Cuomo To Donate Funds From Convicted Developers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign said Tuesday afternoon it would donate the money given by developers convicted of bid rigging last week to organizations that support reproductive rights, immigration policy and Puerto Rico storm recovery.

“Two years ago, the campaign removed these donations and segregated them into a separate account,” said Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins. “The money is currently in the process of being donated and will be dispersed in the coming days to groups who do important work on behalf of vital causes: immigrant legal defense, women’s reproductive health rights, and Puerto Rico recovery efforts.”

The money being donated will not impact Cuomo’s overall war chest because it was separated out after the initial indictments.

The statement did not specify which groups will be receiving the money.

The convictions were part of a broader corruption case involving efforts to rig bids to developers in upstate New York, Louis Ciminelli, Steven Aiello and Joseph Girardi. Also convicted was former SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros, who had been put in charge of the effort, meant to boost employment in western New York.

Entities and people connected to COR Development alone gave around $250,000 to Cuomo’s campaign through 2016.

All told, the donations total about $500,000 that are being donated.

The money from the developers had been at issue in the governor’s re-election campaign: Both his Democratic opponent Cynthia Nixon and Republican Marc Molinaro highlighted the campaign cash after the convictions.

Extras

President Donald Trump said that he had misspoken a day earlier in Helsinki, Finland, when he appeared to take the word of President Vladimir Putin of Russia over the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies on Russian election meddling in 2016, now saying he “accepts” those findings.

Former President Barack Obama gave his first major speech since leaving office, calling today’s times “strange and uncertain” and urging people to bring back the values of “equality, dignity and kindness.”

Trump reportedly did the opposite of what his staff recommended ahead of his joint presser with Vladimir Putin, ignoring most of about 100 pages of briefing materials outlining a tough stance toward the Russian strongman.

Trump’s decision to take the word of Putin, a former KGB agent, over the findings of a “dedicated patriot” like Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats concerning Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election was “indefensible,” Long Island Rep. Pete King said.

Her Royal Highness’s choice in brooch the day Trump landed in England has made waves, as the floral piece was a personal gift from former President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama on their 2011 state visit.

A new Zogby survey of 708 likely voters in New York shows Gov. Andrew Cuomo cruising to victory in the primary and general elections, though the numbers change depending on how many candidates are included.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro has said he didn’t vote for Trump and instead wrote in Republican ex-Rep. Chris Gibson for president in 2016, but that hasn’t stopped the president’s much lower-profile brother, Robert, from giving $25,000 to Molinaro’s campaign for governor.

Cuomo maintains he was unaware that a government phone line assigned to former top aide Joe Percoco was routinely used to make calls related to the governor’s re-election campaign. “Right, and I’ve said that for the past two years,” he told reporters on an unrelated conference call.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams led the pack of would-be 2021 NYC mayoral candidates stockpiling cash for that race with $919,339 raised over the last six months.

Former NYC Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte has admitted in a settlement with the Conflicts of Interest Board that his long-running misuse of a city-issue vehicle contributed to his resignation in May 2017, contradicting repeated claims by Mayor Bill de Blasio that the misconduct was no big deal.

Cuomo announced a comprehensive initiative with the State Board of Elections to further secure New York’s elections infrastructure and protect against foreign interference.

Pro-Kremlin GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher met with a Putin ally in Russia in August 2015, matching an account in the blockbuster FBI affidavit against accused Russian spy Maria Butina.

Also on the trip: Queens Rep. Greg Meeks, who told The Daily Beast that Rohrbacher set up the August 2015 trip and that he went along as a Democratic “counterbalance” to Rohrbacher’s pro-Russian politics.

An inspection 13 month ago of a stretch of elevated railroad bridge that collapsed this month found flaking and cracking in the bridge’s sidewalls, according to records obtained by Syracuse.com/The Post-Standard.

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who has been mentioned as a possible 2020 contender for the White House, has landed a book deal with Penguin Press.

A close look at Cuomo’s campaign finance filing revealed that small donations still played a negligible role in his overall fundraising efforts, despite claims otherwise by his campaign.

Children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border and now represented by New York City’s Legal Aid Society will get 48-hour notice of the government’s plans for them thanks to a federal restraining order.

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, facing an October retrial on federal corruption charges, paid $900,000 in campaign funds to his criminal defense attorney during the first half of the year.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee has launched an investigation into care at the VA’s 133 nursing homes after learning the agency had given almost half of them the lowest possible score in secret, internal rankings.

Goldman Sachs said veteran investment-banker David Solomon would succeed Lloyd Blankfein as chief executive Oct. 1, setting up a high-profile transition for a firm that is expanding well beyond its Wall Street roots.

Two casinos in New York state have reached agreements with sports-betting platforms to open brick-and-mortar sites to place the wagers.

State and federal health officials are warning New Yorkers to take renewed precautions against ticks after a new species was recently discovered downstate.

Molinaro’s Campaign Gets A Boost From Killian

The gubernatorial campaign of Republican Marc Molinaro was loaned $45,000 by his running mate, former Rye Councilwoman Julie Killian, a filing made public on Tuesday shows.

Killian, who also served as deputy mayor of Rye, joined the ticket in May.

Molinaro’s campaign, which formally began earlier this year, has $887,238 in cash on hand and raised $913,975 in contributions during the current reporting period.

The Republican State Committee also transferred in $179,500, the filing shows.

Cuomo Unveils Push To Protect Election Integrity

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced state elections were officials developing plans to counteract potential foreign meddling in New York’s election infrastructure.

The announcement comes several days after Russian nationals were indicted by the Department of Justice, charged with hacking into emails and other sensitive documents of Democratic officials.

The indictment also alleges the Russians were attempting to hack into elections boards in other states, though there is no evidence they were successful.

“While President Trump stands by those who seek to undermine our democracy, New York is taking aggressive action to protect our elections from foreign interference,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“There is nothing more sacred than democracy, and New Yorkers should know that when they cast their ballot that their vote is safe. The groundbreaking cyber security initiative we launch today will harden and protect our election infrastructure from the very real threat of foreign meddling. While the President has abdicated his responsibility to defend this country and left our electoral system open to sabotage by foreign adversaries, New York is fighting back and leading the way.”

The state is spending $5 million to bolster cyber security for elections, including risk assessments, intrusion detection devices and security services.

A risk assessment will be conducted for all county elections boards as will a cyber security training program.

There was no evidence that New York’s election infrastructure, which is decentralized from the state Board of Elections, has been successfully hacked.

This year, New Yorkers will elect the Legislature and congressional representatives in battleground House districts, as well as statewide elected officials.

Skelos And Son, Convicted Again

Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on Tuesday was found guilty of fraud and corruption in a retrial stemming from his efforts to help his son receive a no-show job.

His son, Adam Skelos, was also found guilty of eight charges as well.

It was the second time Dean and Adam Skelos were found guilty of the charges in a federal courthouse. The faced a retrial this year after their 2016 convictions were tossed following the Supreme Court’s reinterpretation of the definition of theft of honest services.

Dean Skelos, as the Senate majority leader, wielded power over the state budget negotiations and funding, and had led the Republicans in the chamber through a two-year, tumultuous stint in the minority, which included an attempted leadership coup.

When Republicans regained full control in 2011, the conference struck an alliance with the Independent Democratic Conference in the Senate as well, helping the GOP retain the trappings of power even when it fell into a mathematical minority.

His counterpart in the Democratic-led Assembly, ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver, was arrested the same year as Skelos on fraud charges in an unrelated case. Like Skelos, Silver’s case was initially overturned, but he was found guilty again in his own retrial this year.

It’s been a year of public corruption trials for Albany. In March, a former close aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Joe Percoco, was found guilty of receiving bribes. Developers who had received rigged bids as part of the governor’s Buffalo Billion economic development program, as well as former SUNY Polytechnic President Alain Kaloyeros, were also found guilty in a separate case that had been cleaved from the Percoco trial.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro blasted the culture of corruption at the Capitol.

“What I find incredible, though, is that Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver have been convicted, while Andrew Cuomo continues to bend the rules, break the law and defraud taxpayers seemingly without consequence,” he said. “That said, I firmly believe that his actions are catching up to him. The deceit he has perpetrated on the beleaguered taxpayers of New York State has become too plain to ignore. His day in the court of public opinion is coming.”

Edie Windsor’s Widow Slams LG Candidate Williams in Cuomo/Hochul Ad

Judith Kasen-Windsor, the widow of the late LGBT/gay marriage battle icon and activist Edie Windsor, appears in a new TD ad on behalf of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and LG Kathy Hochul, slamming Hochul’s Democratic primary opponent, Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, for his personal opposition to same-sex marriage.

Kasen-Windsor’s support of Cuomo and Hochul is not new. She endorsed the Democratic incumbents back in June, and ripped Williams for his positions on both gay marriage and abortion.

At the time, a spokesman for Williams said the councilman “100 percent supports” both gay marriage and abortion – an assertion that Williams made himself back in 2017 when he was trying (unsuccessfully) to become speaker of the Council.

In 2013, Williams said he would not want to overturn Roe v. Wade and believes women should have access to abortion, while still being personally opposed to it. On gay marriage, he said: “I personally believe the definition of marriage is between a male and a female, but that has nothing to do with my belief that government has to recognize everybody’s relationships as equal.”

The ad was released by Hochul’s campaign, which made no mention about where and when it’s running, who made it or how big the buy is – assuming there is one. Also, Kasen-Windsor mentions both Cuomo (twice) and Hochul (once) in the spot, though technically speaking, the two are running separately in the September primary.

The ad also mentions Cuomo’s primary opponent, actress/activist Cynthia Nixon.

The general election ballot won’t be set until after the primary, and it’s possible that Cuomo could end up running with a partner not of his choosing – in other words, Williams – if the councilman manages to defeat Hochul, a former congresswoman and ex-Erie County clerk.

Hochul went through this once before, with speculation that she could be a weak link for Cuomo in the 2014 primary, when she faced off against net neutrality guru and Columbia Law School Prof. Tim Wu, while Cuomo was battling Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout. Hochul defeated Wu, receiving just slightly less of the vote (about 60 percent) than Cuomo did (about 62 percent).

There has been some speculation that since the bulk of the primary vote comes out of New York City, where Williams is fairly well known, Hochul could be in more trouble this time around. She has been redoubling her attention on the downstate region of late, and this week reported raising $1.2 million.

“I was married to Edie Windsor, a champion for gay rights who took the fight for marriage equality all the way to the Supreme Court and won. Today, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee threatens our progress and our equality.”

“Two years after marriage equality became New York’s law, Cynthia Nixon’s running mate Mr. Williams said, and I quote: ‘I personally believe the definition of marriage is between a male and a female.'”

“New York will not go back. We need leaders like Governor Cuomo who are 100 percent committed to LGBTQ rights. New York must lead the way on LGBTQ rights and we can count on Kathy Hochul and Governor Andrew Cuomo.”

Nixon Calls For Trump’s Impeachment

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon on Tuesday called for President Donald Trump to be impeached, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it was a matter for Congress to determine if the president committed treason.

“Trump should be impeached,” she wrote on Twitter. “Trust the American people, not Republican Senators to make it happen.”

Cuomo in a conference call with reporters earlier in the morning, initially pointed to Congress when asked if the president should be censured or face impeachment.

Cuomo has been deeply critical of Trump, knocking his administration’s response to the storm damage on Puerto Rico and the president’s comments at a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I’ll leave that to the Republican Senate and the Republican Congress,” he said. “I think he stepped over the line yesterday that at a minimum they should have stepped up and condemned what he said. The silence was deafening from the Republicans yesterday.”

Later in the call and after Nixon’s tweet, Cuomo returned to the question and answered it again.

“At one point you have to put the responsibility of the citizenry above political loyalty,” he said, adding, “I think they are going to have a real issue about whether the president’s actions were treasonous.”

Cuomo Has Small-Dollar Donors, And Some Big Ones Too

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign finance filing shows an uptick in small-dollar giving, but he continued to receive tens of thousands of donations from a handful of individual donors.

The filing, made public Tuesday, shows Cuomo has $31 million in cash on hand and raised $6 million in the last six months.

His campaign has sought to tout the number of donations of under $250, which comprise more than half of the donations.

In one unusual example of this, it appears one donor, Christopher Kim, gave the governor’s re-election campaign $1 spread out over 69 donations. Kim shares an address with Julia Yang, a Cuomo aide.

Other small-dollar donations came from Cuomo’s political orbit, including his former communications director, Richard Bamberger, who gave $25.

Other small-dollar donors include Matt Wing, the husband of Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa, and a former press secretary to the governor, who gave $10. DeRosa’s father, lobbyist Giorgio DeRosa, also gave $10. Another small-dollar donor was Gregory Drilling, who is on the campaign’s payroll.

Meanwhile, donors with business before the state continued to give to Cuomo.

That includes the Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron, who gave Cuomo a combined $100,000 in April. Less than a month after those donations, the twins’s cryptocurrency, Zcash, was approved by the state regulators at the Department of Financial Services.

The Winklevoss twins later contributed $30,000 in June and headlined a small-dollar fundraiser aimed at attracting younger supporters.

Del Lago casino owner Thomas Wilmot gave Cuomo $25,000 in May as the casino sought state assistance amid a revenue struggle. Cuomo said he was opposed to a bailout for the casino.

Some of Cuomo’s donations also reflect his peace with the labor unions who did not endorse him in 2014. The New York AFL-CIO, which stayed neutral in the 2014 race, endorsed Cuomo earlier this month. Two days later, the union’s campaign arm gave his re-election bid $65,000.

New York Sues Feds Over Tax Law’s SALT Cap

New York officials on Tuesday moved to sue the federal government over the 2017 tax law that caps state and local tax deductions at $10,000.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the lawsuit, long in the planning stages since he first threatened it when the measure was being approved seven months ago, pointing to protections for states in the U.S. Constitution.

“This is their political attempt to hurt Democratic states,” Cuomo said. “It is totally repugnant and hypocritical of the conservative ideology that they preached which is limited federal government and protect states’ rights.”

Cuomo repeatedly called the tax law, as well as additional Trump administration’s actions on responding to Puerto Rico’s storm damage, immigration policies and the president’s appearance at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “repugnant” and “un-American.”

The suit was simultaneously announced by Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who called the cap on tax deductions an attempt to bully New York.

“This cap is unconstitutional – going well beyond settled limits on federal power to impose an income tax, while deliberately targeting New York and similar states in an attempt to coerce us into changing our fiscal policies and the vital programs they support,” she said.

The limit on state and local tax deductions impacts high-tax states like New York, California and New Jersey, and property taxpayers in especially high-tax areas, like the New York City area.

State lawmakers earlier this year approved legislation meant to soften the cap on the deductions through contributions to non-profit entities, though those provisions are being reviewed by the IRS.

Cuomo has railed against the Trump administration for the last year and has threatened to file a legal challenge to any effort that would repeal the Roe v. Wade decision.

In the call, Cuomo excoriated Trump for his comments made at the Helsinki press conference, in which the president sided with Putin’s denials of having anything to do with efforts to inject false reports and hack emails of Democratic officials during the 2016 presidential election.

On Tuesday, Cuomo stopped short when asked if there are grounds to either censure or impeach the president at this point.

“I’ll leave that to the Republican Senate and the Republican Congress,” he said. “I think he stepped over the line yesterday that at a minimum they should have stepped up and condemned what he said. The silence was deafening from the Republicans yesterday.”

Later in the call, Cuomo went further, suggesting that Congress may review whether Trump committed treason.

“At one point you have to put the responsibility of the citizenry above political loyalty,” he said, adding, “I think they are going to have a real issue about whether the president’s actions were treasonous.”

Gladd Hires Rhodes Campaign Chief For Senate Bid

Democratic state Senate candidate Aaron Gladd has hired the former campaign manager of congressional candidate Gareth Rhodes, a source with knowledge of the personnel move said.

Gladd is turning to Jesse Meyer in the race to succeed Republican Sen. Kathy Marchione in the 43rd Senate district, which encompasses parts of the Albany suburbs.

Meyer worked previously as a field organizer for Rep. Sean Patrick Maleony and was a regional field director for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign in Nevada.

Gladd, meanwhile, reported raising $129,000 in his July filing and has $126,000 in cash on hand. Republican Daphne Jordan reported $35,249 in cash on hand.