Attorney General

AG Integrity Comparison, Compliments Of Schneiderman

Sen. Eric Schneiderman has followed the lead of the man he hopes to replace, AG Andrew Cuomo, and released a policy book that details at great length – 22,500 words and 60+ pages, to be exact – his proposals on eight subject areas over which the AG has jurisdiction.

Cuomo’s policy book is called the “New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action“, and even received a review from the New York Times.

Schneiderman’s tome doesn’t have a catchy title, but apparently, there’s more where this came from.

Yes, this is merely merely Book One, and it covers the following topics:

Civil Rights; Consumer Protection; Criminal Justice; the Environment; Financial Services & Investor Protection; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights; Health Care; and Public Integrity.

On that last issue, Schneiderman has helpfully provided a side-by-side comparison of his integrity-related policy proposals compared with those made by his opponents (where applicable). You can read that in full after the jump.

Up to this point, the Democratic AG candidates have been releasing white papers on this or that issue, trying to differentiate themselves – or, as the case may be, out-liberal one another – in hopes of getting a toehold in the crowded field.

But Schneiderman is the first one to go this comprehensive, or, as Maggie Haberman puts it “undeniably meaty” route.

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Queens Dem Chairman For Rice

The Queens Democratic Party blasted out this invite today to an event on the steps of Borough Hall Thursday afternoon at which its chairman, Rep. Joe Crowley, will endorse Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice for AG.


A Queens insider noted that while the endorsement is coming from Crowley alone and not the entire committee, the Queens party is generally disciplined and leader-driven, so this is like a de facto nod from the entire organization.

Prior to the Democratic convention in Rye, Rice landed the support of Brooklyn Democratic Chairman Vito Lopez (although both Sen. Eric Schneiderman and, more recently, Sean Coffey, have made in-roads into the borough), and also received nods from her home county organization (headed by state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs) and the neighboring Suffolk County Democrats, too.

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Meng For Rice

Not to be outdone by Sean Coffey’s show of outer borough support earlier today, Nassau County Executive Kathleen Rice is poised to announce she has landed the endorsement of Queens Assemblywoman Grace Meng, the Legislature’s lone Asian-American member.

In a statement released by the Rice campaign, Meng played up her status as a working mom, which is interesting, given that the DA is not only single and childless, but has been criticized for a position on working motherhood that she took early on in her tenure.

“As the only Asian-American elected official in Albany, a public interest attorney, a grassroots political activist and a new mom balancing the demands of a busy job with parenthood, I know that Kathleen Rice is the best person for me to partner with in state government,” Meng said.

“With every election, real advocates like Kathleen and I are making further inroads into government, and every underrepresented New Yorker benefits. I’m proud to endorse her.”

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The Battle For Brooklyn

The fight is on for the hearts and minds of Brooklyn Democrats, who will no doubt be a key voting bloc in the September AG primary.

With none of the five would-be Democratic replacements for Andrew Cuomo hailing from an outer borough – the lone contender who can claim that mantle is the Republican contender, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan – there’s a general sense that anywhere in NYC outside Manhattan is more or less up for grabs.

Sen. Eric Schneiderman locked down some early support in the borough of Kings, with Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson and Sen. Eric Adams among his key backers there. Another outspoken Brooklyn elected for Schneiderman is NYC Councilwoman Tish James.

The Brooklyn Democratic chairman, Assemblyman Vito Lopez, is in Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice’s corner. Today, three Lopez detractors – Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Ed Towns and NYC Councilwoman Dian Reyna – came out for Sean Coffey.

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Donovan: Stop-And-Frisk Good ‘Tool’, Keeping Info Off-Limits

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan appeared on “Good Day NY” this morning and explained why he had decided to support a bill signed into law by Gov. David Paterson to prevent the NYPD from keeping information gleaned from stop-and-frisks that don’t result in any charges.

Donovan insisted his position, which is in keeping with his five would-be Democratic AG opponents but against Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, wasn’t a politically motivated attempt to woo moderate voters in an increasingly blue state, saying it has “nothing to do with my race for attorney general.”

“I just think our whole government is based on less intrusive government on people’s rights,” he said (starting at about the 3:30-minute mark in the video that appears below).

“The individuals we’re talking about were stopped, there was a determination made that they weren’t committing a crime or about to commit a crime, there’s no actual legitimate reason why government should retain their personal information.”

Donovan called stop-and-frisks a “useful tool for fighting crime” and said he doesn’t agree with the allegation that the practice is overused or disproportionately targets minorities, saying each instance has to be judged on its own merits.

1199 Mails For Schneiderman

Here we have Exhibit A of why it’s good to have big labor in your corner in a crowded statewide Democratic primary.

SEIU/1199, which is backing Sen. Eric Schneiderman to replace Andrew Cuomo as state attorney general, dropped an introductory mailer for its preferred candidate that started landing late last week. (A NYC resident told me he spotted the mailer, but he’s a registered Democrat and didn’t receive it. I assume it went only to union households).

The piece is pretty straightforward, featuring photos of Schneiderman with 1199 President George Gresham as well as with rank-and-file members of the health care workers union its City Hall steps early endorsement of him back in April.

There’s also some text about fighting for social justice being a “way of life” that Schneiderman started when he was just 15 as a tutor at the Goddard Riverside Community Center.

I’m not sure that this is the first mail to drop in the AG primary, but I’m fairly certain its one of the first to be sent out by a third party on behalf of a candidate. In a low turnout election like this primary is expected to be, the support of unions with big GOTV operations like 1199’s could prove crucial – especially if the king of driving turnout, the Working Families Party, sits on its hand until after the primary is over.

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Diaz Sr. Will Campaign ‘Heavily’ (x3) For Brodsky

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. informed me today that he intends to campaign “heavily, heavily, heavily” for his preferred AG candidate, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and predicted the Westchester Democrat will “carry the Hispanic community – at least in the Bronx, if not all of the city.”

That is, of course, a snub to Diaz Sr.’s colleague, Sen. Eric Schneiderman, who is touted by supporters as the strongest Democratic AG contender among black and Hispanic voters in the absence of a candidate of color among the hopefuls angling to replace AG Andrew Cuomo.

Diaz Sr. has reportedly been telling his fellow senators that his main goal is to thwart Schneiderman, with whom he is very angry for leading the charge to oust ex-Sen. Hiram Monserrate from the Senate following the Queens Democrat’s conviction on a misdemeanor charge of assaulting his girlfriend.

The Bronx senator has been Monserrate’s most outspoken supporter, calling yesterday in a letter to Hispanic ministers for prayers and votes for the expelled Queens pol (now running for Assembly) as well as for himself and Sens. Frank Padavan and Shirley Huntley, who are being targeted by LGBT advocates for their “no” votes on marriage.

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Q Poll: Election? What Election?

The big-picture takeaway from today’s Q poll: Most New Yorkers are simply not focused yet on the fall elections…and, particularly when it comes to the race to replace AG Andrew Cuomo, they’re not clear who they might support when – and if – they start paying attention.

The big winner in the five-way Democratic AG primary was “don’t know”, with a whopping 81 percent of poll respondents who are enrolled members of the party choosing that answer when asked a generic “who will you vote for” question.

When asked to choose between the five contenders, 73 percent still said they didn’t have a favorite, while 11 percent picked Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice.

Five percent selected Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and four percent went with Sen. Eric Schneiderman. Eric Dinallo and Sean Coffey received 2 and 3 percent, respectively. Three percent said they won’t bother voting at all.

Interestingly, most New Yorkers – 51 percent – think the AG’s office is plenty powerful when it comes to fighting Albany corruption, which runs counter to the positions of several of the candidates, who say the office needs to be beefed up so they can adequately go after bad lawmakers.

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Pro-Schneiderman NYC Council Members Hit Rice On Voting

Two NYC Council members who support Sen. Eric Schneiderman for AG, Brad Lander (Brooklyn) and Melissa Mark-Viverito (East Harlem/Bronx), released a letter slamming Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice for her 18-year lapse in voting.

The Democratic duo, who serve as co-chairs of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, note Rice was living in a swing state (Pennsylvania) during the crucial 2000 presidential election and failed to vote for then-VP Al Gore.

“To explain this decision, you have used the excuse that ‘like a lot of young adults early in their professional lives, I failed to see the political significance of casting a ballot,'” the lawmakers wrote. “However, let us be clear: you were not a young person at this time, but a 35-year-old practicing attorney.”

“In all candor, if you could not see the “political significance” in voting for Al Gore over George Bush, one of the most destructive presidents of all time, then we have serious reason to question your judgment and commitment to core progressive values.”

“What was it that made such a decision so difficult? Did you fail to see the political significance of Bush’s promise to appoint anti-choice judges, his obsession with Iraq, or his commitment to eroding civil liberties?”

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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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