Attorney General

In Video, Eve Says Trump Is Using ‘1984’ As A Playbook

The campaign of Democratic attorney general candidate Leecia Eve on Wednesday released a video drawing a parallel between President Donald Trump and Big Brother in the dystopian novel “1984.”

In the video, Eve reads from the George Orwell classic, saying that it amounts to Trump’s “playbook.”

“They tell us one thing, but our own eyes see it differently,” she said in the ad.

The video then segues into Eve’s personal history and biography before turning back to Trump.

“We are New York. We lead. We stand up to Donald Trump and any threat to our values and way of life,” she said in the spot. “So when Donald Trump goes after the rights of workers, immigrants, women — when he and his Supreme Court go after human rights, civil rights, reproductive rights — he’s going to have to go through me – and the 20 million New Yorkers I’m fighting for.”

Virtually all of the four candidates for attorney general on the Democratic side have pledged to act as a bulwark against Trump in the attorney general’s office — continuing on the work of an office that has challenged a variety of the administration’s policies on the environment, immigration and other issues.

Eve faces New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Zephyr Teachout in a Democratic primary on Sept. 13. The winner faces GOP nominee Keith Wofford.

James: AG Can’t Be A ‘One-Trick Pony’

The primary rivals of Democratic attorney general candidate Letitia James on Tuesday pounced after she told The New York Times in an interview she would not seek to become the next “sheriff of Wall Street.”

Hours later on Tuesday, James sought to contain the fallout from the statement, insisting the office can and should do more beyond prosecuting bad actors on Wall Street, but promised to be “laser-focused” on financial fraud.

The trouble started with an interview in The Times published Tuesday morning in which James, the New York City public advocate, told the newspaper, “It’s really, critically important that I not be known as the ‘Sheriff on Wall Street.’”

That phrase has its own loaded history, having first been embraced by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who as governor resigned amid a prostitution scandal, and later Andrew Cuomo when he served in the AG’s office.

Cuomo has endorsed James’s bid for attorney general, leading to questions about her degree of independence from the governor.

The story was pounced on by James’s rivals, including Zephyr Teachout.

“I can’t wait to be known as the Sheriff of Wall Street, because now more than ever when Congress is awash in corporate cash, the New York Attorney General must be the regulator of last resort,” Teachout said.

“The AG must protect New Yorkers from financial frauds and consumer rip-offs, and out of control speculators who take advantage of people and crash our markets. I’ve been fighting against lawlessness on Wall Street for over a decade, standing up to them after the financial crisis, and organizing against the lobbyists for financial reform. It has never been more important to enforce state laws with the rollback of Dodd-Frank and the gutting of the CFPB thanks to Congress.”

For her part, James in her own statement clarified the office is multi-pronged, but doesn’t need a tabloid headline-like name to get results.

“The Attorney General cannot be a one-trick pony. I will be laser-focused on taking on Wall Street abuses — I don’t need a moniker for that,” she said.

“But the Attorney General’s Office must also be focused on ending the gun violence crisis that is killing young men across the state, fighting the Trump Administration’s draconian immigration policies, protecting the environment — from lead in the water in Buffalo to illegal dumping on Long Island — and 100 other priorities that must be handled at the same time. Anyone suggesting otherwise is doing a disservice to the powers of the office and the people of New York.”

Eve Releases Anti-Corruption, Voting Reform Platform

Democratic candidate for attorney general Leecia Eve on Friday unveiled an anti-corruption platform that includes election and campaign finance reforms as well.

Eve wants to end the oft-maligned Joint Commission on Public Ethics and replace it with a non-partisan commission and would push to create early voting and automatic voter registration.

She also wants to close the loophole that allows unlimited donations through a web of limited liability companies.

And she wants “no-excuse” absentee balloting applications.

At the same time, the platform includes a plan to investigate and prosecute sexual harassment in state government support for banning outside income for state lawmakers while also increasing legislators’ salaries.

Nearly all of the proposals would require legislation and approval from the governor.

“New York State has been a progressive leader in ensuring our rights as citizens are protected, from civil rights to the women’s rights movement and the LGBTQ community, among others,” Eve said.

“As Attorney General, I will fearlessly and effectively continue in this tradition,” said Leecia Eve. “But when it comes to our voting laws and issues of corruption and campaign finance, we have a long way to go – and that’s on us.”

Eve is running in a four-way primary for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, a race that includes New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Zephyr Teachout.

James Releases Criminal Justice Reform Plan

The attorney general’s role as special prosecutor when it comes to civilians dying during interactions with police or being injured or sexually assaulted should be codified in state law, according to a criminal justice platform released Wednesday by Letitia James.

James, the New York City public advocate, is one of four Democrats vying for the party’s nomination for attorney general in a Sept. 13 primary.

The platform includes a push for the state to fund body cameras for cops and allow for more open discovery rules statewide.

And James is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation that would create a prosecutorial misconduct commission for locally elected district attorneys.

Cuomo, who has endorsed James, has not given an indication whether he would sign the bill, which is opposed by the state’s district attorneys.

“When too many feel the scales of justice are tilted against them, we must change the system. As the State’s top law enforcement official, I will bring accountability and transparency to outdated systems in dire need of reform,” James said in a statement.

James faces Leecia Eve, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Zephyr Teachout in the primary.

The full platform can be found here.

NYC Councilwomen Endorse James for AG

From the Morning Memo:

A group of female New York City Council members endorsed Public Advocate Letitia “Tish” James for AG, adding their names to a growing list of Democratic elected officials throwing their support behind her candidacy.

Taking up the torch for James were: Adrienne Adams, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Diana Ayala, Margaret Chin, Laurie Cumbo, Vanessa Gibson, Karen Koslowitz, Carlina Rivera, Deborah Rose, and Helen Rosenthal.

The women, all Democrats, were united in their praise of James’ record, particularly her stance on women’s rights.

“Throughout her career, Tish James has been a strong voice for women’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare options,” Gibson said. “At a time when these rights are under attack by the Trump Administration, it is critical that New York elects an Attorney General who will never back down from protecting these most basic rights. Tish James is the Attorney General New York needs in order to ensure that women’s rights and access to basic healthcare are protected.”

James released a series of proposals last week that were aimed at easing access to medical care and abortion services for New York women, as well as eliminating workplace discrimination during pregnancies.

Like the governor, who is backing her candidacy to fill the vacancy left by the abrupt departure of former AG Eric Schneiderman, James has been vocal in her support of the Reproductive Health Act, adding her voice to those calling on the GOP-lead state Senate to return to Albany to pass it.

Before serving as public advocate, James was herself a Council member. She was elected on the Working Families Party line – the party’s first candidate to land a citywide office – but has since distanced herself from the WFP, which is at war with the governor and backing his primary challenger, Cynthia Nixon.

James was endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo before the Democratic state convention in May, and since then has been embraced by party members statewide. Last week she traveled to Puerto Rico with Cuomo along with SUNY and CUNY students volunteering on the recovering island for class credit.

James faces three fellow Democrats in the upcoming September primary: NY-18 Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, ex-Cuomo aide and Buffalo native Leecia Eve and Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachour, who ran an unsuccessful primary challenge against Cuomo in 2014.

Underwood Sues To Block Distribution Of 3-D Gun Materials

Attorney General Barbara Underwood has filed a lawsuit that would seek to bar the distribution of materials used to print and manufacturer a firearm through a 3-D printer.

The lawsuit was filed with New York’s attorney general office as well as state attorneys general in Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York, and the District of Columbia.

“It is, simply, crazy to give criminals the tools to build untraceable, undetectable 3-D printed guns at the touch of a button. Yet that’s exactly what the Trump administration is allowing,” Underwood said. “We won’t stand by as New Yorkers’ safety is jeopardized by this abrupt about-face by the federal government.”

The suit stems from Defense Distributed, a consortium that distributes open-source materials that could be downloaded to print 3-D guns, which filed a legal challenge in 2015 after the federal government forced the removal of the instruction manual from the internet.

President Donald Trump’s administration last month sought to settle the case, allowing the downloading of materials to construct the firearms.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, a state lawmaker from Manhattan, introduced legislation this week that would regulate printable guns.

“Thanks to the Trump administration, anyone in America or across the world–be it a teenager, felon, or terrorist–can evade a background check and manufacture a dangerous weapon with a click of a button. This is an existential threat to gun control as we know it,” Hoylman said. “It is unconscionable to put the lives of New Yorkers and Americans at risk just to satisfy the demands of the gun lobby. It’s now up to New York to close this deadly loophole that will allow dangerous individuals to access a gun on demand, and I’m proud to take those initial steps today.”

James As AG Would Seek To Protect Abortion Rights

Democratic attorney general candidate Letitia James on Friday released a platform that would seek to bolster abortion and reproductive rights in the state, using her office to investigate and pursue legal action against pregnancy crisis centers deemed to be committing “fraud” against women as well as pursue companies that deny birth control coverage.

“New York’s women need an Attorney General who not only supports their right to reproductive freedom, but one who understands the critical issues personally,” said Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat, in a statement. “I have every confidence that Tish James understands the multi-faceted aspect of women’s healthcare needs and the threats they face everyday in accessing quality care.”

The platform includes a plan to investigate pregnancy crisis centers that supporters of abortion rights say draw women into believing they are being counseled for an abortion procedure, but are actually dissuaded.

She would also take legal action against companies that bar the coverage of birth control coverage for reasons other than religious or moral concerns.

At the same time, James said she would investigate cases of workplace discrimination toward pregnant women.

And James said she would push for the passage of the Reproductive Health Act, a measure meant to strengthen the state’s abortion laws and has become a flashpoint in the race for governor.

James, the New York City public advocate, is running in a four-way race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, facing Leecia Eve, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and Zephyr Teachout.

Republican Keith Wofford is the presumptive GOP nominee for attorney general.

Democrat Eric Schneiderman resigned in May amid domestic violence charges and Barbara Underwood, appointed by the Legislature in May, will not seek a full term.

For Now, AG Candidates Have Some Parity On Fundraising

It’s still early, but the unexpected resignation of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman following domestic violence allegations set off a scramble to replace him — and raise money to mount a competitive bid.

With five candidates — four Democrats and one Republican — in the mix, the fundraising for now has shown some parity when it comes to total amounts raised over the last two months, at least for now.

Take Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is set to report having raised $1.1 million. He will report $4.1 million in cash on hand.

It’s not clear how much of that will have been transferred from another account. But Maloney’s campaign points to 1,500 individual donations and 90 percent of the contributions coming in at $200 or less.

Republican Keith Wofford, meanwhile, also raised $1 million and has $1 million in cash on hand.

He’s received support from the New York Republican Committee, including $150,000 transfer and a personal loan of $100,000. Republican Chairman Ed Cox gave Wofford’s bid $44,000.

Schneiderman Filed For Retirement In June

Disgraced former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed for retirement on June 5 and will earn a nearly $64,000 pension.

Schneiderman resigned in May amid allegations of domestic abuse leveled by multiple women who spoke to The New Yorker.

Schneiderman last month received a pro-rated pension payment of $4,618 and will receive monthly payments of $5,329.

The former attorney general has not yet been criminally charged based on the accusations.

His resignation triggered a Democratic primary for the office Schneiderman had held since 2011. Currently, there are four Democrats vying for the nomination: Leecia Eve, Zephyr Teachout, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney and New York City Public Advocate Tish James.

Republican Keith Wofford is the presumptive GOP nominee for attorney general.

NY Bernie Backers Stick With Teachout

The New York-based organization People for Bernie has continued its track record of backing Fordham Law School Prof. Zephyr Teachout, announcing over th weekend its endorsement of her state attorney general bid.

The co-founders of The People for Bernie – Kat Brezler Charles Lenchner Winnie Wong and Moumita Ahmed – worked on Zephyr’s unsuccessful gubernatorial run in 2014, in which she turned in a stronger-than-expected performance against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary.

The organization also backed Teachout in 2016, when she ran unsuccessfully for an open House seat, (vacated by former Republican Rep. Chris Gibson), against Republican John Faso. Sanders himself endorsed and campaigned with Teachout in that campaign, but she lost the general election to Faso in November.

“Zephyr Teachout literally wrote the book about corruption,” Brezler said. “We need her tenacity to fight back against corporate power.”

In true Sanders style, People for Bernie announced its support of Teachout in a tweet, saying it will focus on helping her petition her way onto the ballot after she failed to make the cut at the state Democratic Party convention in May.

NYC Public Advocate Tish James, who is supported by Cuomo, was selected by the party rank-and-file at the convention to be the official Democratic nominee.

Also seeking to petition onto the September ballot is Leecia Eve, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton and Cuomo who is on leave from her job as a lobbyist and top government affairs official for Verizon; and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who ran unsuccessfully for AG in 2006 – the year Cuomo won the four-way Democratic primary for that office, and went on to beat Republican Jeanine Pirro in the November election.

Throughout all of her political campaigns to date, Teachout has focused on campaign finance reform. That focus continued today, when she highlighted the fact that she is the only Democratic AG candidate to reject exploiting the LLC loophole to maximize her fundraising capability.

Teachout also took a swipe at James for being the beneficiary of a fundraiser big money fundraiser being headlined next week by Cuomo, who has raised $16.5 million since 2011 from LLCs alone.

“I accept no corporate PAC money, and no LLC money,” Teachout said. “This is not complicated: No attorney general should take money from corporations she is charged with overseeing and investigating and whose law breaking she may prosecute. When law enforcement candidates takes corporate money, it undermines trust in the law itself, and people get shut out.”

Though not getting the Democratic nod at the convention complicated things for Teachout, forcing her to expend time and resources to get onto the ballot, it also freed her, in a sense, to take positions far to the left of what the governor, (who basically runs the party), is comfortable with. That could prove problematic in a general election, but might help her eke out a victory in the primary.