NY GOP House Delegation Fundraises For Martins

The Republican members of the New York congressional delegation will hold a fundraiser today for Jack Martins, the state senator running for an open House seat on Long Island.

Tickets for the event, being held at 5 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., range from $500 to $2,500.

Billed as special guests to the event include Reps. Peter King, Tom Reed, Elise Stefanik, Chris Gibson, John Katko, Lee Zeldin and Dan Donovan.

Martins is running for the third congressional district, which is being vacated by Democratic Rep. Steve Israel. It’s seen as a top pickup opportunity for Republicans this year.

He faces Democratic former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi.

Invitation – 9 28 16 – Martins Reception by Nick Reisman on Scribd

NY-19: Faso Gets Nod From Primary Foe

From the Morning Memo:

Andrew Heaney, the Republican who unsuccessfully challenged John Faso in June in a GOP primary, has endorsed his bid in the general election in the battleground race for the 19th congressional district.

The endorsement, made public in an email Heaney sent to supporters on Tuesday afternoon, comes as Faso faces stiff competition for holding the Hudson Valley in GOP hands.

A Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found Faso and his Democratic rival, Zephyr Teachout, locked in a dead heat. Faso, a former Assembly minority leader, drew 43 percent of the vote compared to 42 percent for Teachout.

In the email endorsement, Heaney knocked Teachout as an “extreme far-left candidate” whose ties to the district are tenuous.

“We fell for the promises of a double-talking, liberal opportunist once before when Hillary Clinton promised to create 200,000 jobs in Upstate,” Heaney wrote in the email. “Let’s not make that mistake again.”

Much of the criticism Teachout, a Fordham Law school professor, has leveled at Faso echoed the attacks of Heaney during the primary season, namely the knock that he is a lobbyist too close to Albany power brokers.

Heaney had also claimed he would have made a more effective general election candidate against Teachout, burnishing his credentials as an outside running in an anti-incumbent year.

But Heaney suggests in the email the stakes are higher for the general election.

“That is why all concerned citizens, whether they are Republican, Democrat or Independent – should vote for John Faso,” Heaney wrote. “John has served the people of the 19th District in his work as an Assemblyman for almost two decades. He knows the District and its people, and knows that the economy and jobs is the number one issue we need to address here, and across our nation.”

And he put in a fundraising pitch for his former rival.

“John is in a tough fight. His opponent has access to the organized, national Bernie Sanders/ Elizabeth Warren liberal money machine that has provided her with an ample war chest,” he wrote. “I urge you to learn more about John, and to help him get the word out by visiting his website or by making a donation to him today.”

State Dem Chairman Brown Gets Front Row Seat For Debate

From the Morning Memo:

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown didn’t just get an invite to Monday’s presidential debate at Hofstra University. As the new chair of the state Democratic party, Brown was in the front row, and from where he was sitting, he said Hillary Clinton clearly beat Donald Trump.

“She had excellent moments all throughout the entire debate, so it would be hard to pick just one moment that was best,” he said.

As the head of New York’s second largest city, Brown said Clinton’s comments on police and race relations specifically resonated with him.

“I thought that was a very strong moment,” the mayor recalled. “It reflected that she had thought about that issue a lot and that she had been involved in that issue and traveled to different parts of the country to talk to both police officers and residents.”

Brown was sitting with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, with whom the mayor said he has built a relationship over the years. Brown said he enjoyed being able to discuss his impressions about the debate with a man he deemed one of the “most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement in this nation.”

After the debate, Jackson also joined Brown in the Spin Room, where thousands of reporters were trolling the aisle, seeking comment. The chairman said it was his first time in that environment.

“It’s a huge room with media from all across the country and across the world, many people talking in different sections of the room. It was a very interesting experience, seeing a room like that and having questions fired at you from a lot of different quarters,” Brown said.

One person who did not make a post-debate Spin Room appearance – Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who tapped Brown to serve as party chair. The governor did, however, attend the event with his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Lee, and also headlined a local rally for Clinton after the debate.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Onondaga County and New York City.

At 8:30 a.m., the MTA Safety Committee meets, MTA Board Room, 2 Broadway, 20th Floor, Manhattan. (The full board meets at 10 a.m.)

At 10 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, 4341 State Street Rd., Skaneateles Falls.

Also at 10 a.m., Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., musician Common and others march to double NYC charter school sector to 200,000 Children by 2020, Prospect Park, Captain Vincent E. Brunton Way and Prospect Park Southwest, Brooklyn.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show and take questions from listeners.

Also at 10 a.m., NYC Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, the Women’s Prison Association and others celebrate the anticipated passage of Int. 899-A to establish clear procedures around admittance and record keeping for the Rikers Island nursery, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 11:30 a.m., de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement regarding NYC’s Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise program, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Building 92, 4th floor, Brooklyn.

At noon, NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams announces his intention to continue his protest during the Pledge of Allegiance that he began two weeks ago, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:45 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul will address the Power of the Latino Voice Conference, Desmond Hotel, 660 Albany Shaker Rd., Colonie.

At 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres and others address the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule that could increase rents for Section 8 households, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council holds a stated meeting, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1:15 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, P.S. 059 Beekman Hill International, 231-249 East 56th St., Manhattan.

At 3:15 p.m., Hochul visits the West Point Military Academy, West Point.

At 3:30 p.m., de Blasio holds public hearings for and Signs Intros. 923-A, 976-A, 981-B, 1005-A, 1019-A, 1020-A, 405-A, 695-A, 795-A, 997-A, 948-A, 961-A and 968-A, Blue Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio participates in a town hall, Southern Queens Park Association, 177-01 Baisley Blvd., Queens.

Headlines…

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara delivered a keynote address yesterday before some of the city’s top politicians, where he was presented with City & State’s “Newsmaker of the Decade” award and praised the media for putting issues in the spotlight – like the Buffalo Billion corruption case he brought last week involving some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aides.

Former Cuomo aide Joe Percoco, who was one of nine people arrested on corruption charges last week, works for a potential stakeholder in the governor’s latest deal to transform he former Farley Post Office on Manhattan’s West Side to a first-class rail facility.

When a staffer wanted to leave the team before Cuomo wanted him or her to leave, it was Percoco’s task to block, or delay, an exit. He played that role even after he left Cuomo’s payroll last January to join Madison Square Garden Co.

There’s division over how close former lobbyist Todd Howe, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges and is assisting Bharara in his ongoing investigation, is to Cuomo. Those currently close to the governor insist Howe was not influential, others who have been around Albany a long time beg to differ.

City of Rensselaer officials said they rejected a $4,000 per month contract proposal from Howe as they waited for SUNY Polytechnic Institute to push ahead with a $12.5 million high-tech development plan for the city’s riverfront.

Cuomo’s campaign will set aside the donations from two recently arrested Syracuse-area development executives in case the funds are seized as part of the criminal case.

That announcement followed pledges by the state’s two other top elected officials – state AG Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli – to divest themselves of political donations tied to Cuomo’s allegedly graft-riddled “Buffalo Billion” revitalization project.

In the wake of the scandal, JCOPE staffers will be paying “closer attention” to financial disclosures, though officials for the watchdog agency declined to say how it missed crucial information in Bharara’s case against Percoco.

The governor is expected to announce the creation of new jobs at Welch Allyn during a visit to the medical equipment maker in Skaneateles this morning.

The plan calls for Related Companies and Vornado Realty — the same two development companies that tried to turn the old post office into a train hall last time around — to join forces with construction giant Skanska to take another go at it.

NYPD detectives are investigating as a crime scene a Bronx home that exploded yesterday morning, killing a firefighter and injuring more than a dozen others. Chief Michael Fahy was killed when he was struck on the head and elsewhere by part of the building’s roof.

Early this morning, police had a person of interest in the Bronx home explosion case in custody.

New York City has agreed to pay $5.75 million to settle a lawsuit stemming from the 2013 death of a mentally ill inmate, Bradley Ballard, who was found naked and covered in urine and feces after being locked in a cell at Rikers Island for six days.

State Senate candidate and Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs’ own money and Albany contributions establish him as the financial favorite in the 60th SD race at this point. But questions still surround what, if any, outside dollars may assist his Democratic opponent, Amber Small.

David Wildstein, the mastermind behind the George Washington Bridge lane closings in the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal, testified that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was informed of the lane closings the week they were happening, and recalled how Christie reacted with laughter.

A pair of clips teasing Mary J. Blige’s interview with Hillary Clinton on her upcoming Apple Music show The 411 isn’t winning over social media users.

After refraining from calling Clinton names at the first presidential debate, Donald Trump took the stage at a rally in a Florida
airplane hangar night and declared: “Almost every single poll had us winning the debate against ‘Crooked Hillary Clinton’ big league. Big league. She is as crooked as they come.”

Trump also lashed out in the aftermath of a disappointing first debate with Clinton, scolding the moderator, NBC’s Lester Holt; criticizing a beauty pageant winner for her physique and raising the prospect of an all-out attack on Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities in the final stretch of the campaign.

More >

TWC News/Siena College Poll: Dead Heat In NY-19

Republican John Faso and Democrat Zephyr Teachout are in a virtual tie in the race for the 19th congressional district in the Hudson Valley, a Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll found.

The poll released Tuesday night shows Faso, a former Assembly minority leader, drawing 43 percent of the vote, with Teachout receiving 42 percent of support.

The results are not wholly unexpected: The 19th congressional district is considered one of the key battleground House races in New York and already is drawing a heavy rotation in television advertising for both candidates.

But the poll results underscore the unsettled nature of the race an open congressional seat that’s being vacated by Rep. Chris Gibson, a Republican.

Both Faso and Teachout are known quantities in some regard.

Faso, a longtime state lawmaker turned lobbyist, ran for governor as the Republican nominee in 2006. The poll found 32 percent of voters hold a favorable view of him, while 30 percent do not. Teachout, who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo in 2014, has a 36 percent to 25 percent favorable rating.

But a large swath of voters — nearly 40 percent — have not heard enough about either candidate to form an opinion with six weeks to go before Election Day.

Though the race is considered a tossup, Republicans fare better in other races.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leads Democrat Hillary Clinton in the district by 5 percentage points, 43 percent to 38 percent.

And while Sen. Chuck Schumer holds a comfortable lead over his little known Republican challenger Wendy Long, it is more narrow in the 19th district than in broader statewide polls.

At the same time, most voters in the district by a margin of 46 percent to 41 percent want Republicans to retain control of the House of Representatives this November.

So, why does Faso still struggle to overcome Teachout in the race?

The answer lies with independent voters: Faso and Teachout are tied with those not registered as Democrats or Republicans, 42 percent to 41 percent, the poll found.

At the same time, the poll shows these voters lean conservative. Among the independent voters polled, 66 percent support Second Amendment rights, 56 percent back repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, and on the role of the federal government, 53 percent believe it should less its burden on businesses.

The poll of 678 likely voters was conducted from Sept. 20 through Sept. 22. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

CD190916 Crosstabs938 by Nick Reisman on Scribd

Contributions To Cuomo Tied To Corruption Case Will Be ‘Set Aside’

Contributions donated to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election bid will be “set aside” and potentially subject to forfeiture efforts by prosecutors, a top New York Democrat on Tuesday evening said.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations made last week, the campaign contributions given by the defendants will be set aside in a separate account to be made available for any forfeiture recoveries pursued by law enforcement upon case disposition, rather than returning the funds to the defendants,” said Basil Smikle, the executive director of the state Democratic Committee in an email statement. “The US Attorney’s office has been made aware of this action.”

A Cuomo campaign source later explained why the money was being put in a separate account and not returned to the donors: “It’s not our intention to fund anyone’s legal defense.”

The statement comes hours after the campaign of Comptroller Tom DiNapoli indicated on Tuesday he would return donations received from developers linked to the sweeping bribery and bid-rigging case that has also ensnared a former top aide and confidant to the governor, Joe Percoco.

DiNapoli is returning the money from LP Ciminelli CEO Louis Ciminelli and Steven Aiello, the top executive COR Development, whose contributions to DiNapoli account for more than $40,000 combined.

Cuomo, who is running for a third term in 2018, has received a combined $350,000 from developer Ciminelli, as well as the developer’s family members. Aiello, meanwhile, has contributed $10,000 to Cuomo.

Both Ciminelli and Aiello are among those charged in the case.

It’s unclear from the statement released Tuesday how much of the money will be entered into a separate account pending the developments in the corruption case.

Extras

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign remains mum on the issue, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s re-election campaign has said it will return campaign funds tied to developers who are being charged in a bribery and bid-rigging case.

Though Albany is reeling from yet another corruption scandal, the ethics and lobbying regulators at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics didn’t discuss the case at their meeting.

Even as he seeks to move forward with economic development projects after the high-profile arrests, questions remain over whether Cuomo has done enough to address bid rigging in contracting.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has had a well-documented affair out of wedlock, said Hillary Clinton is “too stupid” to be president because she didn’t believe Monica Lewinsky’s claim of a relationship with her husband.

Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of a former Miss Universe winner, knocking her for gaining weight after winning the contest.

Pledging to revamp Penn Station, Cuomo told real estate leaders in New York City he is backing a plan that would bring 18-foot walls and sky-blue ceilings to the “decrepit” transit hub.

The clean energy standard as backed the Public Service Commission will cost more than the $2 surcharge as claimed by state regulators, an analysis by the Empire Center found.

The deputy mayor of Williamsville is taking a leave of “an indefinite” leave of absence after he was charged with a DWI.

Deaprtment of Transportation officials say Syracuse residents will have another chance to weigh in on the I-81 project in the city.

Capt. David Little, the son of state Sen. Betty Little, toured the Capitol with a group of younger sailors, and his mother led them through the chamber.

An ally of New Jersey Gov. Christie testified the governor reportedly laughed at the news of the George Washington Bridge lane closures in Fort Lee.

After 13 years, police in Rochester have finally made an arrest in a notorious 2003 robbery at the Xerox Federal Credit Union.

A 17-year veteran of the FDNY was killed when a grow house for marijuana exploded in the Bronx.

NY-22: Tenney Pushes Back Against Super PAC Attacks

The long-simmering feud between Republican Claudia Tenney and the leader of the Oneida Indian Nation continued on Tuesday as the congressional candidate released a TV ad rebutting commercials fueled by Democrats and Ray Halbritter.

The ad itself doesn’t reference Halbritter, who Tenney has long criticized, but a press release announcing the spot does.

“The millions in attack ads show just how terrified the Washington political class is of Claudia’s record of standing up to political insiders, fighting corruption and putting the people of upstate New York first. This ad sets the record straight on Claudia’s attendance record, while showing a clear contrast between her experience as a small business owner and her liberal millionaire opponents’ records of enriching themselves, killing New York jobs and hurting middle class families,” said Ryan Rhodes, Tenney’s campaign manager.

In the ad, Tenney also takes swipes at Democratic opponent Kim Myers and independent Martin Babinec in the three-way — a similar tactic taken by the National Republican Congressional Committee in a separate ad also released today.

SD-46: Amedore Ad Promotes Pension Forfeiture

The ad is more like a “scared straight” after school special than a political commercial: Commit a crime in public office and lose your pension.

That’s the message from Republican Sen. George Amedore, who touts pension forfeiture issue in his latest TV spot. The ad is also unique for referencing Amedore’s former leader in the Senate, Republican Dean Skelos, who along with ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted of federal corruption charges.

State lawmakers haven’t put the finishing touches in pension forfeiture just yet. The Legislature must still approve the second passage of a constitutional amendment that would require those convicted of corruption to lose their pension benefits. The provision doesn’t take effect until voters approve it in a referendum.

Lawmakers had differed over the issue, with the GOP-led Senate and Democratic-led Assembly approving competing versions of the amendment. Ultimately this past session they agreed to amendment language as part of a broader ethics package.

Amedore is running for re-election in the 46th Senate district against Democrat Sara Niccoli.

Cuomo To Headline Queens Democratic Fundraiser

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to be a “guest of honor” at a fundraiser for the Queens Democratic committee on Oct. 27 billed as “pre-election cocktail party.”

Tickets to the event, to be held at Antun’s in Queens Village, cost $350, according to an email released on Tuesday and obtained by Capital Tonight.

The event is being announced days after a former top aide to Cuomo, Joe Percoco, was charged with bribery and fraud in connection to a wide-ranging bid-rigging corruption case being brought by federal prosecutors.

Cuomo in April distanced himself from Percoco after his administration received a subpoena from the U.S. attorney’s office as part of its investigation. Acknowledging the investigation, Cuomo hired an investigator to review contracting in the economic development programs that have come under scrutiny by federal prosecutors.

One observer notes that Cuomo’s appearance at the fundraiser suggests he’s not altering his political activities ahead of the November general election because of the corruption case.