Jul 25th - 4:34 pm
Goodbye Tony Hayward.
Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice didn’t vote for the first time until 2002.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky took a swipe at Rice, saying: “These were the Bush years, so thank goodness. This meant one less Republican vote during those years.”
Rice tried to turn the voting lapse to her advantage, saying she’s not a “career politician” who spent her life preparing to run for office. Maggie Haberman thinks that’s a risky strategy.
Rep. Charlie Rangel says he doesn’t want any “special breaks” in his trial on ethics charges.
Rangel worked for years to land the Ways & Means chairmanship, only to see it slip rapidly from his grasp.
The embattled congressman hit the streets of Harlem to shore up support among his constituents.
Kevin Powell tried to tie his primary opponent, Rep. Ed Towns, to Rangel.
Sen. Chuck Schumer is delaying judgment on Rangel.
This is not good news for Schumer.
Jul 24th - 8:09 am
You know the drill, readers. The general rules of engagement apply. I’ve got miles to do. Check you later.
Jul 24th - 8:08 am
Here’s the latest strategy session video by Rick Lazio’s campaign manager Kevin Fullington (a bit late; usually these come out on Fridays), which continues to hammer on the issue of the mosque proposed near Ground Zero and the GOP/Conservative candidate’s charge that AG Andrew Cuomo’s refusal to investigate it is a sign of “incompetence.”
The Laizo campaign has launched an on-line petition that calls on Cuomo to launch a probe into the Cordoba Initiative, which is the group behind the mosque, arguing that he has the right to do so because it is a charitable organization.
Fullington also talks about Cuomo’s RV tour, which he calls “bizarre for a number of reasons.”
“First of all, the fact that it’s in an RV is weird,” Fullington says. “I mean he’s been attorney general for four years, and, you know, he’s been holed up in his proverbial castle. And he finally decided to come down.”
“And you can imagine the scene. He came to what would be like his arch duke and said: All right, I want to go out and see the peasants! Get my chariot ready to go!”
“And someone said: But sire, the chariot is not the vehicle of choice these days. So he’s like: Fine! Get me my donkey!…He’s riding around in his RV and that’s supposed to connect him to the people. Well, Mr. Attorney General, the people of New York State are struggling, and no one’s cruising around in an RV. That’s kind of a weird thing to be doing. But that’s just my opinion.”
Fullington then throws one of Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, US Sen. Chuck Schumer, into the mix, noting the senior senator makes a point of visiting all 62 counties every year and wondering aloud how many of those the AG has been to. “It would be bizarre if he hadn’t been to all of them,” Fullington says.
Jul 24th - 7:54 am
Assemblyman Keith Wright, who holds the seat once occupied by Rep. Charlie Rangel, told me yesterday on “Capital Tonight” that he finds the timing of the ethics charges against the veteran Harlem Democrat “suspicious,” noting the probe into his finances, fundraising, apartments and travel has dragged on a long time in spite of repeated pledges by Speaker Nancy Pelosi it would be completed in a timely fashion.
Wright rejected my suggestion that the Democrats are somehow trying to wash their hands of Rangel in advance of the already-difficult midterm elections, even though I noted that the difficult votes for which all hands were needed on deck – like health care and financial regulatory reform – are now in the past.
I’ve got to say that I find the timing baffling, although the Times reports today negotiations have been ongoing to try settle this issue without a trial.
Certainly this could not come at a worse time for Rangel or his party. Since he refused to confess to any wrongdoing, this mess will reach its height just as voters start shaking off their summer haze and paying attention in advance of the primaries.
Rangel remains popular in his district, and likely will be re-elected in spite of his multiple primary challenges (he also has a GOP opponent, the Rev. Michael Faulkner). But whether he’ll get to keep the seat remains unclear.
The impact of his ethics mess is already being felt as members start to return his contributions, and one, Rep. Betty Sutton, of Ohio, has called for him to resign.
Wright told me he thinks anyone who wants to divest themselves of Rangel’s contributions should not give the money to charity, but instead return the cash to the embattled congressman to help cover his mounting legal bills.
Jul 23rd - 5:22 pm
Sherr-una Booker met with representatives from the Bronx DA’s office in what could be a prelude to an investigation into her domestic violence case against David Johnson.
Reshma Saujani is presenting at Netroots Nation tomorrow.
Harry Wilson will be in Buffalo Monday along with Erie County Executive Chris Collins (who just endorsed Carl Paladino for governor) to warn voters of a “DiNapoli tax.” (No link).
DiNapoli is being endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice NY.
Staten Island DA Dan Donovan is pledging not to seek higher office for two years after completing his tenure if he wins the AG’s race this fall.
Jonathan Tasini launched an on-line petition calling for Rep. Charlie Rangel to end his re-election bid. (202 people had signed when I last checked at 5 p.m.)
Here are the members of Rangel’s Committee to Fill Vacancies.
“I’m in the kitchen, and I’m not walking out,” Rangel said.
Noam Chomsky will participate (via video linkup) in this weekend’s National Peace Conference in the Capital Region.
Three former fundraisers for Gov. David Paterson have started their own firm.
The Fukien American Association, the largest Chinese fraternal organization in America, endorsed Sen. Eric Schneiderman for AG. (No link).
In the wake of a new report on TARP-funded bonuses, the state Democratic Party renewed its call for Rick Lazio to give back his JPMorgan bonus money.
The Senate Democrats’ political and government arms have a serious disconnect.
Dan Jacoby is not at all happy with the DSCC.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik Tweeted against the so-called Ground Zero mosque from jail.
New York has joined a 13-state coalition that is defending a new environmental regulation limiting greenhouse gases.
Jul 23rd - 4:56 pm
The idea of opening day at the Saratoga without former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, who used to represent the area, on hand is simply unfathomable.
He was so much a fixture there – and on the racing scene in general (recall that his horse breeding became an issue in his corruption trial) – that it became routine in late July and through August for him to hold press conferences on the grounds of the historic track.
Bruno has been keeping a very low profile of late, staying out of the public eye as the appeal of his conviction wends its way through the legal system in the way of the US Supreme Court’s honest services statute decision in June.
As it turns out, the ex-lawmaker did show up in the Spa City today. YNN’s Tim Ruffinen and Dan Keese caught up with Bruno, who made the briefest of remarks.
“In my personal life, I’m extremely pleased with what’s going on,” he said. “I have a great deal of faith in the justice system. And when it’s all said and done, we’re going to be fine.”
Jul 23rd - 2:56 pm
After reading my earlier post about state comptroller hopeful Harry Wilson’s loyalty to the state Independence Party, a reader with some deep knowledge of both the GOP and Long Island politics wrote in to note the following rendition of Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance, political-style.
Embattled state Indy Chair Frank MacKay’s wife, Kristin, is involved with a firm, Government Response Inc. (GRI), which has been in the news for the taxpayer-funded contracts it received and a controversial business loan provided by a failed NYC Council candidate (now the subject of an investigation by Staten Island Da Dan Donovan).
UPDATE1: Wilson spokesman Bill O’Reilly informs me that Manetta left GRI in 2005, adding:
“We hired him because he’s an expert on Long Island politics. He’s done dozens of races on the Island and he’s doing a great job for us. He’s handling all field operations in Nassau and Suffolk. Top notch consultant. Does great work.”
Jul 23rd - 2:32 pm
In case you missed it….here’s my interview from “Capital Tonight” yesterday in which state Budget Director Robert Megna walked back his previous statement about planning for public employee layoffs being right around the corner – as in: Next month.
Megna was reluctant to even discuss layoffs, saying the administration wants to wait and see how the latest round of retirement incentives is received in hopes of reaching the $250 million in workforce savings included in the budget.
However, he did allow that only two weeks remain before that savings needs to be realized. If it’s not, then layoffs would seem to be the only viable option, but one that won’t really be put into practice until the next governor takes office.
“Any layoff plan that we would consider – and again, we’re really not considering one until we see how the early retirement works out – would take time to implemen,” Megna said.
“So, if we were going to sit down and say: You know, we’re far short of our $250 million goal, we have to look at all other alternatives, we would have to start planning for that right away.”
“…Even this early retirement plan takes a long time to put into effect. Any kind of layoff plan if we were contemplating one would take months to put into effect as well…But I would say, right now, we haven’t gotten to that point yet.”
Jul 23rd - 2:04 pm
Here’s video (in two parts) of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s entire (rather odd) press conference held in Harlem earlier this afternoon, during which he said…well…not much.
The embattled congressman talked about how difficult it is for him to keep mum on the details of pretty much anything, but said he has been instructed by his attorneys not to discuss the ethics charges against him until they are made public next week.
“It’s almost like a boil that’s annoying,” Rangel said. “It’s hurtful, it’s harmful and we burst it on Thursday and then we can see what we have to work with.”
The most newsworthy moment to come out of this event was Rangel’s announcement that he had called MSNBC’s Luke Russert to apologize for “the way I treated him on TV” yesterday, berating the young newsman for asking a “dumb question.” He said the two had a “good conversation.”
Jul 23rd - 1:22 pm
Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson is standing by incumbent members of his conference who are facing primary challenges, including Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., who is the target of pro-gay marriage advocates this fall.
The outspoken senator sent out this invite to an upcoming fundraiser ($250 to $2,500 per person) that is being hosted for him by Sampson and his son, Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr.
Fight Back PAC, another entity created to bounce the eight Democrats who joined the Republicans in voting “no” on marriage last year, has also targeted Diaz Sr.