Sep 28th - 8:03 pm
The Times is reporting former state Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who resigned in late 2006 after pleading guilty to a felony charge of misusing state resources in the so-called Chauffeurgate scandal, is poised to plead guilty to yet another felony corruption charge – this time in connection with AG Andrew Cuomo’s pay-to-play pension fund probe.
“Barring an 11th-hour change of heart, Mr. Hevesi will become the highest-ranking state official convicted in the case and most likely to serve time in prison,” the Times story states.
“…The pension investigation, conducted by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office, is one of the longest running in Albany and came to symbolize the ethically troubled culture of the capital. It focused on allegations that Mr. Hevesi’s friends, family and associates sold access to the state’s $125 billion pension fund, one of the world’s largest, to reward allies, pay back political favors and reap millions of dollars for themselves.”
“The deal comes as Mr. Cuomo, the Democratic nominee for governor, is seeking to burnish his credentials as a reformer who can clean up state government, and his office has been anxious to secure a plea from Mr. Hevesi.”
According to this report, Hevesi may have been motivated to plead to protect his sons – former Sen. Dan Hevesi and Assemblyman Andy Hevesi.
UPDATE1: The Post quotes a law enforcement source thusly: “There’s no deal. It’s close. Either there is a deal or it’s not done. And it’s not done.” In other words: There might be an announcement imminent, and, then again, there might not.
UPDATE2: Hmmm. Wonder who that source was…Here’s an official statement from the AG’s office: “There is no agreement between the Attorney General’s Office and Alan Hevesi; the Office has an ongoing investigation.”
Sep 28th - 7:26 pm
Chris Gibson lost his campaign manager.
Mayor Bloomberg’s doing the Letterman show tonight.
Bloomberg will be speaking to the House GOP on Thursday in Washington.
Andrew Cuomo will play a “major role” in helping the Senate Democrats retain the majority, according to Sen. Jeff Klein.
Sen. Tom Libous insisted: “Andrew Cuomo agrees with the Senate Republicans.”
Cuomo was greeted by some Paladino-supporting protestors (and a duck) in Buffalo.
Members of the NY congressional delegation aren’t on board with Ed Koch’s redistricting reform push.
Eliot Spitzer talked politics at the Appraisal Institute Metro NY chapter’s annual conference.
Hillary Clinton made the cover of the Christian Science Monitor.
Rick Lazio “desperately” doesn’t want to be a judge, and will resign if elected.
Rep. Steve Israel’s house is for sale.
The foreclosure sale of Stuy Town has been approved.
Jimmy Siegel wants a cut.
Andrew Giuliani is back on “Big Break”.
Former President Carter was hospitalized.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox knows from Rose Gardens.
Sep 28th - 6:01 pm
Here’s a brief taste of my interview today with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo, who made his CapTon debut (at least since I’ve been here, and for the current election cycle) from the Hancock International Airport in Syracuse.
Cuomo, who has emerged from his Rose Garden and is now hitting the stump with a vengeance (he did two extended TV sit-downs today, sandwiched in between an upstate campaign swing), condemned the dysfunction in state government in some of the harshest terms I’ve heard him use yet.
“I’ve been in the bowels of it for three years,” he told me. “I’ve been doing the cases – from the $500,000 school superintendents on Long Island, to Senator Pedro Espada, to the comptroller’s office, to Troopergate with Governor Spitzer and the abuse there.”
“So, I’ve been staring at the beast for three years, and to me it is disgusting, and also it’s tragic to me because I believe in the honor of state government.”
It’s interesting that Cuomo chose to use the word “disgusting”, because it’s one that his GOP opponent, Carl Paladino, has also employed to described what he alleges is the AG’s role in the mortgage crisis when he was serving as HUD secretary.
And just this week, Paladino said he finds the task of campaigning for governor “the most disgusting thing ever got myself involved with,” but added: “It’s a necessary evil so that I can do the real job.”
Sep 28th - 5:41 pm
The state Democratic Party responded to the Republicans’ new “more of the same” ad campaign with this little Web video, which reminds GOP and Conservative leaders how they used to feel about Carl Paladino – ‘lo those many moons ago before they embraced him as their gubernatorial standard-bearer.
“Up until Paladino won the primary, the chairmen of the Republican and Conservative Parties agreed that Paladino was ‘a dangerous candidate‘ and that his conduct ‘stands in stark contrast’ to bedrock New York values,” state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs said in a press release.
“They may have changed their official party line to save their political fiefdoms, but Paladino is as much of a train wreck as ever. As New Yorkers of all political stripes are starting to realize, Paladino’s extreme views don’t reflect our state’s values and would derail any chance for progress on the challenges we face.”
Sep 28th - 4:24 pm
The state GOP launched a new ad today that lambastes the one party Democratic rule in Albany and highlights a series of scandals on the other side of the aisle, ending up with gubernatorial nominee, who is cast as “more of the same.”
As Jimmy Vielkind astutely points out, the ad doesn’t mention anything about Republicans, other than the giant “GOP” emblazoned on the bus (with Tennessee plates) the party is using for its statewide tour.
So basically, this is an ABD (Anybody But Democrats) strategy, which worked pretty well for George Pataki in 1998 – except then it was ABC (Anybody but (Mario) Cuomo).
In a state where enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 5-to-3 and anti-incumbent sentiment is strong regardless of party affiliation, what choice do you have, really, other than to try to drag the other guy down?
The ad, unveiled by state GOP Chairman Ed Cox this afternoon during a press conference in Albany, will be running on cable television for two weeks.
Sep 28th - 4:17 pm
The DCCC got its hands on some video footage of Republican NY-24 candidate Richard Hanna praising his party’s gubernatorial nominee, Carl Paladino, and comparing him to New Jersey’s popular plainspoken governor, Chris Christie.
“People are noticing now that New York State is slowly dying,” Hanna says in what appears to be a candidate forum.
“Chris Christie in New Jersey, who’s a friend of mine, is there today not because people wanted him, but because people needed him. They needed somebody with character, who is willing to make them sacrifice, understood the problems, the urgency, and they’re willing to take it.”
“New York State’s answer to that is Carl Paladino.”
A recent Siena poll found Hanna trailing Arcuri by just eight percentage points, but 14 points behind him with independent voters, who could prove to be a crucial swing voting bloc.
Embracing Paladino at a time when Democrats are trying to brand him as an “extremist” and even some members of his own party – most notably state comptroller candidate Harry Wilson and AG hopeful Dan Donovan – are declining to support him seems like a bit of a risky strategy.
The enrollment breakdown in NY-24 is: 134,110 Democrats, 156,730 Republicans, 75,865 blanks and 19,956 Conservatives.
Hanna is running on the Republican Conservative and Independence lines, while Arcuri has the Democratic line and an independent line he created called NY Moderates. He lost the WFP line following his “no” vote on health care reform.
Sep 28th - 3:55 pm
The AP reports:
The House ethics committee has a partisan split over setting trial dates for two prominent Democrats, Charles Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California.
The five Republicans on the 10-member committee want a trial in October, weeks before the midterm elections. They said in a statement Tuesday that the chairman of the ethics committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, has been stalling.
By holding a trial after the elections, Democrats would avoid headlines that could make the party’s ethics record a campaign issue.
Rangel and Waters have asked the committee to hear their cases as soon as possible.
Sep 28th - 3:40 pm
Republican Lee Zeldin is out with a new TV ad that slams his Democratic target, Long Island Sen Brian Foley, for his “yes” votes on rescinding the STAR property tax rebate checks and instituting the MTA payroll tax – two key issues for suburban voters.
The ad, which is Zeldin’s second of this election cycle, will be running in what his campaign called a “heavy cable television schedule.” It comes on the heels of this morning’s Siena poll, which showed Zeldin and Foley tied at 44-43 with 13 percent of voters in the 3rd SD undecided.
“(Zeldin) How much has Brian Foley cost you and your family? Let me show you. Every chance Foley’s had he has taken more money out of your pocket.”
“As Senator, Brian Foley eliminated you STAR Rebate Check, created the MTA Payroll Tax on all businesses and increased fees on almost everything. Brian Foley: Higher taxes when your family can least afford it. I’m Lee Zeldin, and it’s time for new leadership for a better Long Island.”
Sep 28th - 3:24 pm
Some themes are starting to emerge in the newly accessibly Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo’s criticism of his GOP opponent, Carl Paladino, which the AG is now delivering himself instead of relying on surrogates to do the dirty work for him.
While insisting he’s not going to engage in “name-calling” and “gutter politics”, Cuomo is striving to highlight the differences between himself and Paladino – apparently calling someone an “extremist” isn’t stooping to their level, but merely commenting on their policy positions.
Cuomo is also shooting down Paladino’s proposal to drastically gut the state’s Medicaid spending by $20 billion, which he said today during an upstate swing would result in the closure of “literally hundreds and hundreds” of nursing homes and “dozens of hospitals,” adding: “You have to make sure what you’re doing is constructive and not destructive.”
(Experts interviewed by The Buffalo News said much the same thing, but also deemed Cuomo’s plan lacking).
Sep 28th - 2:33 pm
The New Era Democrats, a group that has endorsed Mayor Bloomberg in all three of his campaigns and has a history of backing Republicans, just announced its support of Staten Island DA Dan Donovan’s AG bid.
“The New Era Democrats endorses candidates who are best qualified to serve the people regardless of political party,” said NED founder Mary Sansone.
“Dan Donovan is an ethical and decent man who understands that the attorney general is elected to protect the citizenry of New York, not to persecute individuals or industries in order to achieve higher office. The people of New York need an attorney general who will do what’s right for them, not what is politically right for himself. I am proud to endorse Dan Donovan for attorney general.”
Bloomberg is, of course, Donovan’s biggest backer.
State Sen. Marty Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, was at one time a member of NED, which also has endorsed former Republican Gov. George Pataki and former Republican NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The group does actually back Democrats, too. In fact, prior to picking Donovan for AG, it supported Democrat Sean Coffey for the same post.
Coffey, of course, finished a distant third in the five-way Democratic AG primary on Sept. 14, well behind the winner – and Donovan’s general election opponent – Sen. Eric Schneiderman.