May 27th - 2:46 pm
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.
May 27th - 1:39 pm
…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.
May 27th - 12:43 pm
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.
May 27th - 11:57 am
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.
May 27th - 11:36 am
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.
May 27th - 8:44 am
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.
May 27th - 8:14 am
Posted by Liz Benjamin in [...]
Happy just-about Memorial Day weekend!
The state is launching a Website to help the public track Medicaid spending.
The teachers union can go ahead and sue over the new evaluation regulations, the governor said.
Sen. Roy McDonald is on the target list for advocates hoping to push gay marriage through the Senate.
Mayor Bloomberg’s big gay marriage speech didn’t address the fact that he wasn’t always in favor of letting same-sex couples wed.
“People are literally taking pictures of their families now and sending it in to their legislators with a letter so they can get a face of what this issue is really about,” said ESPA’s Ross Levi of the ongoing gay marriage lobbying effort.
The mayor spoke across the street from the site where Abraham Lincoln delivered a historic speech on slavery at the college more than 150 years ago.
Details are so far sparse on Rudy Giuliani’s latest trip to NH next week.
“You can’t look at the Republican field and say that there isn’t room,” a former aide to the ex-NYC mayor said.
Rep. Pete King, who floated the latest Giuliani trial balloon, says he might run if his good friend doesn’t.
This week’s City Hall winners & losers.
May 26th - 5:38 pm
Posted by Liz Benjamin in [...]
Sarah Palin is embarking on a nationwide bus tour.
Mayor Bloomberg’s address on gay marriage was “unusually personal…for a mayor known for dispassionate number crunching and policy analysis,” writes the NYTimes’ Michael Barbaro.
Maybe it’s because his niece is gay.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has so far refused to play the “show me yours, I’ll show you mine” game with his unredacted ethics disclosure.
NY-26, what NY-26? Tim Pawlenty finally buckled down and took a position on Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, saying he would into law if he were president.
The 18-year-old daughter of an Indian diplomat is making an odd demand in her lawsuit against the NYPD.
A former Village Voice intern is suing Bloomberg.
The Human Rights Campaign delivered a very early endorsement of President Obama’s re-election bid.
House Speaker John Boehner admitted Medicare played a part – but only a “small part”, mind you – in NY-26.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Medicare won’t be the only issue in 2012.
“I don’t like the guy and every time I get a chance to take a shot at him I do it,” Ken Langone on Eliot Spitzer.
Some gay Buffalonians pressure Sen. Mark Grisanti on gay marriage.
The Putnam County Democratic chairwoman stepped down and is running for a local office.
ROTC is returning to both Yale and Columbia.
Mark Zuckerberg brings eating local to a whole new level.
This picture is most definitely worth 1,000 words.
May 26th - 4:37 pm
The team that served as the architects of Assemblywoman Jane Corwin’s losing NY-26 campaign did not come cheap.
Chris Grant, who took a leave from his job as chief of staff to Erie County Executive Chris Collins to serve as Corwin’s campaign manager, received a $7,281.75 signing bonus from Corwin on March 21.
Grant subsequently was paid $2,235.91 on March 31; $3,291.62 on April 15; and $3,291.62 on April 29. His grant total through the last FEC filing: $16,100.90.
Michael Hook, a Lancaster native now based in Washington, D.C., is Collins’ long-time media consultant. He also worked on Corwin’s campaign, and he was paid a pretty penny to do so.
From March 15 through March 28, Hook was paid $486,026.99 by Corwin’s campaign. From April 4 through May 2 he received. $900,836.13. As the media consultant, Hook was responsible for buying air time, which is why those payments are so large. Still, a percentage of that is his cut.
Hook is now coming under fire by anonymous GOP leaders who are pointing fingers of blame at Collins’ team for mishandling Corwin’s campaign. Consider the following from The Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski’s report yesterday:
“‘Too slow,’” complained one GOP figure, perplexed that Hook had started the campaign with ads bashing Hochul rather than Jack Davis, the independent candidate whose presence on the Tea Party line threatened to steal votes from Corwin.”
“But another GOP strategist noted, ‘It’s a Republican district, so why you wouldn’t want to make it a straight [Democrat-Republican] race early on, I’ll never know.’”
“Corwin’s ads finally took aim at Davis in the last month of the campaign, after polls showed him with more than 20 percent of the potential vote.”
“By then, though, it was too late to eviscerate both Davis and Hochul without collateral damage to Corwin, who, polls showed, became less popular as her harshly negative ad campaign wore on.”
A post-special election FEC report is due out soon. At that point, we’ll get a clearer picture of just how much Corwin spent on her campaign. As of May 17, Corwin had invested close to $3 million in her (eventually unsuccessful) effort to win the seat vacated by her fellow Republican, ex-Rep. Chris Lee.
May 26th - 2:29 pm
The Real Rent Reform Campaign, a coalition of housing advocates in New York City, was denied a freedom of information request calling on Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to reveal any correspondence between his office, Housing Committee Chairwoman Cathy Young and New York City landlords.
“The public has the right to see the smoking gun connecting the landlords’ campaign money to the Republican Senate’s legislative action,” said Mary Tek, campaign manager for the Real Rent Reform campaign. “The same arrogance that allows them
to so brashly engage in pay-to-play politics is now causing them to snub their nose at the public and our need to know what is happening in Albany.”
Rent control laws are due to expire June 15. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, has linked the passage of a cap on property taxes outside of New York City to rent control; both measures are supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Skelos has said he supports extending rent control laws, but has been cool to the idea of expanding regulations. The point the rent folks are trying to make is a little moot: The Legislature is exempted from the state’s freedom of information laws.