Attorney General

Coffey To Drop Another $1M On His Campaign

In case you missed the second item in my DN column today:

One of the five Democrats vying to replace Cuomo, Sean Coffey, is poised to dump another $1 million of his own fortune into his campaign, bringing his self-funding tally to $3 million.

Coffey said he’s making the investment so he can bring his on-hand tally up to almost $4 million, which is what the perceived Democratic AG front-runner, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, has available. (To be exact, she’s got $4.1 million on hand).

“I think she sees that the race is going to end up a horse race between her and me, and I want her to know I accept the challenge and am looking forward to it,” Coffey said.

I spoke to Coffey at some length yesterday afternoon, and couldn’t fit all of what he told me into the column. So here are some outtakes:

Coffey hopes to emulate Mario Cuomo’s successful 1982 campaign for governor by doing well upstate.

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Fun Dem AG Facts

At the tail end of WABC-TV’s televised AG debate this afternoon, the five Democratic contenders were asked to tell voters something “surprising” about themselves.

Sean Coffey was up first, and he was so surprised by the question that he couldn’t come up with anything and had to be given time to think about it.

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky: “My daughter is a terrific ukulele player.”

Former state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo: “I was a severe stutterer as a child. I’m still a stutterer as an adult. All the public speaking you see I’ve had to overcome that. It’s been an important part of my public service.”

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice: “I’ve run two marathons.”

Sen. Eric Schneiderman: “I’m the national co-chair of Legislators Against Illegal Guns and have worked hard fighting the NRA, but I love to shoot.” (Do you own a gun?) “No. But I was a deputy sheriff. I’ve shot over the years.”

Coffey (second try): “Perhaps reflective of my preparation for today, I’ve undergone training to resist enhanced interrogation techniques.”

(For the record, none of the AG contenders own a gun…that was a follow up in light of Schneiderman’s answer).

Brodsky Accuses Rice Of ‘Electronic’ Stop-And-Frisk

On the heels of Gov. David Paterson’s signing this morning of a bill that bans the NYPD from maintaining information gleaned from stop-and-frisks that turn up no illegal activity, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky is accusing his AG rival, Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice, to cease similar efforts employed by her office.

Brodsky says Rice runs “electronic” stop-and-frisk programs that he described as follows:

“(I)nnocent drivers passing through certain neighborhoods had pictures taken of the cars, which were then processed through a License Plate recognition System (LPRS). LPRS will reveal the name and address of the cars owner.”

“After sorting the photo date DA Rice had a letter sent to all car owners who did not live in the immediate vicinity indicating the ‘the police department’s knowledge of their automobile’s presence in the area.’, according to Rice.”

“The cars were not engaged in any other activity other than lawfully driving on public streets, and were not engaged in or suspected of any criminal or inappropriate activity. It is believed that the police records are still in existence.”

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Schneiderman Touts 2nd-Place Cash Finish (Updated)

Well, now we understand why Sen. Eric Schneiderman waited until all his opponents had released their fundraising summaries before he put his out…

On the heels of Assemblyman Richard Brodsky’s announcement that he had raised $519,000 over the last six months comes a press release from Schneiderman’s campaign, lauding his second-place finish in the AG contenders’ dash for cash.

“Despite a delay in fundraising due to the Capitol’s late-ending session, Eric Schneiderman today reported raising the second highest total this period,” the release states.

“With $1.6 million raised over the last six months, and $2.7 million overall, Schneiderman more than doubled Sean Coffey, who reported raising $780,000 in the same period (Coffey bolstered this fundraising with a $2 million loan to himself), also doubling Eric Dinallo (at $787,000), Richard Brodsky ($519,000), and Dan Donovan (at $611,000).”

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Brodsky Raises $519K, Has $1.6 M On Hand (Updated)

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky is the fifth of the AG contenders to release his campaign finance summary, reporting he has raised $519,154 over the past six months and has $1.6 million on hand.

That’s only $300,000 more than the Westchester Democrat reported having in his campaign coffers as of mid-January, and much of that was cash he had been raising prior to announcing his intention to seek the office AG Andrew Cuomo is vacating.

Brodsky’s campaign manager Jon Lipshutz insisted his candidate’s cash numbers are strong, saying:

“We are very happy with the strong grassroots operation that we have built throughout the state and have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from everyday people in every corner of New York.”

“With this broad base of support that grows stronger every day, we already have the resources we need to be successful in this election and expect to raise significantly more.”

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Dinallo Raises $2.5 M Overall, $787 K Since January

Another of the five Democrats competing to succeed Andrew Cuomo as attorney general has released his fundraising figures.

Former NYS Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo has raised more than $2.5 million since he began his first ever campaign for elected office.  He raised $787,000 in that last six months and currently has $1.7 million on hand.  That puts him behind at least two of his primary opponents in terms of fundraising, but ahead the lone Republican seeking the AG gig.

-Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice has $4.15 million on hand.

-Attorney Sean Coffey has $2.9 million on hand.

-Republican Staten Island DA Dan Donovan has $511,276 on hand.

We are still awaiting filing information from Manhattan Senator Eric Schneiderman and Westchester Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.

$661K For Donovan

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, the lone Republican AG contender, has raised $661,570 since entering the race in the beginning of June, according to his campaign.

That breaks down to about $101,965 per week over the past six weeks, which is pretty impressive.

(More than $150,000 reportedly came from a single event hosted for Donovan by his wealthiest supporter, Mayor Bloomberg. The shindig at the mayor’s Upper East Side townhouse was attended by a host of GOP names, including state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, with whom Donovan hasn’t always had the greatest rapport).

No details about Donovan’s fundraising – like who gave what, how much he spent (AKA: the “burn” rate) etc. – were immediately available. That will all be contained in the report due Thursday. Candidates traditionally release their top lines in advance in hopes of controlling the fundraising news cycle – at least in the short term.

UPDATE: Donovan has $511,276 on hand, which means he spent about $150,000.

This is a good start for Donovan, but it still leaves him far behind the five Democratic AG contenders, all of whom reported raising at least $1 million as of mid-January. Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice has already reported having more than $4 million million on hand.

Donovan spokeswoman Virginia Lam (who used to work for Bloomberg), insisted the campaign feels its fundraising is “right on target,” adding:

” Over the past six weeks, voters have overwhelmingly responded positively to Dan and his platform to root out public corruption, and the numbers reflect that.”

Rice Raises $2.9 M, Has $4.15 On Hand

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice is the first of the attorney general contenders to release her July 15 campaign finance report toplines, announcing she has raised $2.9 million over the past six months and has $4.15 million on hand.

In mid-January, Rice reported having $2.4 million on hand. She had a head start because she had run for re-election in 2009 (she was the lone Democratic bright spot in a sea of GOP victories in Nassau County), but raised $1.4 million in the six weeks leading up to the Jan. 15 reporting date.

“This is the first real test of New Yorkers’ support for candidates in the six-way contest for attorney general, and it’s clear that a great number of them see District Attorney Rice as the best person for the job,” said Rice’s campaign manager Jeffrey Stein.

“The best candidates bring together a coalition of grassroots and institutional supporters, and D.A. Rice has done that with her record and her promise to clean up Albany, keep Wall Street accountable and be a fighter for New Yorkers in their everyday lives. This report makes clear that D.A. Rice will have the resources it takes to win this race.”

The Democratic AG field includes one serious self funder: Sean Coffey, who has said he will dump $2 million of his own cash into the race, but also reported raising $1.7 million in January.

The only AG contender who has not yet filed any campaign finance reports is the lone Republican candidate, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, who entered the race after the January deadline had already passed.

Concerns about fundraising kept Donovan from entering the race initially. He estimated it would cost upwards of $12 million to really be competitive. But he eventually threw his hat into the ring, and has received fundraising assistance from Mayor Bloomberg.

Diaz Sr. Wants Schneiderman Investigated

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. is continuing to play his role of chief amigo defender and general thorn in the side of Senate Democratic leadership to the hilt, issuing a statement last night calling for an investigation of the man with the “self-righteous cowboy act who went after Hiram Monserrate.”

That, of course, would be Sen. Eric Schneiderman, who headed up the committee that successfully pushed for Monserrate’s expulsion in February.

“Why has there been no arrest in this crime committed by Senator Eric Schneiderman’s driver?” Diaz Sr. demanded.

“If I were to permit my staff person to commit a hit-and-run or, better yet, if Senator Pedro Espada had permitted his staff person to leave the scene of a car accident, would neither of us be arrested?”

“Will Eric Schneiderman come forward and answer the following questions that would be posed to any DWB who just crashed their car into a parked car: ‘When was the last time you had anything to drink and were you taking any drugs?’

“Or was this situation much simpler to understand: the Senator was just in a hurry and didn’t want his staff member to delay him by stopping?”

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McCall On Schneiderman’s ‘Unassailable Integrity’

Former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall is satisfied with Sen. Eric Schneiderman’s explanation of why he departed the scene of a car accident that did an estimated $3,000 worth of damage to a NY1 employee’s minivan.

McCall, who is a NY1 commentator on the “Wise Guys” segment and supports Schneiderman for AG, initially told NY1’s Grace Rauh that the Manhattan senator displayed a “terrible lapse of judgment” after the car in which he was riding swiped a parked car outside Manhattan’s Chelsea Market and then drove away without leaving so much as a note.

But after Schneiderman had appeared on NY1’s “Inside City Hall” to explain himself, and shortly before he appeared on “Capital Tonight” to do the same thing, his campaign issued the following statement from McCall:

“I have heard Eric’s explanation of what occurred, accept it, and stand by him 100 percent. He is a man of unassailable integrity.”

Schneiderman said the whole incident was just a misunderstanding, insiting neither he nor anyone else in his car were aware of the fact that they had hit another vehicle. If they had known at the time, he said, they would not have left the scene.