Attorney General

Brodsky: Hit Me, Hit Cuomo

Assemblyman Richard Brodsky today offered a novel defense in response to claims by his would-be AG primary opponents (most notably Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice) that this isn’t the year to elect a so-called “Albany insider” to the AG’s office.

“The problem with that is when Democrats adopt the worst part of the rhetoric of the Tea Party movement, the distrust of incumbents, per se, it’s not just an attack on me, it’s an attack on Andrew Cuomo – as much as he and I are parallel in our experiences as part of the Albany government,” Brodsky argued.

“The question isn’t what our generalized stereotype, it’s what we’ve done as individuals, what we can do.”

Brodsky is the latest AG contender to appear on “Capital Tonight” in the lead up to Saturday’s DRC straw poll. We’ve already spoken with Sen. Eric Schneiderman and attorney Sean Coffey.

My full interview with the Westchester County Democrat, who also discusses his vision for the AG’s office and his commitment not to have this year be a repeat of 2006 (when he dropped out of the AG’s race due to his daughter’s health concerns), will air at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Rice’s Rural Agenda

With less than a week to go before the Democratic Rural Conference straw poll in Niagara Falls, which will be the first contest of the 2010 election season, would-be AG Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice has released a six-point agenda for rural New York.

Rice’s proposal include creating a 311 line so residents in less-populated regions of the state can get legal help, appointing a deputy attorney general for rural affairs and visiting all 62 counties of the state during her first her in office, if she’s elected.

Rice basically makes the pitch that she is a “smart fiscal manager” who will be able to do more with less in the AG’s office to maximize services for all New Yorkers, no matter where they live.

The DA is a little late to this game. Some of her primary rivals have been focused on upstate for weeks now.
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And Then There Were Six?

If her schedule last night is any indication, former city Comptroller Liz Holtzman is edging closer to entering the already-crowded Democratic AG primary.

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Holtzman showed up at two different candidate forums in New York City, first attending an event hosted by the Campaign Finance Board and then jetting uptown to a closed-door meeting of the Manhattan Democratic Party.

“She said she’s still exploring, but by virtue of her showing up signals to me that she’s running,” said Assemblyman Keith Wright, who chairs the Manhattan Democratic organization.

“…Listen, I think she’s got a shot as much as anybody,” Wright continued. “Now is when the games begin and people start lobbying and politicking in advance of our vote.”

The Manhattan Dems will vote on their endorsements during the first or second week in May, Wright said.
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A Senator Endorses Brodsky For AG

Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer has opted to endorse Assemblyman Richard Brodsky for attorney general, opting to back her fellow Westchester Democrat over her Senate colleague, Eric Schneiderman.

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Many senators have already declared their support of Schneiderman, including Conference Leader John Sampson. But Oppenheimer apparently has decided local politics trumps chamber politics.

This makes sense when you consider the fact that Schneiderman isn’t going to be in the conference any longer, regardless of whether he wins or loses, and Brodsky is still going to be a Westchester resident, regardless of the outcome of his statewide bid.

(Of course, either one of these legislators – both of whom have to give up their current posts to run for AG – might yet opt to drop out of the race and seek re-election; they’ve got until petitions are filed to do so, I believe, and that’s after the convention).
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Dinallo: AG Candidates Should Keep Quiet on Espada

AG hopeful Eric DiNallo slamming his Democratic primary opponents for weighing in on the Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. scandal, saying it’s inappropriate for anyone seeking to succeed the current AG, Andrew Cuomo, to comment on a case he or she might end up inheriting.

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Would-be AGs Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice and Sen. Eric Schneiderman both released statements yesterday saying Espada should voluntarily relinquish his post as majority leader in the wake of the civil charges slapped on him by Cuomo.

Dinallo also announced a six-point agenda for investigating public corruption, which includes stringent new disclosure requirements for charities (like, say, the Bronx-based Soundview, which Cuomo says Espada looted of more than $14 million), using the Tweed Law to investigate the misuse of public funds, and pursuing election law violations under the existing Executive Law.
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Donovan Weighs In On KSM Trial

Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, who has been eyeing a potential run for AG on the GOP line, just released a lengthy statement slamming the US Justice Department for refusing to take New York City off the table as the location for the 9/11 terror trials.

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Donovan reiterated his call for the trial of “9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed” to take place before a military commission far away from the city’s federal courts. The press release notes that Donovan is the “official law enforcement official of Richmond County, which lost 268 residents in the terrorist attacks.

The DA decries the fact that the DOJ is so far refusing to heed the “common sense” arguments made by Mayor Bloomberg and others that the trials, which the city estimates will cost at least $200 million a year due to increased security costs and require turning Lower Manhattan into a “fortress.”
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Rice: Espada Should Give Up Title, Lulu (UpdatedX2)

Add Nasasu County DA Kathleen Rice to the list of elected officials calling on Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. to voluntarily abdicate his leadership post and the perks that come with it in light of his current legal troubles.

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(For the record, Espada doesn’t receive a lulu for the majority leader job. He does, however, get a $12,500 stipend for his position as Housing Committee chairman).

Rice is the first of the would-be Democrats seeking to replace AG Andrew Cuomo to issue a formal statement in the wake of his filing of a civil suit yesterday that accused Espada of bilking his Bronx nonprofit of some $14 million worth of charitable funds.

The DA also issued a challenge to her primary opponents to join her in calling for Espada to step down. That strikes me as a barb particularly directed at the lone Senator in the field, Eric Schneiderman, who so far hasn’t said anything about Espada’s predicament.
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Rice In Brooklyn With Lopez

A reader forwarded this invite to a reception being held next Wednesday for Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice with “special guests” Brooklyn Democratic County Chairman Vito Lopez and unnamed party districts leaders.

The event, which is scheduled to take place at Eamonn Doran Restaurant on Montague Street (more or less across the street from Borough Hall), does not appear to be a fundraiser, nor does it mention that Rice is one of at least five Democrats vying to replace AG Andrew Cuomo.

A few thoughts:

The Brooklyn Democratic Party’s nod is in hot demand because it represents a sizable chunk of the weighted state convention vote – 9.146 percent, to be exact, assuming all the state committee members vote as a block. The second-highest (the first is Manhattan, with 10.03 percent).
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Gillibrand: Global Matter ‘Fully Closed’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand continued to stick by Global Strategy Group today, in spite of repeated calls by one of her GOP opponents, David Malpass, for her to sever ties with the embattled polling/consulting firm following its $2 million pay-to-play pension fund settlement with AG Andrew Cuomo yesterday.

Gillibrand, who was in Albany for a small business event with Rep. Paul Tonko, pretty much stuck to same script employed earlier in the day by her spokesman Glen Caplin. So far, no candidates have dropped Global – not even one of its newer clients, AG hopeful/Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice – with the exception of Cuomo himself, who said he hasn’t had any contact with the firm since it worked on his 2006 AG campaign.

Here’s the exchange that took place between Gillibrand and YNN’s Solomon Syed:

SYED: Senator, do you have any comment about what’s going on with Global Strategies?

GILLIBRAND: You know, the Attorney General has done his investigation and I feel the matter is fully closed.

SYED: But are you going to maintain your connection?

GILLIBRAND: Yeah.

SYED: And why is that?

GILLIBRAND: Because I feel the Attorney General’s done his review and I think he feels satisfied and the investigation’s closed. So, I think it has run its course.

SYED: It doesn’t disturb you that they are involved in this pension situation at all?

GILLIBRAND: Well, I think the Attorney General has done his full analysis and he’s reached his own judgment and he feels the matter has been satisfied and closed, so I agree.

SYED: Have you communicated with him at all on that?

GILLIBRAND: No, no. I’ve just read the press like you have.

Jenkins, Mendez For Schneiderman

Sen. Eric Schneiderman has added to the endorsement list and staffing roster for his AG campaign, announcing the support of a fellow Manhattan Democratic lawmaker and the hiring of a political consultant.

Councilwoman Rosie Mendez has backed Schneiderman’s statewide effort, calling him a “progressive champion” and a “real reformer with a record of getting things done.”

“From LGBT rights to public transportation to criminal justice reform, Eric Schneiderman has always stood up for our values and delivered – that is why I am supporting him for attorney general,” Mendez added in a statement released by the senator’s campaign.

Mendez is the second Manhattan councilwoman to announce her support of Schneiderman this week. (The first was Inez Dickens). Council Speaker Christine Quinn was on hand with the senator officially kicked off his AG campaign last weekend on the steps of City Hall.
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