Weinergate?

Conservative bloggers are having a field day at the expense of uber-liberal Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is claiming that someone hacked his Twitter account and send a (headless) picture of a man in his underwear sporting an erection to a woman who is not the congressman’s wife.

Weiner, a prolific Tweeter known for his inventive use of hashtags, married Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the summer of 2010.

Gawker – the site responsible for breaking the Craigslist scandal that tanked former GOP Rep. Chris Lee – has the timeline of the inappropriate Tweet, which was first reported by Andrew Breitbart.

The woman to whom the picture was sent has since deleted both her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Very odd.

The photo was sent in the midst of some very mundane Tweeting by the congressman about hockey and Tivo.

Shortly before 1 a.m. this morning, Weiner Tweeted: “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next? #TheToasterIsVeryLoyal.”

Hours later, he added this: “Touche Prof Moriarity. More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!.”

Weiner, a (usually?) savvy user of social media, has run one unsuccessful NYC mayoral campaign (in 2005, he bowed out to avoid a runoff for the Democratic nomination), took a pass on the 2009 race and is eyeing 2013.

Holiday Weekend Open Thread

Stay safe out there. We’ll be checking in from time to time. Have fun. – LB

Extras

An early Extras to get your three-day weekend started. We’ll be checking in – particularly tomorrow, when Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to deliver the commencement at Cornell University. Lots of things to ask the former NYC Mayor. In the meantime, some pre-Memorial Day headlines:

Be safe out there.

Rasmussen shows both Gov. Chris Christie (who’s not running) and Mitt Romney (who is) within single digits of President Obama in NJ.

Romney has a sense of humor.

Giuliani’s leading the GOP field in a new CNN poll.

Texas Gov Rick Perry is reconsidering 2012.

NARAL Por-Choice NY’s loss is Mayor Bloomberg’s gain.

Bloomberg’s interview with BBC World News America is airing on PBS Channel 13 at 5:30 p.m. this afternoon. (No link).

Assemblyman Mark Schroeder landed the Conservative Party line for his Buffalo comptroller bid.

Meghan McCain admires Rep. Anthony Weiner for his ability to land a “hot” wife. (Huma Abedin).

Jim Geraghty thinks Rep. Tim Bishop could be in trouble – again.

An arrest in the CityTime scandal.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell thinks taking Medicare off the table is “silly talk”.

Romney refused to say whether he would sign Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, but supports its goals.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants the USS Slater to get landmark status.

Defending Chris Ward

Following The Post’s report this morning that Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to axe Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward, despite the fact that he’s widely credited with jump-starting the long-delayed construction at Ground Zero, the NY League of Conservation Voters and Transporation Advocates released a statement this afternoon praising his leadership.

TA’s Paul Steely White called Ward “an innovative and effective public servant”, while the NYLCV’s Marcia Bystryn deemed him “talented and forward-thinking”.

I’m not sure that’s going to be enough to save Ward, one of two high-profile David Paterson appointees Cuomo decided to retain after he took office in January (the other is MTA Chairman Jay Walder), but it demonstrates that he doesn’t intend to go down without putting up something of a fight.

I’ve never heard anything but praise for Ward, who generally eschews politics for a sort of no-nonsense, get-things-done approach. (Prior to joining the Paterson administration, he was managing director of the General Conctractors ASsociation of NY). A Cuomo source informed the Post that changing leadership at the Port Authority was always in the cards.

Advocates Praise Port Authority Director Chris Ward

Cuomo Releases Unredacted Disclosure Form

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today released his unredacted financial disclosure form, showing at least $165,000 in investments and at least $255,000 in long-term investment trusts.

Cuomo’s report lists two long-term funds: his federal pension, which has a range of $5,000 to $20,000 and an AMG National Trust Bank fund, which is listed in the $250,000 and over category.

He also reported less than $5,000 in investment earnings from JP Morgan Chase, between $60,000 and $100,000 from AMG National Trust.

State law requires that public officials and candidates for office only provide ranges on their investments and income.

The report, largley unchanged from the previous year, comes after The Daily News Thursday reported that Cuomo had refused to release his unredacted financial disclosure form. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has released an unredacted copy of his dislcosure form. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, has not.

The governor also released his tax returns in April, showing earnings of more than $200,000, including $57,000 in investment returns and his $143,870 from his job as attorney general.

Cuomo is trying to drum up support for tighter ethics requirements for the Legislature. Though the bill is yet to be introduced, Cuomo has said he wants lawmakers to reveal more information about their outside incomes — and whether any of their clients have business before the state.

The Grizzly That Roared

…and then hit the road.

SarahPAC posted this video today that shows the bus being readied for her “One Nation Tour” up through the Northeast this holiday weekend.

She’s kicking off the tour Sunday in Washington, D.C. (at the Rolling Thunder rally, although it’s unclear how she was invited to participate and she won’t be endorsed there) and will stop at various historic sites (Gettysburg, Liberty Bell etc.) and “patriotic events” along the way.

UFT Held $38K Fete At Crowne Plaza

The United Federation of Teachers spent $38,269 on a March 10 banquet at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Albany, according to lobbying data recently posted on the Commission on Public Integrity website.

The UFT, which represents teachers in New York City, spent an additional $25,000 that day for a tour bus to Albany and more than $5,000 on catering.

A union spokesman said the banquet was for the annual lobby day of 1,500 teachers who traveled to Albany.

“We provided lunch for everyone who made the trip on lobby day,” said spokesman Dick Riley.

All told the union reported spending more than $219,000 on lobbying activities before state government between March and April, the height of the state budget battle, according to its most recent filing with the state.

The money was spent as the Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were considering amending teacher layoff rules for the controversial policy of known as “last in, first out” that favors employees with tenure.

And the banquet was held less than a month before the state budget agreement slashed $600 million in education aid for the city. Bloomberg on May 7 announced that his budget would cut 6,000 teaching positions.

Finances at the UFT came under scrutiny earlier this year when The New York Post reported back in February that employees and executives at the union were found to be making in excess of six figures.

DiNapoli: High Gas Prices Could Slow Recovery

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is warning that high gas prices could slow the nascent economic recovery and has touched nearly every aspect of the economy — from transportation, commerce and government services.

“The sprouts of economic growth we’ve seen recently may be mowed down by high energy costs,” said DiNapoli in a statement. “It’s costing a lot more to fill up your tank, and price hikes for oil and gas also mean more expensive food and rising heating costs. If the current upward trend holds, it’s also going to cost more to run basic government services like the MTA. All this could put another chill on the economy just as it’s starting to thaw. If we need another reminder, here it is: we need to find alternatives to the expensive, pollution-heavy fossil fuel energy we rely on.”

The report found that the cost of driving a car in New York was $1,646 between April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011, or $288 more than it was during the previous 12 months.

The report comes as the Assembly declined to take up the proposed gas-tax holiday, which would have suspended the state’s trio of gasoline taxes for the summer holidays of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. The measure was approve in the Senate earlier this week.

Energy Rpt3 2012

‘Gay Cousin Michael’ Pressures Senator

YNN caught up with self-described “gay cousin Michael (Libous)”, who wrote an open letter to Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous, questioning his decision to co-sponsor a bill that would cease to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside New York.

“I can only assume that some of your constituents may have persuaded you to vote against gay marriage previously,” Michael Libous wrote on a Binghamton Website.

“But I am perplexed as to why you would LEAD the charge with a bill to suffocate the civil rights of many of your constituents and family members (me) while so many other states are embracing equality. WOW!”

“I remember how our parents – and sitto and jiddo (what we called our Lebanese grandparents) – struggled to overcome the feelings of not being adequate enough, American enough, or educated enough to be successful in Binghamton. And yet they held their heads high, overcoming social prejudice in order to ensure a more level playing field from which their families could grow.”

“These are the experiences that homosexuals have on a daily basis as they struggle to succeed against all odds – the experiences of the freedom riders, Rosa Parks, and the suffragettes. Your bill would deny same-sex couples basic legal rights regarding health care, property, family leave – and even adoption.”

Michael Libous said he holds no “hard feelings whatsoever” for his cousin and called him a “wonderful person”, but also said he felt distressed by the senator’s actions and had to speak out.

CapTon’s Nick Reisman caught up with Senator Libous at the Capitol on Wednesday and confirmed that he and “gay cousin Michael” are indeed related. Libous didn’t want to comment on the record.

Litmus Test For Teamsters?

Perhaps two can play at that game.

ICYMI: Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd suggested during a CapTon interview last night that the Conservative Party might not be the only political player in town when it comes to holding candidates seeking an endorsement accountable on gay marriage.

Floyd appeared Wednesday with fellow labor leaders outside City Hall in Lower Manhattan to proclaim his organization’s support for the coordinated campaign pushing the Senate to allow same-sex couples to legally wed in New York.

I asked him last night if the Teamsters might – just like the Conservatives – establish a marriage litmus test for candidates seeking their nod in future elections. He replied:

“Well, these days when unions are tested, and we’re being tested all over the country, and when we pick an issue and we’re going to say: This is our issue…We are going to put it to a litmus test because people have put us to the litmus test. So we’ve attached ourselves to this issue, and we plan on seeing this through.”

Unlike the Conservative Party, unions don’t control a ballot line that might make a difference in close Senate elections. But they do provide political support – from call banks to canvassing – that is valuable to candidates battling it out in tight campaigns.

Unions are also often, but not always, allied with Democratic candidates in NY, although that wasn’t the case back when Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was in office and forged relationships with top labor leaders – particularly SEIU 1199′s Dennis Rivera.