Here’s the official word on Rep. Charlie Rangel.

Maggie Haberman explains what happens next.

One of Rangel’s primary challengers, Jonathan Tasini, called on the congressman to end his re-election bid.

Two Norwegian reporters were arrested and charged with trespassing after they snapped photos of estate where Chelsea Clinton is believed to be getting married.

Hillary Clinton is collecting presents for her daughter from all over the world.

Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch on Assemblyman Sheldon Silver: “Throw the bum out.” (Ditto for Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., even though he signed the NY Uprising pledges).

Here’s Carl Paladino’s (late) financial disclosure statement.

Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t think Paladino is going to get elected.

Eric Dinallo released his “Taxpayer Savings Agenda.”

Azi Paybarah reminds us that Hank Sheinkopf, the state Democratic Party’s latest hire, is also a registered lobbyist.

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Collins: Lazio’s Not A ‘Credible Candidate’

Erie County Executive Chris Collins didn’t hold back this afternoon when I asked him during a “Capital Tonight” interview whether he had even considered endorsing Rick Lazio for governor instead of his fellow Buffalonian, Carl Paladino.

“I would never go down that road because he’s not talking about the fundamental changes needed to fix our state,” Collins replied.

“It’s, you know, political soundbites, and there’s no energy there and clearly his lack of enthusiasm is evidenced by his recent financial filing. I don’t view him as a credible candidate. Carl is the real deal. Not only is he a credible candidate. He’s the only one talking about issues.”

As I said earlier, it’s no surprise that Collins has chosen to endorse Paladino over Lazio, since he mulled fighting the former congressman in a GOP primary for Row B. (Collins told me he was a “reluctant candidate” and only considered running because no one else was stepping up to the plate who he considered sufficiently credible – and conservative – to really bring the fight to AG Andrew Cuomo).

The interview will air in full tonight at 8 p.m. and again at 11:30 p.m.

Rasmussen: Paladino Slightly Stronger Than Lazio vs. Cuomo

Carl Paladino’s campaign is trumpeting a new Rasmussen poll that shows the Buffalo businessman peforming slightly better against Democratic gubernatorial designee Andrew Cuomo than the GOP/Conservative designee Rick Lazio.

The poll shows Paladino vs. Cuomo at 29-58, with 8 percent unsure; while Lazio vs. Cuomo is 27-58, 9 percent. Last month, the breakdown was 25-55 Paladino vs. Cuomo and 28-55 Lazio vs. Cuomo.

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.5 percentage points, so statistically speaking it’s pretty much a wash. Nevertheless, Paladino’s campaign manager Michael Caputo has seized on the numbers, saying they prove Lazio “has ran out of gas.”

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Silver, Sampson Question Koch

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson aren’t taking kindly to being called “enemies of reform” by former NYC Mayor Ed Koch.

Both Democratic legislative leaders issued statements casting doubt on the campaign being run by Koch’s PAC, New York Uprising, which today dubbed a number of incumbents and candidates enemies after they failed to meet a midnight deadline for signing his trio of pledges on budget, ethics and redistricting reform.

Unsurprisingly, given the fact that he hasn’t been shy about saying he wouldn’t be signing any pledges any time soon, Silver’s statement is the stronger of the two.

“For decades, Republicans controlled the State Senate and blocked every single piece of reform legislation proposed by the Assembly and Democrats in the Senate – campaign finance reform, election reform, ethics reform and budget reform,” the speaker said.

“For Ed Koch to call Senate Republicans ‘reformers’ and ignore our record undermines the credibility of the pledge and his entire campaign.”

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Coffey Praises Donovan For Eschewing Indys

Sean Coffey, who has repeatedly said he thinks its inappropriate for any AG candidate to accept the endorsement of either the Independence or Working Families parties while they are under investigation, just released a statement praising his potential GOP opponent, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, for ending his bid for Row C.

“I’d like to step across party lines for a moment and commend Dan Donovan for taking a principled stand on rejecting the Independence Party’s potential nomination,” Coffey said.

“No candidate for attorney general should seek or accept this line while it is under investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office on allegations of misconduct and corruption.”

“I was the first candidate in this race to remove myself from consideration and encourage all of my Democratic opponents who have not yet done so to do the same.”

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Rangel Will Be Charged

The House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct – which has been investigating the allegations levied against Rep. Charlie Rangel – has charged the so-called Dean of the New York Delegation with several ethics violations.

The case will now go to trial before a separate ethics panel that will rule as to whether it can be “proved by clear and convincing evidence” that Rangel violated House ethics rules.

This action is related to an ethics case unrelated to the one that led him to step aside as chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee last March.

Sources tell the Associated Press that negotiations between the committee and Rangel’s attorney failed to yield a settlement to end the case.  A settlement would have required that Rangel admit he violated ethics rules.
It has been more than two years since the Ethics Committee began looking into a litany of potential offenses, including Rangel’s fundraising, his living arrangements in rent-controlled apartments, his failure to report rental income from properties the Dominican Republic and his use of a House parking spot for vehicle storage. ‘

Scozzafava For Cuomo (Updated)

Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, whose name has become synonymous with moderate Republicanism since the NY-23 special election that became a battle for the heart of the national GOP, has again crossed party lines to endorse a Democrat, announcing her support of AG Andrew Cuomo for governor.

“The most important election we have this year is to elect Andrew Cuomo Governor of the State of New York,” Scozzafava said in a statement released by the Cuomo campaign.

“He has the message that can resonate across party lines because it’s about the future of this state, it’s about the people that live here, it’s about making our quality of life better and having this state turn the corner and come back to the prosperity that we know is there.”

UPDATE: Here’s some video of the endorsement today, compliments of The Watertown Times’ Judge Seymour. Scozzafava apparently joined Cuomo at the Lewis County Fair today.

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Koch’s Enemies List

True to his word, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch has released a list of state legislators and candidates who have so fare refused to sign on to the budget, ethics and redistricting reform pledges created by his PAC, New York Uprising, branding these individuals “enemies of reform.”

Two hundred and forty candidates signed – including the entire Senate GOP conference – just hours before the midnight deadline.

The full list of both can be found on the NY Uprising Website. .

Both Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are “enemies”. Silver made it clear early on that he would not be signing any pledges – basically because he simply doesn’t do them, no matter who asks. Not Koch, and not AG Andrew Cuomo, either

“F)ar too many candidates clearly want to keep our state exactly the way it is – they benefit from the corruption, the dysfunction, the inanity that defines Albany and they clearly don’t want to do anything about it,” Koch said in a press release.

“And so when you look at the condition our state is in and when you look at these candidates refusal to do anything about it, it’s clear that they truly are enemies of reform.”

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Silver And Sampson Set An August Deadline

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson agreed on one thing when they met yesterday in Manhattan: The budget has got to get done, once and for all, and soon.

According to a legislative source, the two Democrats settled on the first week of August as a drop-dead deadline for reaching an agreement that would enable the Senate to pass the revenue bill – the last hurdle remaining between New York and a complete 2010-2011 spending plan (not to mention between lawmakers and their paychecks).

That’s more or less as far as they got, however. There is still no clear path about how to address the two outstanding issues – SUNY empowerment and FMAP – in a way that would leave both chambers (particularly the holdouts in the Senate) happy.

Another possible wrench in the works: Gov. David Paterson.

It’s unclear whether the governor will accept the revenue bill even if the Legislature passes it, because, as I’ve noted so many times before, as soon as the budget’s done, whatever relevance and power the governor is currently enjoying diminishes greatly – if not completely.

Paterson is already threatening to drag the Legislature back to Albany for an extraordinary session, although he hasn’t yet picked a date.

Silver told NY1′s Michael Scotto on “Inside City Hall” last night that he sees no need for an extraordinary session, but also didn’t sound all that optimistic about a final two-way deal any time soon.

Dems Use Lazio’s Spending Against Him

If GOP/Conservative gubernatorial designee Rick Lazio is so fiscally responsible, why is his campaign burn rate so high?

Inquiring minds want to know. State Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs (perhaps taking a cue from a SoP reader) wants to know.

On the heels of the Lazio campaign’s latest Web video that slammed Democratic gubernatorial designee Andrew Cuomo for his fundraising and spending, Jacobs turned the tables on the former Long Island congressman, issuing a statement that railed against his “complete lack of fiscal discipline” in his own campaign spending.

“Somehow Rick Lazio managed to blow more money on flashy consultants, luxury hotels, and other over-the-top campaign expenses than he took in from supporters,” Jacobs said.

“Even as he continues to rack up red ink, his fiscal irresponsibility doesn’t stop – even though his poll numbers have barely budged. Lazio has some serious work to do before he can question anyone else’s fiscal discipline, let alone Andrew Cuomo’s.”

“If Rick Lazio ran New York the way he runs his campaign, New York’s financial mess would go from bad to worse. The fiscal crisis New York had in the seventies could look like child’s play by comparison.”

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