Local Dem Officials Dig In To Help Party Retain Majority In Congress
Congressmember Carolyn Maloney has contributed $213,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over the past several months in an attempt to get her House colleagues elected so the party can keep control of Congress.
Her New York City colleague Congressmember Joseph Crowley has also kicked in about $130,000 for the same cause as he, Maloney and others see clear sailing toward reelection with no pressure on their ample campaign war chests.
This late, major push to improve the chances to get threatened Dem candidates elected both in New York state and elsewhere in the country, the main concern is to keep the Democrats in control of Congress through the 2011-2012 session.
Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan) stated in a Daily News story describing the furious fight going on to determine who will rule the House in the next session: “Maintaining a Democratic majority is critical.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–New York) has dug into his own campaign treasury to contribute $3 million for Senators in tight races with the objective of keeping Democrats in control of the Upper House, it was reported.
Recent reports have highlighted improving Republican chances in races on nearby Long Island and upstate. It had been generally expected earlier in this election season that the GOP was poised to make a vicious assault on Democratic incumbents in most areas of the country.
For the most part, the Republican support from traditional advocate groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have performed exceptionally well in their fundraising efforts and, combined with assistance from Tea Party organizations, GOP candidates have been outpacing Democratic opponents in many states.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D–Maryland), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee backed Obama over last weekend on Sunday talk shows, but Republican National Chairman Michael Steele flatly denied the charges.
Local Democratic congressmembers have been contributing to the legislative campaign committees since the beginning of the election season, but the late surge of donations by Maloney, Crowley and others confirms that as Election Day nears in six days, it’s panic time for the Washington Dems, and from President Obama down through the ranks, it’s time for that all out push to keep the House and Senate in Democratic hands.
FOR A WRAPUP OF NEXT TUESDAY’S ELECTIONS IN QUEENS AND NEW YORK STATE, SEE SPECIAL ELECTION INSERT IN FRONT OF THIS ISSUE.
RUDY ENDORSES GOP COMPTROLLER CHOICE: Citing New York state’s crushing budget deficits and Republican Comptroller candidate Harry Wilson’s “skills as an investor and restructuring” expertise, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani endorsed Wilson in his race against Democratic incumbent Tom DiNapoli.
“I believe that the voters will recognize the enormous potential that Harry brings to the table and they will elect him overwhelmingly in November,” Giuliani declared at Erie County Republican headquarters in Buffalo last week.
“Harry Wilson has the skills to revolutionize the function of the New York
state comptroller’s office to better serve the taxpayers,” Giuliani added.
Wilson, 38, meanwhile ripped into DiNapoli for allegedly meeting with investment firms tied closely to DiNapoli’s political friends, saying it’s an example of how closely DiNapoli is tied to Albany’s corrupt culture.
A spokesman for DiNapoli charged meanwhile that Wilson himself has close ties to Steve Rattner and John Faso, who were dragged into an investigation conducted by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Giuliani’s endorsement of Wilson follows endorsements made by Citizens Union, the Daily News, the N.Y. Times and Crain’s New York Business weekly newspapers.
GILLIBRAND’S MANY FACES: For most of her campaign against Joseph DioGuardi, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D–New York) depicted herself in television ads as a sleeves-up protector of her constituents.
The upstate lawmaker was voted one of the 10 most attractive women in Washington by a capitol weekly and depicted as a glamorous junior senator in a Vogue Magazine layout stressing her status as Hillary Clinton’s successor. Gillibrand was also described as “hot” by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Gillibrand’s most recent television ad, shows her “family values” side picturing her with her husband and two young children in front of her upstate home.
But her opponent DioGuardi (R-C) sees Gillibrand as “a puppet of her party voting disproportionately to increase taxes and expand job-killing government spending programs”.
The most recent New York Times poll found that respondents favor Gillibrand by 50 percent to 25 percent for DioGuardi.
The state’s senior Senator Charles Schumer, is favored over opponent Jay Townsend in the Times by a 61 percent to 21 percent spread.
WILL DAMAGING REPORT KILL DEMS’ STATE SENATE HOPE?: It could be. The report, issued by state Inspector General Joseph Fisch, says Democratic Senate Leader John Sampson, former Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D–Jamaica) and the senate’s appointed secretary, Angelo Aponte, should be investigated by prosecutors for possible violations of the public corruption law in connection with an Aqueduct racino franchise bid.
Reacting to the report’s implications, state Senator Eric Schneiderman, running for state attorney general, said he would return $76,000 of donations he received from Sampson, Smith and Brooklyn state Senator Eric Adams “to avoid even an appearance of conflict of interest”.
The report states that the Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) allegedly received inside information from Brooklyn representative Sampson, that enabled AEG to sweeten its offer.
Smith, who was senate majority leader, at one point, recused himself from dealing with AEG, but then secretly remained involved in the negotiations.
Governor David Paterson issued the franchise to AEG, but the deal soured when the Lottery Commission balked at finalizing it.
AEG originally got its foot in the door to get the franchise by raising $100,000 for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee before the 2008 election.
Fisch forwarded the report to state and federal prosecutors for possible criminal charges.
Aponte, the report said, forwarded documents to AEG and then lied to investigators when confronted with the charge.
The franchise to build and operate a betting establishment with 450 lottery machines eventually went to Genting New York which is now in the process of planning and building the racino at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Republicans gained some hope from the Democrats’ misery. Their leader, Dean Skelos was philosophical in commenting on the stinging 308-page report. “This scandal proves once again that absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and makes the best case for having checks and balances in state government,” the Long Island lawmaker said.
MONSERRATE IN MORE TROUBLE, THANKS TO DA BROWN: Last week former lawmaker Hiram Monserrate was in the news again charged in a federal indictment mail fraud and conspiracy.
The charges were developed starting with information forwarded to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan by Queens DA Richard Brown, who issued the following statement: “Today’s (October 19) indictment of Hiram Monserrate is an example of federal and local law enforcement agencies working cooperatively to attack corruption. Information developed during an investigation conducted jointly by my office and the New York City Department of Investigation was provided to the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. That information, together with other evidence, has resulted in today’s charges. Monserrate is accused of misusing New York City funds to help finance his state senate campaign (in 2006). He is alleged to have done so by turning a nonprofit corporation funded almost totally by New York City taxpayers into his own political machine. His alleged misconduct represents a betrayal of the public trust.”
KOCH REFORM GROUP FUNDRAISER: A fundraiser will be held for former Mayor Ed Koch’s reform group, New York Uprising, this Thursday by grocery store mogul John Catsimatides. The moneys raised will provide operational funds for one of the organization’s major efforts to convince lawmakers to appoint an independent chairman of a commission to develop new legislative district lines. The organization seeks to prevent the legislature from drawing new district lines because the body will focus on creating safe districts for the legislators themselves.
HALLORAN OPPOSES PARK SMOKING BAN: The proposed ban on smoking in parks, on beaches, in playgrounds and pedestrian walkways proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg was opposed by City Councilmember Dan Halloran (R-C-I-Lbt, Whitestone) at a council hearing.
Halloran said he opposed the proposal because “[it’s just] another way to hassle New Yorkers who engage in perfectly legal behavior”.
Halloran declared, “Smokers pay taxes. They’re not second-class citizens. They ought to be free to do as they wish without huge city government hassling them everywhere they go, on beaches, in parks, on playgrounds, and that’s just wrong.”
Halloran noted that in 1995, 2000 and 2003, when restrictions were imposed on smoking in buildings, bars and restaurants, the city promised that the outdoors would never be the target of any further legislative bans. Now, the Department of Health Commissioner would not promise this would be the last restriction.
“At what point do we just let people lives their lives?” Halloran asked.