Jul 29th - 6:39 pm
With the clock ticking on Gov. David Paterson’s time in office, he’s starting to sound increasingly introspective about his short, yet jam-packed, term.
During an interview earlier today on WSYR’s The Jim Reith Show, Paterson admitted some of the mistakes he made after unexpectedly assuming office in March 2008 following ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s prostitution scandal.
“Where I blame myself is as a legislator,” the governor said. “I was here for 21 years, 20 of them had late budgets, and I think I got caught up in the idea that the budget has to be on time.”
“…What I (was) trying to do (was) to show people that there’s leadership – that this person can come in and pass a budget in two, three weeks.”
In retrospect, Paterson said, this approach turned out to be more of a show of weakness than strength.
Jul 29th - 6:00 pm
Hours before the unveiling of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s 13 ethics charges, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted the Democrats have made good on their promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington, D.C. corruption.
“We are now in the trial phase,” said House ethics committee memeber Rep. Mike McCaul as to why Rangel wasn’t able to cut a deal.
NY-1 contender Randy Altschuler added his voice to the GOP chorus calling for Rangel’s resignation. (No link).
A grand jury heard “sufficient evidence” to sustain most of the charges brought against Alan Hevesi’s former chief political advisor, Hank Morris, by AG Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo subpoenaed MetLife Inc. and Prudential Financial Inc. as part of a “major fraud investigation” into how life insurers make payouts to insurance beneficiaries.
Rep. Mike McMahon’s campaign provided The Observer with a list of “Jewish money” supposedly collected by his GOP challenger, Michael Grimm.
…Shortly thereafter, McMahon’s campaign spokeswoman sent an e-mail to reporters telling them to direct questions to his campaign manager, Jonathan Yedin, as of tomorrow. (No link).
Mayor Bloomberg called the House Democrats’ requirement of a two-thirds vote on the Zadroga 9/11 health care bill “an outrage.”
A state judge dismissed AEC’s lawsuit.
State GOP Chairman Ed Cox called the special session “an abomination.”
The RNC is trying to use Hillary Clinton against President Obama.
Former NYC Comptroller Liz Holtzman e-mailed for Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
Sen. Marty Golden’s campaign dropped challenges to the petitions of his first challenger in many years.
The Amsterdam News says it’s “understandable that many of New York’s citizens of color remain skeptical” of Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.
Sen. Bill Stachowski used UB 2020 to hit his GOP opponent, Assemblyman Jack Quinn.
Hillary Clinton’s hairdresser gets some ink.
Ex-President Clinton paid off a political debt.
Jul 29th - 4:37 pm
Here’s Rep. Charlie Rangel’s 32-page response to the 13 charges against him that were unveiled at a House ethics committee hearing earlier today.
Eleven different defenses are laid out in the response, about half of which covers the congressman’s solicitation of contributions to benefit the CCNY center that bears his name.
He insists that his efforts did not violate House rules, but admits that in “retrospect” the public would perhaps have been “better served” had he consulted the Standards Committee before he acted.
The congressman also says that if he “mistakenly used the wrong letterhead or other modest resources in this worthy cause, the error was made in good faith.”
Jul 29th - 4:17 pm
Here’s Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver taking a swipe at Ed Koch in response to the former NYC mayor’s recent remarks that his fellow Manhattan Democrat is an enemy of reform and a “bum” who should be ejected from office by the voters this fall.
“I’m not going to glorify his statements,” Silver told me during an interview this afternoon that will air in full this evening on Capital Tonight.
“I respect the elderly and I think it is, as my former congressman and my former mayor, someone who supported him many times, I respect his position in life now.”
(For the record: Koch is 85. Silver, by comparison, is a spring chicken at the ripe old age of 66. The two have exchanged verbal barbs several times now on the subject of the speaker’s refusal to sign the trio of reform pledges sent out by Koch’s NY Uprising PAC).
Koch is embarking on upstate tour next week to celebrate lawmakers and challengers deemed “heroes” of reform for their willingness to sign his pledges and slam the “enemies” who, like Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, declined to do so.
He’s hitting Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, but has chosen to avoid Albany. Odd, particularly since the Legislature is expected to be in town for another extraordinary session – what better backdrop against which to engage in a little healthy lawmaker bashing?
This is Koch’s first campaign-like upstate swing since his failed 1982 gubernatorial bid during which his anti-upstate statements are now widely viwed as having cost him the primary race against Mario Cuomo.
Jul 29th - 3:50 pm
When he’s back, he’s back.
The ever-colorful Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has re-emerged after all but dropping off the face of the earth following his loss in the NY-20 special election, (OK, he lost his leadership post and was relegated to the back row in the chamber, which is almost like being banished to Siberia).
Today he unloaded this little gem on CapTon’s Kaitlyn Ross, which I simply could not allow to go unblogged in full. And so…
“The last time I saw individuals led around like this was at the Saratoga Fair with the pigs with the ring in their noses. What I’m asking my colleagues to do is to stand up, tell the leaders we’re going to take charge as rank-and-file members.”
“We want conference committees on this revenue bill and we want to get it done for the people of New York State because they’re sick and tired of ceding this power to three men who go in a darkened room and come out and do nothing. ”
“They can’t govern but they won’t get out of the way. I’m asking my colleagues to stand up to them and tell them to get out of the way and let rank-and-file members really be representatives and do the budget.”
In case you’re not following me here with the title of this post because your junior year English curriculum is escaping you, click here.
Jul 29th - 3:26 pm
Two GOP candidates are calling on embattled Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel to step down in the wake of today’s unveiling of the 13 ethics charges lodged against him by a bipartisan House committee.
Michael Allegretti, one of two Republicans vying for the right to take on Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon in NY-13 in November; and David Malpass, one of three Republicans fighting to challenge Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Row B; both issued statements following today’s ethics committee hearing that lambasted Rangel and the last-minute efforts to cut a deal that would spare him – and his party – the embarrassment of a public trial.
The situation with Charlie Rangel has turned into a circus, with media reports of constant backroom negotiating to see how Rep. Rangel can best save his career,” Allegretti said.
“It should be enough that he’s been charged with these 13 violations. Let’s set the bar higher here: Charlie Rangel should immediately resign, as it is clear that he has abused his office. Every single member of Congress should call on him to resign.”
“And every single member of Congress must return the dirty money they have received from Rep. Rangel in the form of campaign donations.”
Jul 29th - 2:46 pm
Members of the House Ethics committee just wrapped up their pre-trial hearing, at which they outlined the charges against embattled Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel.
In all, he is facing 13 charges, stemming from his solicitations and donations to the Rangel Center of Public Service at City College of NY, errors on his financial disclosure statements, the use of a rent subsidized apartment as a campaign office, and failure to report and pay taxes on his Dominican villa.
Democratic Rep. Gene Green, of Texas, was the chair of the subcommittee that investigated Rangel. He outlined all of the 13 charges during today’s hearings, which you can find here. (UPDATE: You can also read them in full after the jump).
Jul 29th - 2:10 pm
The SUNY Empowerment Plan is taking center stage at the Capitol today and things are getting a bit testy.
Despite the obvious tension and Speaker Silver’s prior vocal opposition to the plan, an Assembly source tells our Capitol crew that Assembly Democrats prepared to propose a compromise deal to the senate.
Silver and the majority of his Democratic members remain opposed to the idea of allowing SUNY and CUNY schools to set their own tuition. They say it would put low-income students at too big a disadvantage.
They are, however, willing to allow state schools to increase tuition rates by two to three percent over a period of three to five years.
The Assembly is also poised to propose a procurement compromise that would allow schools to spend funds without legislative approval. The process would instead be supervised by the attorney general and approved by the comptroller.
Earlier today, a closed door meeting between SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, the governor and members of the state Black, Puerto Rican and Asian legislative caucus members reportedly got heated with one senator storming out.
Here is a clip of Zimpher talking to reporters about the importance of SUNY Empowerment and stating quite clearly that she is open to considering any compromise plan.
The second half of the clip cuts to Westchester Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson discussing the importance of protecting access to state schools for minority students, and reiterating there’s a “standoff” with some members refusing to vote for the revenue bill until there’s an empowerment deal.
Jul 29th - 1:48 pm
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli responded to the attack ads launched by his Republican challenger Harry Wilson earlier today.
In the ad, DiNapoli is accused of being an Albany insider who isn’t qualified for the job.
We caught up to DiNapoli today after he picked up the endorsement from CSEA, and asked him about the ad. He defended his record, and took a shot at what he sees as Wilson’s lack of experience.
“I think it is interesting that someone who has absolutely no record at all, that hasn’t been there, making the tough choices and helping moving the state forward,” DiNapoli said. “It is very easy to throw arrows.”
Jul 29th - 1:24 pm
Former Lobbying Commission Executive Director David Grandeau weighed in on the Kaye report during an interview with me that will air on “Capital Tonight” this evening, saying the former chief judge overlooked a violation by the governor of the Public Officers Law.
Grandeau, who is a frequent critic of the Public Integrity Commission, said he believes the body should pick up where Kaye left off (he also notes an interesting, but irrelevant in this instance, personal connection between the ex-chief judge and the ex-PIC executive director, Herb Teitelbaum)
“It’s pretty obvious – you don’t have to be a brain surgeon, rocket scientist or someone experienced in this area – the law is clear,” Grandeau told me. “He used his press secretary to help a private citizen, that’s a violation of the Public Officers Law. It’s not complicated.”
I reached PIC Executive Director Barry Ginsburg, who declined to comment. It should be noted that the PIC generally takes a back seat when there is a criminal investigation underway and then might take up a civil probe, although it doesn’t comment on ongoing efforts.
UPDATE: A reader notes that Kaye didn’t overlook the Public Officers Law issue entirely. She mentions in Footnote #30 that it is not in her jurisdiction to consider and is actually under the auspices of the PIC.