Hillary Clinton needs a post-cabinet gig: Roger Ailes is interested.
Sen. Greg Ball wants the governor to reconsider his temporary withdrawal from the Secure Communities program.
Rep. Nan Hayworth is raising campaign cash at Delmonico’s.
Assemblyman Mark Schroeder appears to have been banished.
There’s an ethics deal, but still no bill. (Tomorrow, according to the governor).
David Grandeau says the JCOPE’s members matter more than the legislation creating the commission.
Ex-LG Richard Ravitch, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, the Empire Center’s EJ McMahon and Economic Policy Institute’s Ross Eisenbrey will participate in a forum on public pensions Wednesday.
Katie Couric has officially signed with ABC.
Jun 6th - 3:31 pm
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’s opposition to the sunset on the Assembly’s version of the 2 percent cap on local property taxes isn’t ruffling Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
He said after the news conference on the ethics deal that tying the cap to expire alongside rent control for New York City — effectively wedding a downstate concern with an upstate issue — won’t hinder the passage.
“I think that’s the nature of our agreement in terms of rent and in terms of tax cap and it’s a good thing,” Silver said. “I think something that’s unique and new and we should turn around and look at the impact of what we’ve done.”
The tax cap agreement came even though legislators hadn’t agreed on a specific expiration date. At the time, Skelos said he agreed with everything but the sunset date.
But Silver, in denying that the deal had fallen apart, said the deal was still being worked through, but opened the door to the possibility that a cap won’t be approved
“Wemay have to make some changes, some numbers may change or the world may decide we don’t need a tax cap,” he said. ” don’t know if that deal is falling apart. We focused on the other aspect of that bill, which is rent and that’s where the momentum is right now.”
Skelos, for his part, remained confident that the negotiations would still result in a bill being passed.
“Frst of all, there have been no real discussions on the cap since we announced the agreement. We’ve been working on the ethics bill. I feel very strongly about the sunset for businesses who are looking to make decisions, to locate to stay in the state for families it’s critically important. And I’m also convinced that we’re going to work out whatever problems we have. That’s my position, we’re going to work it through.”
Jun 6th - 2:29 pm
2:53 p.m. Woah. Complicated. Governor tries to explain the JCOPE vote necessary to investigate a legislator. “You need to have two of the four of the quote unquote target party, which is roughly fifty percent; it is fifty percent.”
2:51 p.m. The governor says there are “constitutional” challenges regarding separation of powers in setting up the Joint Commission on Public Integrity, notes the Legislature has two houses and so gets eight members while executive gets only six. “What if the Republicans team up and attack the poor Democratic governor – not that that would ever happen! (legislative leaders shake their heads, murmur no, no, of course not – ….we think this balance does the best you can with those.”
“Imperfect science” of trying to balance conflicting needs…Governor says it’s “historic” (there’s that word again) that the executive and legislative branches are cooperating on an ethics watchdog entity.
2:48 p.m. Cuomo side-steps question about giving the AG’s office more powers to investigate corruption – something he sought when he was AG.
2:47 p.m. The governor reveals details of this bill were being worked out as recently as this morning…insists the bill could be out as early as tomorrow. There is a bill? “Yes. You can get it as soon as it comes out of drafting. We often announce agreements without a full written bill. You have a bill memo that’s quite extensive, and you’ll have a full bill – hopefully – tomorrow.” Refuses to release the draft. Transparency in action.
“I can give you numerous examples of what we didn’t agree to.” Cuomo says the bill is “finished” and “in drafting.”
2:45 p.m. Cuomo on the late Friday press release, jokes it was so lawmakers could have the weekend off, adding: “Sorry if we inconvenienced anyone” (in re: bad for the press).
2:44 p.m. Silver asked if he will have to change any business practices: “No. Not at all.” Cuomo on whether rank-and-file lawmakers will have to not seek re-election because of the new disclosure requirements: “Only one way to find out.”
2:43 p.m. The governor says nothing here is watered down, even though the value of meals has been clarified to let lawmakers accept minimal value food items and attend receptions: “To the extent we’ve clarified those things, I think it’s more intent with common sense, actually, but no, nothing was loosened.”
Jun 6th - 1:53 pm
A Hudson Valley newspaper is alleging Sen. Greg Ball’s office fabricated email addresses of constituents in order to send a laudatory letter to thed editor.
The constituent claims the letter was meant to be private and never for publication.
From The Lewisboro Ledger:
Dan Branda, the Republican senator’s deputy communications director, created an e-mail account in the name of a resident who had written the senator thanking him for helping her daughter. He then used that e-mail address to send the letter to the editors of The Ledger and other local publications to be printed.
But Robyn Fields of South Salem who wrote the letter on May 22 and her husband, Robert, said they sent that letter in private, never gave permission to have it sent to the press and the e-mail address The Ledger received it from was not theirs, despite it having Ms. Fields’ full name in the address.
“There was no reason why the senator’s office had to engage in such subterfuge by creating the false e-mail address and, thus, making it look like my wife sent a letter to The Ledger that, in reality, she did not send,” Mr. Fields told The Ledger.
The full story, which can be found here, is a little confusing, includes some back and forth between Ball’s office and the constituent, with both claiming the other is wrong.
UPDATE: The unedited letter in question, which was posted here, included personal information and so was taken down until it can be redacted. Thanks. Also, Ball’s office is insisting nothing untoward occurred here, and that his aide was merely trying to help a constituent.
Jun 6th - 1:03 pm
Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee Chairman and a key architect of George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, is in Albany today to lobby for same-sex marriage.
Mehlman, who came out as a gay man last year, said he was meeting with Republican senators who have not taken a public position on same-sex marriage.
He refused to say which GOP lawmakers he met with. However, Sens. Roy McDonald and Greg Ball have both said they are undecided. Sen. Jim Alesi has said he’s made up his mind, but won’t say how he’ll vote (check YNN’s gay-marriage vote tracker for more info).
Mehlman said he was making his same-sex marriage pitch to the legislators based on what he said were basica Republican principles of family values and fairness.
“It’s fairly clear there’s been a big change about how voters feel about this issue, especially a majority of independents,” he told reporters. “In terms of Republican values and interests, a party that stands for freedom, a party that stands for freedom and a party that stands for the gold rule ought to be supportive.”
He wouldn’t say whether he agreed with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to not introduce the bill in the Republican-led Senate unless the votes are available.
But Mehlman did say he was sure a measure would be placed before legislators by the end of the month (which, by the way, is rapidly approaching).
“I’m speaking as a New York resident who also has a long history in Republican politics. Again, I leave that to experts. I’m hopeful and confident there will be an up or down vote,” he said.
Jun 6th - 1:03 pm
Rep. Anthony Weiner’s office appears to be on lockdown in the wake of new reports of his exchanging of explicit on-line communications with a woman who is not his wife.
In case you’ve somehow been away from the computer for the last several hours and are just checking in, the developments are as follows:
Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, who sparked the whole Weinergate scandal last weekend by posting a photo of the congressman’s erect, underwear-clad sexual organ sent from his Twitter account to a Seattle college student, this morning announced he had a trove of new images and messages from another, (this time anonymous) woman.
He proceded to post several of these, including one of the (fully clothed) congressman with his two cats that featured a double entendre headline.
Subsequently, RadarOnline.com and Star magazine reported a woman (the same woman?) came forward with a transcript of a sexting exchange she had with Weiner. She says she has some 200 sexually explicit Facebook messages from him that originated from an account he no longer uses.
The woman said she and Weiner engaged in a 30-minute phone sex session. It appears he placed the call from his congressional office.
I’m still waiting word from Weiner’s spokesman – along with everyone else under the sun.
Jun 6th - 12:46 pm
At CapTon’s request, Assemblyman Sam Hoyt forwarded the 2011 invite to his annual clam bake fundraiser, an event for which the Buffalo Democrat and his staff go all-out in the creativity department.
As usual, the invite is a riff on a summer blockbuster – in this case, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – featuring Hoyt in the title role. There’s also a list of Top 10 reasons to “join Sam’s voyage”, which include tweaks at the GOP Erie County executive, Chris Collins, who’s seeking re-election this year; and perennial NY-26 candidate Jack Davis.
My favorite: No 2, which highlights one of the stranger stories to come out of Albany so far this year (and that’s saying a lot).
Jun 6th - 12:01 pm
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders are scheduled to formally unveil the ethics deal announced via press release last Friday at a Red Room press conference at 2:15 p.m.
That seems to indicate the framework deal held over the weekend, which was, of course, the main reason why the governor was willing to go the late Friday afternoon press release route rather than waiting for today when all the players would be back in Albany.
Apparently, the governor had good reason to be worried. Consider the following comments by Sen. Jim Alesi, who chatted with a YNN Rochester reporter over the weekend:
What’s been holding it up is whether attorneys have to disclose who their clients are and what buffers might exist between an attorney and his law firm, or her law firm with clients that the firm represents but that particular member of the Legislature attorney doesn’t have a direct relationship to. All of those things will be resolved at some point. I expect that even though there’s an agreement there might be a little more tweaking.”
Alesi did say he would be willing to vote for the bill (whenever one shows up) even if it’s not “tweaked”. He also praised the governor for showing “tremendous leadership throughout the year.”
In the second half of this interview, Alesi discusses being under intense “pressure” for being the first person in the chamber to cast a vote on controversial issues like gay marriage.
We’ve been hearing that there might be some highly choreographed behind-the-scenes efforts to micromanage the vote and avoid what happened in 2009. But that’s just talk right now. There’s no firm word about when – and if – a bill will actually come to the floor for a vote.
Jun 6th - 11:49 am
Former President Bill Clinton is again auctioning himself off to help a “special special woman in my life” – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – retire her 2009 campaign debt.
“As you may know, Hillary’s campaign is close to paying off the last of her debt, but she still needs our help,” Bill Clinton wrote in an email.
“Will you consider making a contribution to her campaign? If you enter by Tuesday, June 14, 2011, you and a friend will have the chance to fly to New York to spend a day with me…Your support is invaluable to Hillary and to me.”
“Hillary would not be where she is today without friends like you and without your support and dedication. Thank you for being a friend of Hillary’s throughout the years. I look forward to the chance to meet you!”
This isn’t the first time the former US senator/presidential contender’s husband stepped in to assist her raise cash (which she is barred from doing herself due to her position in the Obama cabinet). He did the “spend the day in NYC with me” thing earlier this year, too.
According to the April quarterly report filed with the FEC, Hillary Clinton for President still owes Penn Schoen & Berland Associates $329,010.
Jun 6th - 11:47 am
David Grandeau, the former executive director of the defunct Temporary Commission on Lobbying, said it’s difficult to comment on the ethics overhaul announcement without any details.
But Grandeau, a fierce critic of the successor organization Commission on Public Integrity, said he liked what he saw so far of the proposed Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which would replace the CPI.
“The basic question is, how do you comment on something when you don’t have a bill, so we’re commenting on the press release right now,” he said.
As of right now, there’s no formal bill language that’s been introduced. Officials said the bill language will be available by the planned 2:15 news conference with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders.
“But at the end of the day, to the extent that what results from this press release gets rid of the Public Integrity Commission, we have an opportunity for new people, I think we’re making a huge step ahead,” he said.
Grandeau also said governor receiving fewer appointees to JCOPE than the Legislature is not a problem.
“It’s going to be the picks. If you have six good picks, it’s better than Spitzer’s seven bad picks, isn’t it? So let’s judge this governor on who those picks are and what those picks are.”