Tom Reed

Cuomo Says Reed, Trump Both View DOJ As A ‘Political Attack Mechanism’

Just in case you were wondering what New York State’s newly-resolved dispute with the Seneca Nation over Thruway repairs on Seneca territory had to do with the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, Governor Andrew Cuomo connected the dots Wednesday.

Cuomo said in both cases, the Republican administration viewed the Department of Justice as a “political attack mechanism.”

“Congressman Reed in true form of the Trump administration calls for the Department of Justice to investigate me because the Thruway’s not repairing the road, which is interesting because it’s emblematic of how the Republicans use the Justice Department,” the governor said during an interview on WAMC with Alan Chartock.

A conversation between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred the impeachment inquiry. During the conversation, Trump said he would direct Attorney General William Barr to contact Zelensky about a potential investigation of Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, his son, and possible interference in a Ukrainian investigation into a company with which Biden’s son was involved.

Cuomo suggested it represented the same tactic Reed used in calling for a DOJ investigation into whether the governor was abusing his power by not fixing the Thruway and possibly endangering the public by withholding resources as leverage in an unrelated dispute over casino revenue. The governor once again called those accusations unfounded.

“Reed calls for my investigation by the Department of Justice, which by the way is U.S. attorneys who are all appointed politically, without a scintilla of evidence. What theory is there for the federal government to investigate me because the Thruway Authority isn’t allowed to fix a piece of road controlled by the Senecas,” he said.

The two politicians have feuded over the road for weeks, with their offices exchanging snarky statements, and Reed holding two press conferences. With the Thruway Authority and the Senecas finally reaching an agreement Wednesday, Reed credited his DOJ request as a factor that pushed it along.

“Fixing the road is the right thing to do for the safety of the travelling public,” he said. “We were happy to lead the public outcry over the road conditions for the hardworking people we care about and represent, and we will continue to be your voice in both Albany and Washington, D.C.”

Cuomo’s senior advisor Rich Azzopardi said if Reed thought his “ham-fisted publicity stunts actually accomplished anything substantive that sadly tells you everything you need to know about Trump’s Washington.”

Reed responded on Twitter like this:

Rep. Reed Collapses In U.S. Capitol’s Cannon Rotunda

Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY-23, collapsed Thursday afternoon at the U.S. Capitol as he was getting ready to do a live interview with Fox News.

Spectrum News Reporter Samantha Jo Roth witnessed the scene at the Cannon Rotunda. She said he was unconscious for roughly 30 seconds.

The congressman was alert afterward and Roth said he told police officers who came to assist, “I’m back.” A spokesperson for Reed’s office said he appears to be recovering.

“Tom is in good condition, responsive, and being checked out by medical personnel following today’s fall,” spokesperson Will Reinert said.

He was taken to George Washington University Hospital in Downtown Washington, D.C. for evaluation.

Reed Criticizes Governor For Death In Salamanca

From the Morning Memo:

Rep. Tom Reed is connecting the recent death in Salamanca to the state’s failure to deliver funding to the city.

In a press release, Reed shared the story from Fire Chief Nick Bocharski. The chief said last week there was only one firefighter available to respond to a person suffering from cardiac arrest.

He said the emergency responder performed what life-saving measures he could by himself but without enough staff to immediately transport, the “person passed away, even after being revived, due to a 29-minute delay.”

“Governor, this falls directly in your lap,” Bocharski was quoted in Reed’s release.

The congressman noted the city had been planning on hiring two more firefighter but was unable to because of a budget shortfall. The state typically shares casino revenue from the Seneca Nation with the three cities where the Seneca Casino’s operate: Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca.

However, the Nation stopped making those payments since 2017 and the funding to the cities subsequently stopped.

“It is clear the Governor has taken this political spat with the Seneca Nation too far,” Reed said. “It is time for the Governor to end this dispute. Deliver the funds before someone else dies and resolve the unrelated Seneca dispute in the appropriate forum. We are happy to mediate if needed.”

A arbitration panel did rule the Senecas still owe the state for the payments but the Senecas have continued to refuse as they pursue legal options. This summer the state did front Niagara Falls $5 million to help cover its shortfall.

Reed said the Salamanca mayor has said the state owes the city $15 million. However, the governor’s office said the it last spoke with Salamanca leaders in April and nobody has asked for any assistance.

“Once again the Seneca’s favorite lackey has shown he will say anything and do anything to give cover to his friends and deflect from the fact that they reneged on their obligations under the compact and under the agreed upon arbitration. The only good news is that the more time Reed commits to these craven stunts, the less time he has to attempt to shred our Medicaid system – just like he tried to do with his partner in crime, indicted Wall Street fraudster Chris Collins,” Governor Cuomo’s Senior Advisor Rich Azzopardi said.

Reed’s office and the governor’s office have publicly feuded for about a month now over the condition of a portion of the Thruway running through Seneca Territory.

Reed’s Office Open To Helping State And Senecas Mediate Thruway Issues

Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY-23, said he will refer to the Department of Justice moving forward on a request he made for a federal investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, and his administration.

The congressman said he did have a positive first impression from U.S. Attorney J.P. Kennedy about how his office will handle concerns about the disrepair of a section of Thruway that runs through Seneca Nation territory. The governor acknowledged last week there was a connection between the lack of repairs and an ongoing dispute between the Senecas and the state over casino revenue.

Reed believes Cuomo may be abusing his authority and misusing federal funds by tying together unrelated issues. He voiced those concerns in a letter to Attorney General William Barr and hand-delivered Tuesday to Kennedy in Buffalo.

“(Kennedy) understands that this is a serious request that what we’re trying to do here in regards to holding the governor’s office but at the same time that our priority mission throughout all of this is to make sure the traveling public is safe,” Reed said.

Cuomo’s office dismissed the request for a probe as a cheap stunt and insinuated Reed was “weaponizing law enforcement to score dumb political points.” The congressman said it is absolutely not a stunt.

“When it comes to the lives of the traveling public, we are going to make sure that the shenanigans of political vendettas and political warfare do not risk the lives of people out there on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

The issue has become a bit of a war of words between spokespeople for Reed and Cuomo. The congressman said he is not concerned with being called names, like patsy.

However, he said some people who have expressed concern about the state of I-90 have said they are worried about retribution from the governor who is known to take a hard line with his political opponents.

“We’ve had people come to us and even express concerns about the situation on the highway but did not want to publicly have their information released because their employers told them that they were afraid of losing state contracts and other issues with it,” Reed said.

Finally, the congressman has said he does not believe Cuomo’s explanation that the Senecas will not allow the state on the territory to make repairs. But he said if that is the case, his office is open to mediating a negotiation between the two parties.

Reed and Cuomo’s Offices Exchange Choice Words Over Thruway Issue

A war of words has spawned over the condition of a portion of the New York State Thruway that runs through Seneca Nation territory in Western New York.

The road has deteriorated over a number of years, but the issue was brought back to the forefront earlier this month when Republican Congressman Reed put in writing that the state should be held liable if a serious accident on the stretch. Reed suggested the governor was playing politics with traveler safety because of an unrelated dispute with the Seneca about casino revenue.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office had mostly deferred to the Thruway Authority regarding the timeline for repairs but during a press conference this week, suggested there was a connection between the casino dispute and the I-90 issues. He did suggest it was the Senecas potentially holding up the rehabilitation.
Still, Reed pounced Thursday, calling Cuomo’s stance appalling and questioning whether the governor was abusing his authority. That didn’t sit well with Cuomo’s office which offered up a rather harsh statement.
“Everyone knows that the congressman is used to being the president’s patsy but he shouldn’t be the Senecas’ patsy as well. He should do his job, stand with the communities he represents and demand that the Senecas make good on the arbitrators’ decision and make their neighbors whole,” Rich Azzopardi, Senior Advisor to the Governor, said.
Friday, Reed’s office struck back and like its Albany counterpart, didn’t pull any punches.
“Patsy? Unlike the Governor, none of Tom’s aides are in prison for taking bribes in exchange for sweetheart deals. Tom just wants I-90 fixed for the safety of the travelling public. The Federal funds have been delivered. Just fix the road before someone dies,” Communications Director Will Reinert said.
We will wait to see if Cuomo’s Office returns the volley.

Rep. Reed Criticizes Cuomo For Stance On Thruway Repairs, Seneca Nation

Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY-23, expressed “great concern” about comments the governor made earlier this week.

During a trip to Western New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo seemed to acknowledge a connection between a section of the New York State thruway on Seneca Nation that has fallen into disrepair and an ongoing dispute between the state and the Senecas over casino revenue. He says Cuomo essentially acknowledged he is putting the traveling public’s safety at risk because of a separate political dispute.

“When you see a bully like that, you need to stand up to that bully and stand with the people and their safety and so we’re going to stand up to the governor and say, you know, this is wrong,” Reed said.

Cuomo, Tuesday, said the state would fix the couple mile stretch of road but he does not believe the Senecas would allow it. He said the state would not go in without permission, lest it jeopardize its legal standing in the casino dispute.

Reed seemed skeptical the Senecas would have a problem with the state making repairs based on the public statements they have made.

“I believe the nation agrees tremendously with us in regards to making sure that the traveling public’s safety is paramount.”

The congressman said the “strategy” could represent an abuse of the governor’s authority. Earlier this month, he sent letters putting the state on written notice it would be liable should the road cause a significant problem for drivers.

“We have heard from numerous people about accidents they’ve been involved with, damage to their vehicles as a result of going through that stretch of highway,” Reed said.

He said his office is keeping close tabs on the situation and there could be more to come.

“Everyone knows that the congressman is used to being the president’s patsy but he shouldn’t be the Senecas’ patsy as well. He should do his job, stand with the communities he represents and demand that the Senecas make good on the arbitrators’ decision and make their neighbors whole,” Rich Azzopardi, Senior Advisor to the Governor, said.

Reed Asks AG Barr to Investigate Cop Dousing Incidents As Hate Crimes

From the Morning Memo:

A string of recent incidents in which civilians poured water on New York City police officers is getting some attention at the federal level.

This week, Southern Tier Republican Rep. Tom Reed wrote a latter to United States Attorney General William Barr asking him to investigate the actions as potential hate crimes and pursue criminal assault charges against the perpetrators.

“Make no mistake – these officers were attacked because of the badge and uniform they wear,” Reed wrote. “If our nation does not come together to confront the rhetoric of hate and the attacks on our law enforcement officers, the safety of our homes and communities will be in jeopardy.”

The congressman said criminals have been emboldened by rhetoric from Democratic lawmakers, recently enacted state laws requiring officers to issue tickets instead of make arrests for some offenses, and “some district attorneys’ refusal to prosecute certain low-level crimes.

“While we cannot control the extreme rhetoric of these politicians and the total disrespect local district attorneys have shown toward police by refusing to prosecute these crimes, the United States Justice Department does have the ability to investigate criminal hate crime charges,” Reed said.

He also expressed support for a proposed New York State law that would make it a Class E felony to throw or spray water or any other substance at an on-duty officer. He said, however, that bill is facing stiff opposition from Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

LG Agrees Stretch Of Thruway Through Seneca Territory Needs To Be Fixed

Regardless of political affiliation, Western New York politicians seem to agree a portion of the NYS Thruway which runs through Seneca Nation territory needs to be fixed.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said she recently investigated the stretch near Chautauqua County herself. She said it is being addressed at the highest levels of state government.

“We want to get that road fixed,” Hochul said. “I have traveled on that road. It needs work. The motorists who travel the Thruway deserve better.”

The lieutenant governor discussed the deteriorating road with reporters a day after Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY-25, called on the governor to take care of it. Reed said it has become dangerous to motorists and he believes the governor’s office is not rehabilitating the stretch because of non-related political reason, like the ongoing dispute between the Senecas and the state over casino revenue.

“The dispute is independent from this,” Hochul said. “That is going on and has been going on.”

She reaffirmed a statement from the Thruway Authority that the state is working with the Seneca Nation toward moving forward with repairs. Hochul did not say specifically what is backing things up but pointed out the Thruway runs through sovereign territory where the state can not simply bring in contractors.

She maintained things are being “worked out” though.

“A lot of it has to even just do with pothole repair so it doesn’t take a year to do,” Hochul said.

The LG said she could not give a firm timeline because it depends on the work needed, and how much can potentially be done before the season changes.

Reed Open To Considering Support For “Red Light Act”

From The Morning Memo:

New York lawmakers and the governor expected legal objections to the state’s new Green Light law from President Donald Trump’s administration.

There appears to be some congressional pushback to the law which grants driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, as well. Legislation introduced by Rep. Chris Collins to withhold federal highway funding from states that allow the driver’s licenses could have support from another New York Republican, although he wouldn’t make a formal commitment.

“I’ve seen what Chris Collins is discussing,” Congressman Tom Reed said. “I’ve talked to him on the floor in regards to it and we’ll see because I didn’t see the final text.”

Reed said he would be “very open to considering supporting” Collins’s Red Light Act because he is opposed to the Green Light Bill.

“I am opposed to the giving of licenses to illegal immigrants,” he said. “I think that is part of an extreme agenda that doesn’t get to the issue at hand and could lead to more danger on our roads to be perfectly honest with you.”

Reed will probably not get a chance to officially support the legislation. With a Democratic congress, it seems unlikely the bill will even reach the floor for a vote.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman Jason Conwall said it is “nothing more than political grandstanding” from Collins “who’s been indicted on felony charges” and knows the bill has no chance of passing.

Rep. Reed Disagrees With Trump’s Tweets But Doesn’t Believe He’s A Racist

Southern Tier Republican Rep. Tom Reed spent most of a Tuesday conference call with reporters discussing his feelings on President Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweets over the weekend.

“I don’t agree with the tweet,” he said. “I think the sentiment can be interpreted, rightfully, as offensive and I think it was inappropriate.”

On Sunday, Trump posted a series of tweets, directed at four progressive freshman congresswomen, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Democrats have widely panned the statements as racist and criticized Republicans for failing to condemn them.

Reed’s office previously sent a statement to some media outlets – although Spectrum News and others on the call had not received it – opposing the “form” but not the substance of the president’s message. When we asked specifically what he disagreed with, he elaborated.

“Obviously the reference to going back to the country that you came from, I can understand how that can be interpreted the way that it’s being interpreted,” Reed said.

As for criticism he or other members of the GOP did not respond quickly or strongly enough, he said there’s not much he can do.

“You’re never going to pacify that voice that raises that objection,” Reed said. “I’ve had people argue that I need to be more passionate with my objections and that the voice isn’t loud enough in regards to our objection and so I don’t know how to do that in regards to my style.”

The congressman indicated he did raise his concerns about the tweets directly with the administration. At the same time, he defended the president with whom he said he’s developed a relationship.

“I am confident in telling you that I do not believe that he is a racist. I have seen firsthand his heart and I will tell you I think that heart is not that one of a racist,” Reed said.

He reiterated, he does not agree with the “extremist agenda” of the Democratic congresswomen and believes their ideology is not good for the long-term well-being of the country. He said he doesn’t support a House resolution condemning the tweets, which was expected to come for a vote Tuesday night,