SD-36: HTC Endorses Bailey For Senate

The Hotel Trades Council, a politically key labor group that has grown in influence over the years, has endorsed Jamaal Bailey for the Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson.

“Jamaal Bailey’s lifelong commitment to serve his community is without par, and on behalf of all of our members in this district and across the state, we are proud to endorse Jamaal Bailey for State Senate,” said Hotel Trades Council Political Director Jason Ortiz. “Our members have fought hard and secured significant victories statewide for the working men and women of New York, and we need leaders like Jamaal who will continue fighting with us in Albany. We proudly endorse him and will work hard to ensure he represents the 36th State Senate District.”

HTC is a comparatively small labor group, but has over the years burnished a reputation for nimble politics and voter mobilization.

Bailey, a Bronx district leader, has close ties to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who was chair of the Bronx committee until he was elected to the chamber’s top post last year.

Hassell-Thompson is leaving the Senate at the end of the legislative session in June to join Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration as a special advisor on housing issues.

LCA Show Is May 24

The LCA Show, one of the oldest annual gridiron dinners in the country that skewers Albany politics, will be held May 24.

The folks behind this year’s program have released a trailer, below, satirizing the post-legislative leaders meeting press scrums (That’s Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco and Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy playing reporters).

Tickets for the event can be purchased in the LCA press room or by calling (518) 455-2388. A free dress rehearsal will be held the night before, and guests are asked to bring a canned food donation.

NY-13: O’Donnell Raises For Wright

Democratic Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell is fundraising for the congressional campaign of his Albany colleague, Assemblyman Keith Wright.

O’Donnell in a fundraising email sent Monday praised Wright’s time in the chamber, pointing to his support for women’s rights and economic justice concerns.

“I know that social and economic justice are Keith’s priorities. He stands with Planned Parenthood and fights to ensure that women can make their own healthcare choices,” he wrote in the email. “Together we advocated for affordable health coverage. Keith’s work ensures New York continues to protect and create affordable housing and give tenants the power to advocate for themselves. We need Keith to be a voice for our community’s values in Congress.”

O’Donnell did not enter the race to replace retiring Rep. Charlie Rangel last year in the 13th congressional district, which includes parts of the Bronx and Manhattan.

Wright is competing for the seat alongside seven other Democratic candidates, including Sen. Adriano Espaillat. Sen. Bill Perkins dropped his bid for the seat earlier this year.

In the email, O’Donnell pointed to the support Wright has received from elected officials ranging from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the praise from former President Bill Clinton.

Schumer Proposes Bill To Curb ‘Swatting’

Swatting – you may or may not have heard of it. It’s the act of calling in a fake police situation, like a bomb threat or a hostage situation.

“Swatting, which is on a dramatic increase, is not a prank. It’s a serious, serious problem but the law is minimal,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said.

Schumer said they’re finding there are a lot of reasons people make these calls which cost municipalities time, money and resources.

Sometimes it is a prank. Sometimes it’s criminals trying to divert law enforcement somewhere else.

Maybe most peculiar, Schumer said they’re finding a trend where video gamers, playing online, send law enforcement to the homes of other gamers when they’re angry they lost.

The Senator from New York said his bill will help put an end to a lot of that. It changes the federal penalty to include a maximum of eight years in prison and forces the perpetrator to pay the costs incurred because of the fake call.

The bill also proposes making it a crime for a person to block his or her phone number when calling law enforcement.

NY-22: Babinec Wants 28 Pages Of 9/11 Report Declassified

Congressional candidate Martin Babinec on Monday joined the push to release 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report, which are speculated to provide detail on the involvement of foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia in the attacks.

“I believe in the American people and know that they can handle the truth of whatever is in the 28 page report,” said Babinec, a businessman who is running on the Independence Party line in the 22nd congressional district.

The 28 pages of the government commission’s report remain classified, but lawmakers from both parties in recent months have been pushing for their release.

The documents are believed to show the level of support the Saudi government’s role in the attacks and the government’s relationship with the hijackers. Concerns have been raised, however, that the release of the confidential portion of the report could hurt the U.S. government’s relationship with Saudia Arabia, a key ally in the Arab world.

“Whether it’s grappling with both the old and emerging threats of terror or realigning our economy to face the challenges of the 21st century we need to have an honest and frank conversation with the American people,” Babinec said.

NYPIRG: Reinstate Purged Voters

The New York Public Interest Research Group is calling for the reinstatement of more than 126,000 voters who were purged from voter rolls ahead of New York’s presidential primaries last Tuesday.

“Too many questions remain about this purge,” NYPIRG said. “How could one person order the purging of so many in violation of State Law. Who else knew? What protocols were either not in place or not followed to prevent this scandal?”

In a statement, the good-government group said the city and state investigations should weigh whether to bring criminal charges in the incident.

“The Board of Elections must release a step-by-step uniform statement detailing exactly how each of their five borough offices conducts voter purges before any further action is taken,” the group said. “A similar statement should be provided concerning voter registration protocols and procedures for placing voters on the ‘inactive list.’”

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last week announced he was launching an investigation into the removal of the voters from the rolls, which was city Board of Elections officials now say was done through a clerical error. The chief clerk at the board’s offices in Brooklyn has since been removed.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, too, is auditing the much-maligned city Board of Elections over the matter.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday his administration was making $20 million available to the city Board of Elections in order to modernize its training and notification systems.

“The Board of Elections is an outdated organization in dire need of modernization – and we need to make these changes now,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We cannot allow a single voter to be disenfranchised because of the Board of Elections’ outdated operations. These common-sense reforms will bring much-needed transparency, modernize practices, and help ensure we do not experience an election day like last week’s again.”

Nozzolio’s Open Heart Surgery A Success, His Office Says

Republican Sen. Michael Nozzolio’s office in a statement on Monday morning announced the lawmaker had successfully undergone open-heart surgery and is on the path to recovery.

The procedure was conducted last week at the Cleveland Clinic, according to the statement.

“Senator Nozzolio is also very grateful for the work of his primary care physician, Dr. Timothy Ryan and cardiologist Dr. Maurice Varon who will both oversee his rehabilitation over the next eight to ten weeks,” the statement says.

“Senator Nozzolio and his wife Rosemary want to extend their thanks for the wonderful outpouring of prayers and words of encouragement he has received from thousands of concerned friends and constituents over the past months.”

Nozzolio, a veteran GOP lawmaker who is set to retire at the end of the year, announced in February he would not seek re-election due to his heart ailment.

There’s no word on Nozzolio’s return to the Senate, where Republicans hold a narrow majority heading into the final weeks of the 2016 legislative session. Earlier this month, Republican Sen. Jim Seward announced he had undergone surgery for bladder cancer surgery and would be stepping back from his Senate work.

Lawmakers return to Albany on May 3 to resume the legislative session.

Beyond NYC, GOP Seeks Advantage In de Blasio Fundraising Investigation

From the Morning Memo:

As the swirl around Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising efforts on behalf of Senate Democrats in 2014 continues, Republicans outside of New York City are pressing the issue to their advantage.

The fundraising probe, part of a broader investigation into campaign finance, an independent expenditure campaign backed by de Blasio and the NYPD, represents a glimmer of hope for New York Republicans in a year in which Democrats running down ballot were expected to do well, given the presidential election.

But now Republicans in battleground legislative and congressional campaigns are tying Democrats to the fundraising issues surrounding de Blasio and the 2014 effort to apparently funnel donations through county committees to individual candidates.

In the 19th congressional district, Republican Andrew Heaney, one of three GOP candidates vying for the nomination in the Hudson Valley battleground race, was the first to tie Democrat Zephyr Teachhout to the fundraising issues in the city.

In a statement released on Sunday, Heaney’s campaign called on Teachout to disavow the support from the Ulster County Democratic Committee, one of the organizations in question.

“Zephyr wants to have it both ways,” Heaney said in a statement. “She claims to be running on anti-corruption platform yet she is financing her campaign with PAC funds and enjoys the support of both the consultants and Ulster Party leaders who are all at the center of the ‘Team De Blasio,’ investigation.”

In the state Senate, meanwhile, Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy has released a series of press of releases drawing attention to his own race’s role in the investigation, with headlines such as “I Told You So.”

Republicans backing Murphy in 2014, including Putnam County Republican Chairman Anthony Scannapieco, sent a letter of complaint over the county fundraising plan to the Board of Election’s independent enforcement counsel. As was revealed last week, Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman in a report recommended criminal prosecution over the apparent attempt to skirt donation caps.

In a statement, Murphy called for a local investigation into the matter.

“Redistributing donations to evade contribution limits is wrong. Pay-to-play is wrong,” he said. “We need to get to the bottom of how far this goes, even if it is to the top. District Attorney Tendy is a no-nonsense type of guy, and in light of the confession made today in the Times, a local investigation is warranted.”

Murphy won re-election against Democrat Justin Wagner, one of several Senate candidates de Blasio backed in an effort for the party to gain control of the chamber.

Whether any of this matters by the time November rolls around remains to be seen. Republicans have had corruption scandals — and convictions — of their own, with both top leaders Dean Skelos and Tom Libous departing the chamber following guilty verdicts.

Senate Republicans certainly have their share of problems heading into the general election season: the conference just lost Skelos’s seat in Nassau County to Democrat Todd Kaminsky, the demographics continue to worsen and the base is deeply suspicious of the Long Island-based leadership.

But the mess surrounding the fundraising of 2014 could give some fuel to a depleted GOP tank in 2016.

Another Union Departs WFP

From the Morning Memo:

Yet another union is cutting ties with the Working Families Party, saying the organization has strayed from its founding mission to support “all New Yorkers,” and instead is routinely backing legislation and policies that could cost workers their jobs.

The Mason Tenders District Council Political Action Committee, a founding member of the WFP, will formally announce its decision today to break from the party.

“The WFP, in its current iteration, engages in selective application of it’s progressive principles,” said Mike McGuire, MTDCPAC political director and WFP board member.

“In many cases it has abandoned the working men and women of New York who have fought for decades to achieve middle-class status, especially those who build this city.”

Robert Bonanza, chairman of the MTDCPAC, criticized the WFP for focusing on campaign finance reform and climate change, while “ignoring overall job creation and economic development.”

He noted, for example, the party’s 2009 decision to oppose redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory – a project that has gone through many iterations and is still causing issues today.

The Mason Tenders’ move follows the decision by a number of other fellow unions – first reported by Ken Lovett of the NY Daily News – to either stop funding the WFP or cease participation altogether.

Lovett also reports this morning that the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union is not happy with the WFP, with union President Stuart Applebaum specifically citing the party’s decision to back Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the recent New York Democratic presidential primary.

WFP State Director Bill Lipton told Lovett that the party has “huge respect for all of our over 30 affiliates as well as our allies,” and he also insisted that the WFP has “never been in a stronger position than it is now” – organizationally, politically and financially – despite suffering a spate of union defections.

Clinton won New York handily, but that was due to her support from Democrat-dominated downstate. Sanders carried almost all of upstate, with the exception of several urban centers, though notably, not the City of Albany.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 9 a.m., NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray will deliver remarks on the mental health workforce at the NYU Silver School of Social Work and the Latino Social Workers Organization’s “Sí Se Puede: Social Workers United for Latino Advancement” Conference, NYU Kimmel Center for University Life, 60 Washington Square S., Manhattan.

At 9:30 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul and Rep. Louise Slaughter deliver remarks at RIT’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship grand opening, 40 Franklin St., Rochester. U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer will also attend.

At 10 a.m., Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr., Assemblyman Marcos Crespo and members of the Ecuadorian community will host a “Day of Solidarity” in the wake of the powerful earthquake that recently devastated Ecuador, Bronx County Building steps, 851 Grand Concourse at East 161st Street, the Bronx.

At 10:30 a.m., Hochul tours Monroe Community College’s Applied Technologies Center, 2485 W. Henrietta Rd., Rochester.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr., Manhattan BP Gale Brewer, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, NYC Council members Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez and Vanessa Gibson, and advocates announce second “Clean Slate” warrant forgiveness event, The Manhattan Family Justice Center, 80 Centre St., 5th Floor, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown participate in a candle lighting ceremony commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day, Edward A. Rath county office building, 16th floor conference room, 95 Franklin St., Buffalo.

At 11 a.m., in the wake of recently reported cases of Zika virus in both Niagara and Erie Counties, Schumer will appear in Buffalo to call for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the virus, location TBD.

Also at 11 a.m., members of 24 social justice and immigrants’ rights groups, community-based organizations and good government groups call for improved voting systems and a more transparent Board of Elections in light voter roll purges that affected the presidential primary elections, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At noon, children, parents, educators and elected officials rally at City Hall to stop cuts in the executive budget and make children a priority, Manhattan. (NYC Council members Mathieu Eugene, Rory Lancman, Helen Rosenthal, Rafael Espinal, and Fernando Cabrera and NYC Public Advocate Tish James will attend).

At 1 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will host a press conference to make an announcement on utilities, 103 79th St., Brooklyn.

At 1:15 p.m., Schumer urges the National Park Service to immediately add one of Albany’s statue to the National Historic Registry, 991 Broadway, Albany.

At 4 p.m., Beacon Prison Action hold a commemorative ceremony to mark one year since the death of Samuel Harrell, a bipolar man who died in prison, plaza in front of state office building at 125th and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., Manhattan.

Headlines…

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are joining forces in a last-ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the Republican presidential nomination. Within minutes of each other, the pair issued statements saying they will divide their efforts in upcoming contests with Cruz focusing on Indiana and Kasich devoting his efforts to Oregon and New Mexico

Cruz: “So let me make things real simple, even if (Trump) dresses up as Hillary Clinton, he shouldn’t be using the girl’s restroom.”

As Trump tried to re-make his campaign – and himself – to be more presidential, he has to deal with supporters like Carl Paladino, who refuse to conform and live to make trouble and say outrageous things.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said that his level of support for Clinton as the party’s nominee would be “totally dependent” on whether she incorporates a progressive agenda like his into her campaign against the Republican nominee.

“Roger Stone, the political provocateur, visited the bar at the Four Seasons Hotel on primary day last week to reminisce about his long friendship with Donald Trump,” which dates back to 1979, when Stone was a 26-year-old aide in Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign.

After a successful attack on corruption in New York’s state government, the hard-charging federal prosecutor in Manhattan, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, appears to have set his sights on New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has renewed his effort to recruit a challenger to his political nemesis, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, next year as the “smell of blood” from widening corruption probes has left de Blasio more vulnerable than ever, anonymous “top Democrats” tell Fred Dicker.

A hefty 11th-hour campaign contribution from a powerful labor union, the Communications Workers of America, to the Nassau County Democratic Party to help Assemblyman Todd Kainsky’s Senate campaign is raising eyebrows in light of the fund-raising scandal that has engulfed de Blasio.

Laurence Laufer, de Blasio’s longtime election lawyer, lashed out over the leak of a damning government memo alleging criminality in the mayor’s fund-raising efforts for a failed, Democratic bid to seize control of the state Senate in 2014.

Laufer criticized the state Board of Elections for referring a case against the mayor and his political allies for criminal investigation and accused the body of leaking the referral to the media.

The New York Post: “Bill de Blasio’s city is for sale.”

After being told by her Assembly leadership she could not screen the Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight” in a legislative hearing room during a May 4 lobby day on child sex abuse issues, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey has found a new location within the Capitol complex.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer vowed to fight for President Obama’s proposal to spend $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus.

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