Saturday, November 23, 2013

From Skelos to Flanagan, GOP Control of the Senate and IDC Coalition 677

SenatorPeralta joining @JeffKleinNY and IDC to become their 8th member Liberals to Run Campaigns Against IDC Members 

Mainline Dems face new challenge, may lose Senate seat as member runs for Council  (NYDN) As the war between the fractured Democrats in the state Senate rages on, the mainline Dems could lose another member this week — though not to a rival faction. Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) is the favorite to win a City Council special election Tuesday. If he’s victorious, he’ll immediately resign his Senate seat, leaving the mainline Dems with 22 members in the 63-member chamber heading into budget season. More important, it would mean even if all nine breakaway Senate Democrats who are aligned with the Republicans had rejoined the fold — as progressives demand — the Dems would be a vote shy of holding the majority for at least several months. And the Senate would be thrown into chaos since neither party could muster a majority. The earliest the Democrat-safe Perkins’ seat could legally be filled would be mid-April, which is several weeks past the budget deadline.  Under state law, a special election must be held between 70 and 80 days from when the governor formally calls for one. But Gov. Cuomo, who has an icy relationship with the mainline Senate Dems, is under no obligation to order a special election. With previous vacancies, he sometimes waited months or didn’t call one at all.  If he doesn’t set a date, Perkins’ seat would remain unfilled until the November elections.  The intrigue comes as tensions between the traditional Democrats and the eight-member renegade Independent Democratic Conference have hit a boiling point.  A ninth breakaway Dem, Simcha Felder, of Brooklyn, actually caucuses with the Republicans. He recently was quoted as saying he’d consider switching sides if the IDC also went back.  The tensions were inflamed by the election of President Trump and bubbled over after veteran Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Queens) recently defected to the IDC.  IDC member Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) said that after Peralta’s move, she received a call from Senate Democratic Deputy Minority Leader Michael Gianaris seeking a commitment that her group would not poach any more members.
Rift among NY Democrats grows again (LUHUD) * Protesters Rip Republican-Aligned Brooklyn Democrat for ‘Running Away’From Constituents (NYO)

Breakaway Democrats in New York Senate Add Another to Their Ranks(NYT) * State senator switched parties because he needed a pay raise (NYP) Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta bolted from the Democratic Party because he needed a raise, sources told The Post. The Corona lawmaker announced Wednesday he would join the Independent Democratic...* A Movement Grows to Unseat a Turncoat Queens Democrat Peralta (Village Voice) * After state Sen. Jose Peralta left mainline Democrats to join the Independent Democratic Conference, sources say more Democrats in the fractured state Senate are considering defecting to join a rogue alliance with the Republican majority, the New York Post reports.Breakaway Democrats in New York Feel Trump Backlash (NYT)  Protesters in New York spurred to action by the new administration have found a new target: state senators who are members of the Independent Democrats.* Liberal activists are pledging to mount primary challenges to the Independent Democratic Conference’s three new additions – state Sens. Jose Peralta, Jesse Hamilton and Marisol Alcantara – and organizing protests outside members’ offices, the Times reports. * 
From Skelos to Flanagan, GOP and IDC Coalition

A Message to All New Yorkers From A Group Cleaning Up Albany and City Hall 
At the end of the day…there just isn't enough in this package to justify convening a special session and bringing 213 legislators back to Albany before the end of the year," he said.  If a legislative pay raise is not approved by the end of the year, by law they will have to wait two years before getting another opportunity. Lawmakers currently make a $79,500 annual base salary.  In addition to the issues Flanagan mentioned, sources earlier Friday said there was agreement-or near agreement-on plans to bar campaign donations from those seeking state contracts, create a public campaign financing system for state Supreme Court judicial candidates, and require state lawmakers to seek a formal opinion on whether their outside income represents conflicts of interest.  Cuomo also was pushing to create inspector generals to oversee state agency contracting issues and New York projects undertaken by the Port Authority.  Flanagan, according to sources, was prepared to sign off on a package of legislation but couldn't secure enough votes from his members. In some cases, legislators were not available to return next week to the Capitol for a special session. A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie had no comment Friday night. A Cuomo spokesman had no immediate comment. Many legislators are livid at Cuomo for what they said was his meddling with a commission to decide on a pay raise that was created in 2015 and supposed to be independent. They are upset he has been trying to tie a potential pay raise to other issues and warned he could face a tough road during the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

State Senate Control IDC

GOP Running Against de Blasio in Effort to Remain in Control of the Senate
Republicans are bombarding voters in Nassau County and the Hudson Valley with TV ads and mailers linking Democratic candidates to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in an effort to hold onto their control of the state Senate, the Post reports. *  GOP campaigns on unpopular de Blasio in battle for state Senate (NYP) Embattled Republicans are banking on an old foe — Mayor de Blasio — to help them in this year’s state Senate races. The local GOP is bombarding voters with TV ads and mailers linking Democratic candidates to Hizzoner in an all-out effort to hold onto their tenuous control of the chamber. In the final days of campaigning, de Blasio is expected be featured as a bogeyman in a half-dozen contested races in Nassau County, LI, and the Hudson Valley, GOP sources said. * Hedge fund billionaires, public school teachers, developers, hospitals and New York City landlords are the financial backbone of of the political action committees lined up to influence which party controls the state Senate, The Buffalo News reports.  * The arrest of GOP Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has many Democratic leaders dreaming of a countywide sweep, particularly because their party has a slight voter registration advantage, the Times reports.  * After never headlining a fundraiser for state Senate Democrats during his nearly six years as the state’s top Democrat, Cuomo has practically become a campaign carnival barker for their candidates, The New York Times reports.
Fredric U. Dicker ‏@fud31   Senior state Dem: "Cuomo's campaigning for Senate Dems on L.I. is really campaigning from himself - to avoid a 2018 Schneiderman primary.''

With the IDC Strong Cuomo Covers His Ass With Democrats 
Cuomo is slated to headline a rally Monday on behalf of two Democratic state Senate candidates in Nassau County, and sources said Cuomo is expected to make more endorsements in contested state Senate races, the Daily News’ Kenneth Lovett reports.

The Assembly Started A PAC This Year To Protect Their Incumbents, Both the Dems and GOP Senate Parties Have PAC to Protect Their Incumbents
Assembly Democrats plot to back incumbents in primaries (NYP) It’s going to be almost impossible to unseat a Democratic legislator in the state Assembly under a plan being hatched by Speaker Carl Heastie, The Post has learned. Heastie intends...* A shift by the state Assembly Democrats’ campaign arm could give the chamber’s leadership greater sway by increasing its ability to assist lawmakers facing difficult primary election challenges.* Assembly Democratic fund to help fight primary challenges (TU) * An independent expenditure group recently set up by education reform advocates associated with StudentsFirstNY has raised $1.75 million over the past week to pour into New York’s November elections—and is likely to help Senate Republicans, Crain’s reports: *Charter-schools group poised to aid Senate GOP

CAT BIRD SEAT Klein IDC Goes to the Highest Senate Bidder Hamilton Joins IDC

Felder Beats IDC in Assuring GOP Control of the Senate
Brooklyn state Sen.Simcha Felder to side with Republicans, damaging Dems’ dreams of taking chamber (NYDN)  Even with two races still undecided, the New York Democrats appear to have suffered a fatal blow in their bid to claim control of the state Senate. Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Dem who has sided with the Republicans during his time in the Legislature, told upstate cable's "Capital Tonight" that he would not be switching back to the Democrats regardless of the outcome of the two open races in Nassau County. That means even if the Democrats win at least one of the two open races, they would still be one shy from being able to control the chamber.* Simcha Felder, Rogue Democratic Senator, Will RemainLoyal to G.O.P. (NYT) * Felder Thanks WFP, Parker Tells Felder To Manup (Kings County Politics) * With State Senate inthe Balance, One Democrat Plans to Run for City Council (NYO)

Republicans on verge of keeping control of New York State Senate (NYDN) GOP Thanks de Blasio for Helping Them Keep Control of the Senate Seeking to Keep Control of New York Senate, G.O.P. Finds a Villain: Bill de Blasio (NYT) * Late $550K to help Senate Dems sparks GOP complaint...  * Democratic leaders urge NYC pols to join the party, end alliance with GOP to regain Senate control as Trump presidency looms (NYDN)
State Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein signaled his group’s allegiance is up for grabs, but Sen. Mike Gianaris expressed optimism that the Democrats could lure back the IDC and control the chamber, The Wall Street Journal reports. *   State senate could be reliant on Long Island races  (NYP) Which party controls the state Senate depends on the results of five hotly contested races in Long Island next week. Democrats hope a wave of Clinton supporters flooding polling stations...*  State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s future as GOP leader is unclear, and if the Republicans fall into the minority, it's likely state Sen. John DeFrancisco or someone else from upstate will become the new Republican leader, the Daily News writes. * She hasn't even been elected yet, but already Marisol Alcantara is getting pressure to back a Democratic takeover of the state Senate next year, with 29 community groups calling on her to pledge to vote against Flanagan as majority leader, the Daily News writes. *  About a dozen super PACs have reported spending about $14 million in state Senate races since the September primaries, often pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars a day into television ads and other types of campaign support, The New York Times reports. * With only a handful of seats likely to change hands on Election Day, state Sen. Jeff Klein's breakaway group of Senate Democrats, the IDC, is likely to play a pivotal role in determining which party has enough seats to claim control the chamber, the Daily News writes.   * Police arrested state Assemblywoman Diana Richardson after her 13-year-old son showed up at a Brooklyn police station saying she beat him with a broomstick over his grades, cops said on Sunday, the Daily News reports.

Felder Could Be Senate Balance Except for Two LI Recounts and the IDC 
State politician’s party decision could tip senate balance (NYP) One Brooklyn politician may hold the key to the balance of power in the state Senate.  Sen. Simcha Felder, who ran on the Democratic, Republican and Conservative lines, was first elected as a Democrat in 2012 but has conferenced and voted with Republicans as the two major parties slugged it out for control of the chamber. This year, Republicans won 31 of the Senate’s 63 seats; Democrats took 30. Officials are counting ballots in two Long Island races, and results are expected to take weeks. So Felder’s decision about which party to align himself with could determine who controls power.  “I’m not a loyal Democrat,” he told The Post. “I never was.” He says he sides with Republicans when it comes to money, policing and terrorism. Still, Felder said he believes in “social services for the poor.” But Felder’s decision will be fueled by pragmatism. “I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid,” he said. “I’m going to do what’s going to get the most for my constituents.”* N.Y. state senate Democrats use threat of Trump to fundraise for Long Island election recount (NYDN) * Flanaganre-elected as Senate GOP Leader...* State Senate Republicans unanimously voted for Majority Leader John Flanagan to continue in his role, but their celebratory mood was tempered by the refusal of Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat, to say if he’ll remain with the GOP, The Buffalo News reports.

IDC's Klein Power Broker in A 2017 Cuomo Triangulation State Senate

MainlineDemocrats and IDC arrive at a tentative peace (PoliticoNY) With the IDC poised to grow to at least six members, the breakaway conference will likely play a crucial role in which party will control the upper chamber. In the meantime, mainline Democrats and Republicans don’t want to ruffle any feathers with their colleagues in the IDC and have maintained a diplomatic relationship.

Now That the IDC is a Lock Cuomo Does Fund Raiser for Senate Dems

Albany Incumbent Protection Society 198 of 199 Re-Elected 
198 of199 Albany incumbents re-elected despite corruption, calls for reform (Syracuse). The unseated incumbent was Democratic Assemblyman John Ceretto in the 146th Assembly District, which covers portions of Erie and Niagara counties. Angelo Morinello defeated him by about 4,000 votes.

Klein's IDC Unauthorised Slush Fund Pays Election Lawyers and Ethics Chair Avella Campaign  Maybe Under Investigation by the State Bd of Elections?
The state Board of Elections launched an inquiry last year into a campaign group created by state Sen. Jeff Klein’s five-member Independent Democratic Conference, though the group has not heard from the board since
With Republicans clinging to a razor-thin state Senate majority, Sen. Jeffrey Klein said the Independent Democratic Conference would consider once again teaming up with Republicans after the 2016 elections to keep the GOP in control.* Narrowly Divided Senate Could Put New Focus On IDC (YNN)

Probe into Senate IDC's campaign efforts (TU) Independent Democratic Conference group paid $65,000 to campaign finance lawyers he state Board of Elections launched an inquiry last year into a campaign group created by the Independent Democratic Conference, a key five-member bloc in the state Senate led by Bronx state Sen. Jeff Klein, the Times Union has learned. Campaign finance records show that since March 2015, the group — called the IDC Initiative — spent about $65,000 on campaign finance attorneys. The sum represents about 63 percent of its total spending in 2015.  In September, the IDC Initiative paid about $45,000 to Martin Connor, a former Senate Democratic minority leader who's now a prominent election lawyer, and nearly $20,000 since last March to the New York City firm Kantor Davidoff. Lawrence Mandelker, a partner at Kantor Davidoff, confirmed that the state Board of Elections had been probing the spending of the IDC Initiative. "The IDC Initiative regularly retains legal counsel to adhere to the highest legal and ethical standards," Mandelker said in a statement. The inquiry from the board "stemmed from a baseless complaint by a losing candidate," he said. "The IDC Initiative complied fully and having never heard about this matter again is confident its 2014 activities were beyond reproach." Mandelker said it has been "at least six months" since the IDC Initiative had heard anything from the board about the inquiry  In August 2014, Liu's campaign charged that Avella had received "illegal" over-the-limit donations from the IDC Initiative.  The IDC Initiative not only gave Avella a $10,000 donation in June 2014, but then sent out a series of glossy campaign mailings on his behalf. Avella ended up narrowly winning the September 2014 primary. The IDC Initiative, formed in 2011 by the conference, had been registered as a political action committee — entities that in 2014 by law could not donate more than $16,800 to a candidate. In August 2014, Connor told the Daily News that the IDC Initiative was in the process of re-registering with the state Board of Elections as an independent expenditure committee, a change that would allow it to spend unlimited sums as long as its spending decisions were made independently of candidates' campaigns. Connor told the Daily News that Avella "had no say in it, no part in" the campaign mailers from the IDC Initiative. Liu's campaign, however, filed a complaint with the state Board of Elections. It noted Connor was working for both the IDC and Avella, a "significant" connection that might suggest coordination between the two, the Daily News reported. An Avella spokesman didn't return a request for comment. How the Media Enables Avella Allowing Him to Distract Sen. Tony Avella has introduced a bill that would make St. Patrick’s Day a school holiday “in districts with a significant Irish population” – 7.5 percent or greater, according to the most current Census data.* Klein: BOE Probe Based On ‘Bogus’ Complaint (YNN)
“This was a bogus claim made by John Liu, which is kind of ironic because his career was destroyed by campaign finance violations,” Klein said in the interview, referencing Liu’s former campaign treasurer being found guilty of using straw donors to gain more public matching funds in the 2013 mayoral race in New York City. The complaint raised questions, though, over the IDC’s retained lawyer, former Senate Minority Leader Marty Connor, who was working for both the committee and Avella. Klein said Connor “works on retainer and helps us with our compliance” while also helping with the petitioning process. By law, PACs cannot donate more than $16,800 to a candidate, making them different from conference campaign committees. In 2014, the IDC moved to re-register as an independent expenditure committee, allowing it to expend unlimited funds, but not coordinate with any candidates’ campaigns.* Amid concerns about a potential conflict of interest in Sen. Jeff Klein’s crusade against Herbalife, the real issue is whether this is another example of the state Capitol’s problem of looking the other way, theTimes Union writes:

Klein, Lobbyists Mirram and Herbalife Connected 
New state lobbying filings raise questions about the level of coordination between a powerful state lawmaker – IDC Leader Jeff Klein – his influential political consultant (Luis Miranda) and a billionaire who has placed a $1 billion bet against the stock price of Herbalife, a multinational nutritional sales company.

Senate GOP Plans to Stop the $15 Hr Wage Hike 
Leaders from the New York State Business Council and other groups told a Senate panelthat the proposed statewide $15-an-hour wage hike would cost employers nearly $16 billion in added costs, far exceeding the benefit of any possible tax cut. * Deputy Senate Majority Leader John DeFrancisco said he does not think the Senate will pass a $15 an hour minimum wage this year because it would hurt small businesses.* One influential senator predicts NY will not pass a statewide$15 minimum wage  *  Everyone else will pay for the war between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio on the minimum wage, including the mayor’s $15 wage for city employees and Cuomo’s similar windfall for state university workers, the Post argues: 

DSCC Cuomo Takes LLC $$$ As They Attacks The Corruption They Cause
And Gianaris' DSCC Hires Parkside Lobbyists Who Works for REBNY Jobs for NY
The Daily News’  that former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno gave his former conference a pep talk last week; and that state Sen. Michael Gianaris accepted tens of thousands of dollars from LLCs while calling for closing the LLC loophole:  * State Sen. John DeFrancisco said the so-called LLC loophole is something that should be looked at closely, as well as the murky funding of Capitol watchdogs, the Times Union reports: * Upstate Republican optimist and former (and 2018?) gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladinosaid he expects a wave of upstate political movement will mitigate the influence of a heavily “liberal” New York City in the next election.* Former longtime state Senate Republican Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who recently gave the Senate GOP campaign committee more than $1 million, addressed his former conference last Wednesday at the Capitol. Sources described the chat as a pre-election “pep talk.”* "Convicted of Corruption, but Still Getting aPension": "Under current law in New York, a former public official sitting in prison for a felony conviction for misconduct in office can still receive his or her pension checks. In the cases of Mr. Silver and Mr. Skelos, those payouts could easily total millions of dollars each. ...* Sen. Michael Gianaris accepts LLC money whilecalling for loophole closure (NYDN) Gianaris' statewide campaign account since July received eight donations from LLCs totaling $70,500, which makes up 20% of the total $345,698 in donations the account received during the period. While legal, two of the donations, one for $33,000 and another for $10,000, were well above the normal $5,000 corporate limit. Gianaris' Senate campaign account since July received $18,350 from LLCs, though none of those donations exceeded $5,000. But the Senate Democratic campaign committee that he heads received in recent years numerous LLC donations that exceeded $5,000. One insider accused Gianaris of “hypocrisy” for seeking LLC money while at the same time calling to close to the loophole. Gianaris last week sent a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee chairman demanding the panel hold hearings on proposed reforms that include closing the LLC loophole. "Hypocrisy, thy name is Mike Gianaris," the source said.

This is not only a waste of taxpayer money, but it also conveys the message that Albany tolerates - and is even willing to bankroll - those proved beyond any reasonable doubt to be corrupt. Changing this situation for state and local officials requires an amendment to the New York State Constitution." (NYT) * Campaign filings show Cuomo raised almost $900,000 from LLCs over the past six months, underscoring what critics call a gaping loophole in the laws meant to cap corporate political contributions, Newsday reports:    * Lawyers for former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, who were convicted on federal corruption charges last month, filed a motion seeking a judgment of acquittal and a new trial, the Timesreports:

Avella Who Never Held A Meeting As Head of the Senate Ethics Committee Say Lobbyist's Pay to Play System Runs City Hall
“The whole pay-for-play system is worse than ever at City Hall,” said state Sen. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens), a former councilman who previously worked as an aide for former Mayors Koch and Dinkins.   “It goes to show you that the mayor and lobbyists don’t even care now about the appearance of impropriety. They believe they’re untouchable.” “I think a lot of these good government types were spoiled by Mike Bloomberg and forgot how politics work because we had a billionaire mayor in office for 12 years who would could not be bought,” said the lobbyist. *  Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat and IDC member, suggests NYC be required to cap hikes in property tax and assessments to 2 percent a year if it wants the state to continue to pick up its share of Medicaid cost increases.

The Senator Who Holds the Keys to the Control Senate 

Brooklyn senatorcould decide which party controls New York senate (NYDN) A Brooklyn senator who could be the key in deciding which party controls the chamber wouldn’t commit to either side on Monday. Though a Democrat, Sen. Simcha Felder has caucused with the Republicans since taking office in 2013, helping them maintain their slim majority. But if the Democrats win an April 19 special election to fill the seat left vacant by the conviction of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, it would give the Dems a numerical majority in the chamber. Whether they would ascend to power, however, would depend on whether Felder and a separate group of five breakaway Democrats who formed their own independent conference agree to work with the mainstream Dems in a majority coalition. The six Dems have been aligned with the Republicans. Felder wouldn’t commit when asked by the Daily News what he might do.*  Brooklyn state Sen. Simcha Felder and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein would not disclose which party they would caucus with after an April 19 special election for an open Long Island seat, the Daily News reports:    State Republicans shoot down proposed tax hike on the rich (NYP) * Sen. Michael Nozzolio, 64, who has represented the Finger Lakes region for more than 30 years, announced he will not seek re-election in the fall, citing a heart problem. * Nozzolio’s departure causes another headache for the Senate GOP as it seeks to retain the majority this fall. He was unopposed in four of his last six Senate campaigns, and with $209,986 in his campaign accounts as of mid-January,he likely would have been difficult to unseat in 2016. * Many New Yorkers who earn more than a million dollars a year would see a tax increase under the terms of a proposal introduced by Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. (The idea was immediately shot down by the Senate Republicans).

Why Are de Blasio and Albany GOP Meeting and Pretending Their Real Goal is To Destroy Each Other?
During his marathon testimony at a joint legislative budget hearing, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio revisited one of last year’s biggest defeats: asking lawmakers to once again to grant him control of the city’s school system for at least seven years, if not permanently.. * During a five-hour marathon testimony at a joint legislative budget hearing, de Blasiorepeatedly found himself justifying the city’s tax and spending practices. He explained the need for the city to maintain a surplus, and calmly opposed arguments that the city should contribute hundreds of millions of dollars more to help pay for Medicaid and the City University of New York system. * De Blasio intended to protest cuts in the new state budget to Medicaid funding and the City University, but instead found himself fending off demands by lawmakers that the city limit increases in the property tax to 2 percent a year.* The Republican-dominated Senate quickly passed a measure requiring the city to honor the 2 percent cap. But a spokesman for the Democratic-controlled Assembly said that body wouldn’t go along. *De Blasio fights Albany’s bid to limit property tax increases (NYP) * De Blasio grilled over resistance to property tax cap (NYFN) * De Blasio traveled to Albany to ask for money but instead faced five hours of questions focusing on the city’s spending, with some lawmakers urging him to cap the city’s property-tax rate,The Wall Street Journal reports:  * * The Cuomo administration strongly backed a plan by city Controller Scott Stringer to divert $400 million in surplus money over 10 years to NYCHA improvements, but de Blasio called instead for new funding, the DailyNews reports: * The multimillion $ difference of opinion: de Blasio saysstate budget could cost $1B; state says it gives city $322M  * 2 against 1: Cuomo supports Stringer plan to fund NYCHArepairs, de Blasio throws cold water on it  (NYDN) * State lawmakers urge Mayor Bill de Blasio to cap New York City’sproperty-tax rate  *  In a shift, de Blasio goes humble in Albany (PoliticoNY) *  De Blasio Fends Off State's Efforts to Make City Pay More for Services (DNAINFO) The mayor asked for permanent control of schools and fought against the idea of a city property tax cap. * Following a year when most of his asks were either rebuffed entirely or whittled down, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio adopted a new, more deferent and humble attitude when meeting with state lawmakers, and also reduced the size of his wish list.* Carmen Farina urges Albany to OK mayoral control of schools (NYDN) * New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina went to bat for Mayor Bill de Blasio, urging state lawmakers to pass a seven-year extension of mayoral control, saying students “can’t go back to the system of patronage * NYC City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina went to bat for de Blasio in Albany, urging state lawmakers to renew the law giving him control of the school system. “After more than a decade we know that New York City students do better when the mayor has direct authority and accountability,” she told a legislative budget committee.

3 Months Flashback
de Blasio Say He Plans to Be Less Involved In Pushing for A Democratic State Senate
After a bruising state Senate election season in 2014 that failed to produce a Democratic majority in the upper chamber, de Blasio said he plans to be far less involved in next year's legislative elections when control of the state Senate is one again in contention, Politico New York writes: 

The feud between Cuomo and de Blasio has added a new dynamic in Bronx politics as Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has stepped up his attacks against the mayor's policies and increasingly places himself in lock step with the governor, his ally, Gotham Gazette reports: * In an interview on the Brian Lehrer show, Cuomo declined to directly criticize de Blasio’s handling of homelessness in New York City, instead leaving his criticisms veiled while promising a full homelessness plan in his upcoming State of the State address.

War for Control of the State Senate: Dems Run A Former Prosecutor Who Put Espada in Jail
Democrats close to announcing candidatefor Skelos’ seat (NYP) State Democrats are close to picking a former federal prosecutor to run for scandal-scarred former state Senate leader Dean Skelos’ newly open seat while Republicans are scrambling to find a candidate. Democrats wasted no time tapping Long Beach, LI, Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, 37, to replace Skelos and could spend in the “low millions” to take the Republican-leaning seat, party insiders say. Kaminsky, who helped put away ex-lawmakers Pedro Espada, Jimmy Meng and Michael Grimm on embezzlement, bribery and tax-fraud charges, respectively, acknowledged he was “seriously considering” a bid. New Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, from Suffolk County, wants Republican Lynbrook, LI, Assemblyman Brian Curran to run, but Curran is “tepid” about the gig, sources say. State Democrats are already circulating photos of Skelos attending Curran’s swearing-in and other events together to the press. “He would be a dream candidate,” one Democratic operative said. “He’s a Skelos acolyte and if he chooses to run, that’s all he will hear about.” Gov. Cuomo has not yet called an election but Democratic Party officials are preparing for it to be held on April 19, coinciding with the state’s presidential primary. * The state legislature must seize this moment to pass ethics reform and Cuomo must be the instigator by setting a high bar and giving voters reason to expect action, the Buffalo News writes: *  With a special election set for April, state Senate Democrats are pushing to gain the Long Island seat vacated by Republican Dean Skelos, but it remains to be seen if the winner will have an advantage in the general election six months later, the Times Union writes: * Lots at stake in next year's legislative session. @JonCampbellGAN breaks it down 

War: de Blasio vs Cuomo, How the GOP Won the Senate, Education Attack

The Battle for the State Senate
Skelos Conviction Leaves Key Vacancy in Nassau County Senate Seat (NYT) Republican leaders say only a spotless recruit can make the case to Long Island voters that Republicans should retain their slim majority in the State Senate.* 

Corruption Played A Big Role In the Democrats Winning the Nassau DA Race This November . . . 

Sunday True News Wrote
With the Senate in Balance of Power In Question Will Cuomo Call for A Special in the Skelos Seat?
The Importance of the Skelos Seat to the Balance of Power In the Senate
Gianaris: Senate Dems In Good Position To Win Skelos Seat (Updated) "The convictions of former (Assembly) Speaker (Sheldon) Silver and former Majority Leader Skelos should be a wakeup call for the Legislature and it must stop standing in the way of needed reforms," Cuomo said Friday. Meanwhile, Cuomo's office hasn't said if and when the governor will call a special election to fill Skelos' now vacant seat. After Silver's conviction Nov. 30 in an unrelated corruption case, Cuomo said he expected to call a special election for April 19 to fill that seat. With Skelos gone, the Republicans now hold the slimmest of slim majorities, and that's only with the help of Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who has been sitting with the GOP. With Felder, the Republicans have 32 members in their conference — the exact number needed to pass legislation in the chamber. That means they will need help from a group of five breakaway Democrats if they are to pass anything if one of their GOP members is absent from the chamber or opposes a measure.* Former Senate Majority Skelos’ conviction on eight public corruption charges means thatCuomo “can’t hide this time” when it comes to getting a Democratic elected to the Senate, a senior state Dem has told The Post’s Fred Dicker. * Former Sen. Skelos was caught on a wiretap bad-mouthing his erstwhile partner in power, IDC Leader Jeff Klein. But Skelos’ conviction could give Klein and his group more influence heading into the 2016 legislative session. The Republicans might “throw him a few bones” as a result.* Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ conviction on eight public corruption charges means that Cuomo “can’t hide” when it comes to getting a Democratic elected to the state Senate, the Post’s Fredric Dickerreports:  * Cuomo said he’ll push to close the so-called LLC loophole next year and discuss it as part of an ethics reform agenda that includes outside income and more disclosure rules and is unveiled at his State of the State address, the Daily News reports: * Skelos' Departure Puts Balance of Power in State Senate in Flux (NY1)

True News Wags Dicker and the NYP
Skelos Conviction Outs Cuomo's Secret Support for Senate GOP . . .  Senate in Play
Cuomo’s leadership will be tested in upcoming special elections (NYP) Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ conviction on eight public corruption charges means that Gov. Cuomo “can’t hide this time’’ when it comes to getting a Democratic elected to the Senate, a senior state Dem has told The Post. Cuomo has worked behind the scenes for years helping Republicans gain or keep their narrow control of the Senate in order to restrain the “progressive’’ tax-and-spend wing of his own Democratic Party — most recently earlier this fall,when he picked and then failed to support Barbara Fiala, who suffered a humiliating defeat in a special Binghamton-area Senate election. But Skelos’ Nassau County district has more Democrats then Republicans, unlike the Binghamton district, and his high-profile conviction, combined with ongoing investigations of possible corruption by other Nassau Republican officials, has created the climate for a major Democratic win, insiders from both parties agree. “Skelos’ seat is majority Democrat, it’s in the New York City media market, and the Democrats will have an unbeatable candidate, no thanks to Cuomo,’’ the senior Democrat told The Post. “Unlike Binghamton, all eyes will be on this Senate race, and Cuomo must go all out to help win it or be permanently damaged. He can’t hide this time,’’ the Democrat said. Skelos was immediately ousted from the Senate upon conviction, and Cuomo is expected to set April 19, the presidential primary day, as the date for a special election to fill the seat, the same date he said he’ll likely call an election to replace former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan)who was bounced last monthalso as a result of multiple corruption convictions. Democrats are expected to endorse Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky — a former federal prosecutor who has a stellar anti-corruption résumé, including the successful prosecution of former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx) — for the Skelos seat, while Nassau Republicans, who suffered a surprise upset defeat in the race for district attorney last month, are having trouble recruiting a candidate* What it will take to clean up New York politics (NYP) * Cuomo briefly previewed what may be included in his 2016 ethics and campaign finance reform package, including making closure of the “LLC loophole” a priority.

de Blasio's Albany Lobbying Office Clears Out As Both Sides Get Ready for the War to Control the State Senate
Not Much Point in Lobbying Someone Your Trying to Kill Off
De Blasio loses Albanylobbyists amid ongoing rift with Cuomo (NYP) de Blasio’s Albany lobbying office has been hit with a flurry of departures just as City Hall faces a tense year of negotiations with Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers, The Post has learned. Jennifer Richardson, who served as the office’s $120,000-a-year deputy director, left last month to join the lobbying firm Ostroff Associates. Another city staffer, Jason Litwak, also is packing up for a lobbying job in the private sector. He was making $75,000 a year.  Among the changes: Ariana Caplan, already part of the legislative team, has been promoted to deputy director to fill Richardson’s spot. ‎  Jake Herring, from the lobbying firm Wilson Elser, was hired as chief of staff and counsel. City Hall also added Cheska Tolentino, who was deputy political director at the Transport Workers Union Local 100. Most recently, Cuomo’s office charged that de Blasio “can’t manage the homeless crisis”and said the governor would offer his own remedies during his State of the State speech in a couple of weeks. For his part, de Blasio over the summer accused his fellow Democrat of exacting “revenge” and carrying out a “vendetta” that thwarted the city’s agenda in Albany last year. * Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Albany lobbying office has been hit with a flurry of departures as City Hall faces a tense year of negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers, with one staffer calling it useless to stay, the Post writes: * In the likely high-stakes race to fill former state Sen. Dean Skelos’ seat, Democrats will try to tie any GOP candidate to the convicted Skelos, while Republicans will stoke fears that a Democratic Senate would be too city-focused, Newsday reports: 

Is There A Death Watch On the GOP Control of the Senate As Sen Martin Decides to Run for Congress? 

Senate Republicans, already stressed over their problems finding a candidate in the upcoming special election for the Nassau County seat left vacant by the conviction of former Sen. Dean Skelos, are in an a “funereal mood’’ after Sen. Jack Martins (R-Nassau) decided to seek retiring Democrat Steve Israel’s congressional seat. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk) “is furious with Martins, the GOP Senate’s legendary rank-and-file discipline is quickly breaking down, and it’s becoming every man for himself,’’ said a veteran GOP activist.* The state Senate Republican Campaign Committee received $109,600 in contributions during the last half of 2015 from Kenneth Griffin, the CEO of the Citadel fund and reportedly the richest man in Illinois, the Times Union reports: 

5 IDC Senators Smell GOP Long Island Corruption Indictments Position Themselves With Reform Plan  
A breakaway group of five Senate Democrats who have been aligned with the Republicans are set to reintroduce an ethics package that would ban state public officials from receiving any outside income, the DailyNews reports: * From tighter campaign finance rules to term limits to a full-time Legislature barred from working outside jobs, there’s no shortage of proposals to clean up the corruption that has long plagued New York state government. But with each measure facing its own set of political challenges, it remains to be seen whether action will finally be taken.* A breakaway group of five state Senate Democrats who have been aligned with the Republicans are set to reintroduce an ethics package that would ban state public officials from receiving any outside income following Silver’s corruption conviction.

IDC Which Skelos Wiretap Said Had No Power Sticking With GOP
Liz Benjamin ‏@CTLizB  A source close to IDC noted traditional Democrats have publicly & privately said even worse things about the group than Skelos did on tape. * Breakaway Dems will still honor pact with Senate GOP despite insult from Skelos (NYDN) “Nothing changes,” said Bronx Sen. Jeffrey Klein, who heads the five-member Independent Democratic Conference. “Coalition government is bigger than one person.” A wiretap recording played last week at the corruption trial of Skelos and his son, Adam, caught the father saying that Klein would have a title in the leadership alliance but no real power. He also argued it was important for the Republicans to keep the breakaway Dems and the Senate Democrats divided. Klein had no comment on Skelos, but he seemed prepared to continue the alliance with the Republicans. “We’re not going to turn around and say, ‘Dean Skelos said bad things to his son about us that got caught up on a wire tape, so we’ll walk over to the Democratic conference and be in the minority again,’ ” the source said. Some insiders, though, say it will be difficult for Klein’s group to align again with the GOP should the Democrats next November win a numerical majority, particularly after Skelos made it clear the Republican goal was to keep the Dems fractured.* The head of a breakaway faction of state Senate Democrats, IDC Leader Jeff Klein, says his group is not ready to abandon its five-year alliance with the chamber’s Republican majority just because former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was caught on tape trashing them. “Nothing changes,” Klein said. “Coalition government is bigger than one person.” * The wells of real estate company largesse are drying up for politicians and political organizations, following corruption allegations against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver involving bribery and kickback schemes.
More on the IDC 

Coaching A Witness At the Skelos Trial for A Bag Job Ordered By Glenwood 
The corruption trial of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam,came to a halt late this afternoon after one juror complained of chest pains.

Senate staffer accused of coaching witness during Skelos trial (NYP) Welquis “Ray” Lopez, 61, was summoned to the bench during a break in the proceedings and threatened with ejection by Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood. “You’ve been nodding your head up and down and back and forth in what looks like a signal to the witness,” Wood said during testimony by a former Long Island politician who admitted serving as the bagman for an alleged payoff of Skelos’ son and co-defendant, Adam. “If you nod your head one more time, I’m going to have court security escort you out of the courtroom.” Sources described the former Rockville Center Republican chairman as “very close” to Skelos (R-LI), who gave him a $140,000-a-year “special adviser” job in 2011. Despite Skelos’ resignation following his May arrest, Lopez remains on the state payroll as a $162,750-a-year adviser to interim Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-LI). The shenanigans came during testimony by ex-North Hempstead Councilman Tom Dwyer, who said he handed Adam a $20,000 “referral fee” in 2013 as a favor to Charles Dorego of Glenwood Management. Dwyer said that Dean Skelos had been pressuring Dorego to give Adam a job, but that “Charlie did not want the payment . . . to be associated with Glenwood.” Dorego told him: “This should get Dean off my back.”* The founder of the environmental services company at the heart of the corruption case against former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son testified that days after Hurricane Sandy hit, the senator provided valuable business intelligence that the company felt would be helpful, the Times reports: * Executive Says Dean Skelos Provided Valuable Intelligence (NYT) An executive for a contractor said that he was badgered to direct payments to the son of State Senator Dean G. Skelos, and that the senator gave his company information. * The founder of the struggling environmental services company at the heart of the federal corruption case against former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam,testified at their trial yesterday that days after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the senator provided valuable business intelligence that the company felt would be helpful. * Former North Hempstead Councilman Thomas Dwyer testified he handed Adam Skelos a $20,000 check from his title company at a restaurant in 2013 to avoid the payment being linked to a politically connected developer. * A top-level state Senate staffer, Welquis “Ray” Lopez, left the Skelos corruption trial courtroom after being accused of coaching a witness on the stand and warned by the judge that he would be expelled.*A secretly recorded conversation played at the Skelos corruption trialdisplayed the aggressive side of Adam Skelos: (NY1)* John Flanagan"Advisor" Caught Signaling To Witness In Dean Skelos Trial: Nice:Atop-level state Senate staffe..
NYP's Dicker Cuomo Still Helping GOP Senate Stay In Control
Cuomo’s lack of support may lead to Senate candidate’s downfall (NYP) Democratic state Senate candidate Barbara Fiala’s campaign will be crushed by her Republican opponent because Gov. Andrew Cuomo reneged on his pledge to go all out to help and wants to maintain a GOP-controlled state Senate, the Post’s Fred Dicker writes:

GOP Which Lost Their Way On LI Spins de Blasio as Their Punching Bag Target

Fred Dicker: “(NYC Mayor Bill) de Blasio is so reviled across the state that Senate Republicans are planning to use criticism against Hizzoner to boost their candidates in next year’s campaigns — and they’ll use critiques leveled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help demonize him.”* De Blasio-Cuomo feud is Republican ammo for 2016 (NYP) *  De Blasio Laments Citizens United While His CampaignNonprofit Benefits From It (NYO) * Does Bill de Blasio Have Enough Friends? (NYO) As poll numbers sag, his progressive pals hope more will start preaching the gospel of de Blasio.* In response to the report, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins knocked Senate Republicans for declining to take up ethics legislation and called the grade “disappointing,” but “not surprising,” State of Politicsreports:  * The Observer analyzed de Blasio’s approval rating and hisallies’ failure to defend him against mounting criticism and details the strengths and weaknesses of the de Blasio administration as he gears up for re-election in 2017:*
Catsimatidis goes easy on de Blasio as he debuts new press strategy(NYP) A de Blasio spokeswoman conceded the questions were grapefruit league. “The Cats Man is not known for asking tough questions, and there are plenty of other elected officials who have been thrown softballs on his show,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton, who said the program was taped Wednesday.

Judge Denied Team Skelos Lawyer Request to Dismiss Based on Bharara Comments Bashing Public Corruption 
Federal Judge To Skelos: ‘Denied’ (YNN) Count U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood as not impressed when it comes to the argument pushed by lawyers for Sen. Dean Skelos knocking U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for recent comments he’s made bashing public corruption. She added further down: “The remarks that are the subject of this letter are too generalized to support the relief sought by defendants.” Wood, in a brief determination handed down on Friday, wrote “denied” in the margins of a brief filed by Skelos’s attorneys, who objected to Bharara’s comments on unnamed officials who are accused of corruption being able to hire “high-priced lawyers.”*  
Skelos’ attorney cited a @PolHudson post to try todiscredit Preet Bharara. It didn’t work (LoHud) A federal judge wasn't persuaded by former Senate Majority Leader Skelos’ complaints about Bharara’s public comments.

Facing Fed Investigation Dumb and Dumber Skelos and Son Failed Plot to Use Cuomo Gal Pal Sandra Lee

How Sandra Lee was a pawn in a political power struggle (NYP) Disgraced former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son were caught on wiretaps bad-mouthing Gov. Cuomo’s family, plotting to use his gal pal, Sandra Lee, against him and even musing how Skelos and other Republican lawmakers were “smarter” than the governor, new court papers state. Skelos and his son Adam — both of whom face corruption charges — were recorded last Feb. 27 talking about how Skelos planned to “stick with” the proposal he made “relating to disclosure of the outside income of the Governor’s significant other,” federal prosecutors wrote in court papers filed Monday. State Republicans had just introduced a bill that was seemingly targeted at the governor, because it would have required state leaders with domestic partners, such as celebrity chef Lee, to disclose their income. “Adam Skelos told Dean Skelos that ‘you guys are smarter and just more experienced, so, you know, you flip it on him. Then [Cuomo] goes crazy [over the disclosure bill] and then he comes back and he negotiates,’ ” a better state budget deal, the court filings state.*  According to court documents, former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, looking for a leg up in budget negotiations, floated the issue of the outside income of the governor’s live-in girlfriend and also targeted his daughter, the Daily News writes: * Ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and son targeted Cuomo's girlfriend and daughter: court transcripts (NYDN) * Skelos and his son also expressed disdain in a May 2014 email exchange for Cuomo’s daughter Michaela Kennedy Cuomo, 16, after news reports surfaced that she lobbied lawmakers for a farmworker bill. * embattled former Senate majority leader, Dean Skelos, floated the idea of raising a stinkover the outside income of Democrat Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend, Sandra Lee, and using it as leverage, transcripts of wire-tapped conversations between Skelos and his son Adam reveal.* Poll: Mayor De Blasio’s Approval Rating Sinks To 38 Percent (WCBS)* Court filings appear to allege that former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son helped the CEO of a Connecticut firm get in touch with Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein about traffic violations,Politico New Yorkreports:

Why Did Adam Skelos Go To Senator Klein To Fix A Traffic Ticket  . . .  Do They Fix Parking Tickets In the Bronx?
Dean and Adam Skelos in ticket quid pro quo, feds claim (NYP) Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ son steered a corporate exec to one of his dad’s political allies for help beating a traffic ticket — proof that both father and son were peddling their influence in Albany, federal prosecutors allege in new court papers. Adam Skelos sent a January text message to the exec, who’s now cooperating with authorities, offering an introduction to state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) in connection with a summons for gabbing on a cellphone while driving, the feds say. When the exec — who has been identified as Bjornulf White, then a VP of AbTech Industries — texted that he was interested, Adam allegedly called his dad. The feds say the elder Skelos was caught on a wiretap instructing his son to “call [Klein] and tell him you have somebody . . . but . . . the guy’s got to pay something.” The next day, Adam allegedly told Klein: “Now, this guy, he also — he happens to be a CEO of an engineering company based in Connecticut. They’re starting to do some work here in New York . . . you never know, it could lead to other stuff.” Klein responded, “Yeah, give him my number and I’ll see what I can do to help,” according to the feds. Klein’s spokeswoman said, “There was no follow-up to this conversation beyond Sen. Klein instructing that his law firm be contacted to handle a traffic ticket.”

Silver and Skelos Trial
A Fight Over the Feds Wiretaps of Skelos
Wiretaps Offer New Details in Corruption Case Against State Senator Skelos and His Son (NYT) Prosecutors in the corruption case against Senator Skelos and his son, Adam B. Skelos want to play wiretaps that they say show the son sought to leverage his father’s influence to his own benefit. Among the wiretaps, excerpts from which were contained in the filing, is a conversation in which the senator and his son, Adam, talk about getting the son’s wife a job on a Long Island zoning board and discussing the salary and health benefits the position would bring to the couple. “The purpose of the appointment was to make sure that Adam Skelos received additional income and health benefits, and that Adam Skelos would be able to corruptly use his wife’s position with respect to his real estate deals,” prosecutors said in their filing.  The prosecutors hope to present the court-ordered wiretaps to the jury to bolster their charges that the two men conspired in an extortion and fraud scheme, utilizing the senator’s office to reap hundreds of thousands of dollars for his son. Prosecutors said in the filing that Senator Skelos “repeatedly pressured the entities from which he and Adam Skelos solicited money” around the time that “the same entities were lobbying Dean Skelos to take legislative actions in the entities’ favor, and Dean Skelos then took numerous official actions in favor of the entities that agreed to pay his son * Excerpts of wiretapped phone conversations between state Sen. Dean Skelos and his son have become the subject of legal squabbling over their admissibility in the pair’s federal court case, The Wall Street Journalreports: * Wiretap: Adam Skelos makes a sales call (TU)

Ex-Senate Majority Leader caught on wiretaps plotting to get son's wife on Nassau zoning board: feds (NYDN) "During the sales call, Adam Skelos invoked the power of Dean Skelos's office by citing his frequent appearance in the 'papers,' and stated that, if the individual wanted to 'utilize' Adam Skelos's 'reach,'" he should set up a meeting with him, the feds said. The son made it clear in the Dec. 22, 2014 call he was angry the unidentified businessman hadn't done so yet. "Now, if you want to utilize my f---ing reach and business opportunity, then you call me and I'll set up a meeting. Otherwise, don't tell me you're going to set up a meeting and not set it up, okay? Because you bulls--- . . . like every other Greek business person. . . you don't do a f---ing thing. Okay? That's why you are where you are and i am where I am, okay?" Adam says on the tape, according to prosecutors. * Adam Skelos used dad’s power to try to bribe diners: court papers (NYP) Adam Skelos told a representative for an association of Greek diner owners that if they’d buy ­energy services from his employer, in return his dad, then one of the state’s most powerful politicians, would deliver a “quid pro quo,’’ new court papers charge. Adam allegedly boasted of the power he held thanks to his father’s “reach” as he tried to pressure the diner representative, Demetrios Raptis, into meeting with him. “It’s a privilege to have that number. Now, if you want to utilize my f–king reach and business opportunity, then you call me and I’ll set up a meeting.”  The papers also claim that Dean Skelos, 67 — the former Senate majority leader who stepped down from his leadership position after the charges were filed — lied about keeping the required distance from the lobbying arm of his law firm by meeting with the owner of multiple pharmacies who wanted to discuss legislative issues. “There are similar e-mails and other communications reflecting actual or potential meetings ­between clients of the lobbying firm and/or the law firm with business before the state and Dean Skelos,” the papers state.
IDC GOP Senate Coalition and Skelos  Flanagan

Bharara Arrests of Silver and Skelos Shuts Down Litwin's Glenwood Campaign Funding for Albany
Filings show Glenwood no longer a major donor (Capital) Preet Bharara has made actual, tangible results in getting money out of NY politics * Glenwood Management, perennially the state’s largest campaign contributor, has drastically reduced its campaign donations in the wake of federal investigations in which company officials are reportedly embroiled, Capital New York reports:  * The Real Estate Board of New York spent $3 million opposing a prevailing wage provisionin the renewal of the 421a tax abatement.

Developers Tied to Skelos and Silver Cases Funded 421-a Lobbyists Effort
Developers tied to Skelos and Silver cases funded lobbying effort (TU) In the wake of two high-profile political corruption cases allegedly involving major New York City real estate developers, some of those same developers helped fund a $1.9 million Albany lobbying effort this year for a lucrative tax break. A lobbying disclosure filing provided Friday by the group Putting New Yorkers to Work, a nonprofit run by leadership of the real estate trade group the Real Estate Board of New York, reported the group taking in $200,000 in May from eight limited liability companies controlled by Glenwood Management.

That’s the Long Island luxury residential developer that played a supporting role in the federal corruption charges against ex-Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Silver stepped down from his legislative leadership post in January and Skelos in May.  Glenwood’s donations to the lobbying group are listed as coming in on May 8 – four days after Skelos was arrested and charged.  Glenwood has long been the state’s biggest political donor, including to its three statewide Democrats – Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli – but appears to have tamped down its campaign spending in light of the federal scrutiny. Last Wednesday, Cuomo reported no political donations from the company the past six months. The company did, however, make the $200,000 lobbying contribution, which was part of nearly $1.9 million in total spending by Putting New Yorkers To Work in May and June.

The spending went to television and radio ads, digital media, and polling. Charles Dorego, a top Glenwood official, was given a non-prosecution agreement in conjunction with his assistance in the Skelos case. In both the Silver and Skelos cases, the lawmakers are accused of concocting schemes in which Glenwood would enrich them, or their families, in exchange for favorable treatment on one or several of the key issues Glenwood has before the Legislature, from rent regulation to tax breaks for developers. Skelos allegedly threatened to stop helping the industry if he didn’t get its support. A developer that had a cameo role in the complaint against Skelos, Tishman Speyer, also gave $250,000 to the lobbying effort, the disclosure shows. According to the complaint against Skelos, Skelos’ son, Adam, who is also facing charges, sought title insurance work from the developer. Neither Glenwood Management nor Tishman Speyer has been charged with wrongdoing. Putting New Yorkers to Work was formed to push for the interests of big real estate and affordable housing developers in the battle over the extension of the 421-a tax abatement, which expired in June and gives lucrative tax breaks to developers in exchange for their building affordable housing. Of the $3.1 in contributions collected by Putting New Yorkers to Work, the biggest donor was the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, a trade association for affordable housing developers that gave $500,000. Many of New York City’s biggest developers gave, from the Durst Organization to The Related Companies. The group was aligned with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has made building affordable housing a priority for his administration, but was at odds with a group funded by buildings trades unions, UP4NYC, that itself engaged in a well-funded push for a new prevailing wage mandate for construction workers at 421-a projects. * "Neither Glenwood Management nor Tishman Speyer hasbeen charged with wrongdoing". (TU)

Skelos Goes After the Feds 
Skelos says feds have been on a "fishingexpedition" to contrive a corruption case against him (Newsweek)

NYP Dicker Says Buzz Skelos Going to Rat

There’s widespread speculation in GOP circles that former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, facing trial in November on corruption-related charges, are seeking a plea bargain with US Attorney Preet Bharara. “Bharara has a much stronger case against Dean and Adam than he did against Libous and his son, and if he’s smart, he’s already had his lawyers talk to Bharara about a plea deal,” said a prominent Republican with ties to Skelos. Libous and his son Matthew were convicted this year on charges stemming from the elder Libous’ having used his influence to gain a high-paying job for his son at a Westchester law firm. Last week, Adam Skelos’ wife, Ann Marie, was arrested on two local misdemeanor charges in connection with a dispute with her nephew.* Nearly $10 million in Nassau County contracts have been awarded in recent years at amounts just below the threshold for legislative approval and many went to politically connected companies,Newsday reports:

Silver and Skelos Trials Both Scheduled for November
This Month Both Sampson and Libous Convicted
Friday Disgraced ex-state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam will stand trialon corruption raps in November – the same month that former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s graft trial is scheduled to begin. * The Skeloses pleaded not guilty to new bribery and extortion charges laid out in a recent superseding indictment. * Former Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala officially announced her campaign for the 52nd district state Senate seat formerly held by Tom Libous, who was found guilty of one count of lying to the FBI on July 22. “I’m here to announce the end of my retirement,” Fiala told her supporters. * Sen. John DeFrancisco was selected as the deputy majority leader of the state Senate, making him the second in command in the chamber. More hereNassau County awarded a $200,000 no-bid consulting contract to former Republican state Sen. Michael Balboni without legislative approval, and has paid him more than $64,000 to date. * Senate Republicans Plan Push To Keep Libous Seat (YNN)
IDC GOP Senate Coalition and Skelos  Flanagan

Skelos And Son Plead Not GuiltTo New Charges: Dean Skelos, the former Senate majority leader, and his son Ad... * Skelos And Son Plead Not Guilty To New Charges (YNN) * Despite Reformers’ Calls, A Special Ethics Session Seems Unlikely (YNN) *  Leader @SenatorSkelos, son pleadinnocence in new bribery charges. Trial set for Nov. 16 via @AP Former NYS Majority Leader @SenatorSkelos, son pleadinnocence in new bribery charges. Trial set for Nov. 16 via @AP* State Senate Majority John Flanagan appointed state Sen. John DeFrancisco as the Senate deputy majority leader after the post was vacated last week when the former deputy leader, Tom Libous, was convicted last week, Gannett Albany writes:   * Dean Skelos, Son
Plead Not Guilty to New Corruption Charges   

State is Still Driving Skelos and Son
LOVETT: Sen. Dean Skelos still receives state car despite federal corruption charges — 'What does one have to do to be stripped of the perks of office?'  (NYDN) Though driven from his majority leadership post after being hit with federal corruption charges, state Sen. Dean Skelos still continues to enjoy the perk of a state car.

Breaking: Senator Libous Found Guilty 
Tom Libous, one of the most prominent Republican lawmakers in the state Senate, has been found guilty by jury of lying to federal agents in a case stemming from his son receiving a job at a politically connected law firm, State of Politicsreports:  Libous’s lies have been exposed, his crime has been proven, and Albany will be the better for it State Senator Tom Libous found guilty of lying to the FBI (NYP) * NYC famed biker bar to close after massive rent hike (NYP) * State Sen. Thomas Libous guilty of lying to FBI agents (NYDN) * State senator found guilty of lying to FBI about arranging$150K-a-year job for his son * Tom Libous is convicted of lying to the FBI about a job hearranged for his son, and loses #nysenate seat (Capital) *  Jury Finds Libous Lied To FBI (YNN) * Senate Republicans no longer have an elected majority after Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous was convicted today on a federal corruption charge, leaving the GOP one vote short of the 32 needed to control the chamber – if, for some reason, Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat, decides to defect, and the IDC refuses to step in to assist. Monday Republicans ready to take on Cuomo in race to replace Libous (NYP) Cuomo made a “major tactical blunder’’ last week by vowing to go all-out to win the Senate seat left vacant by the conviction of Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous...* State Republicans believe Gov. Cuomo has put his “prestige” on the line by endorsing a Democrat to win Sen. Tom Libous’s Senate seat, considering the heavy GOP enrollment.* State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said whoeverreplaces state Sen. Tom Libous as deputy leader is likely to be an upstate lawmaker, State of Politics reports:* John Flanagan announces his onetime majority leader rival, @JohnDeFrancisco, will serve as deputy majority leader.
More on the Libous Trial

Libous Like Skelos Gets Son A Job

State GOP leader used office to get son law-firm job: prosecutors (NYP) State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) is on trial for allegedly lying to the FBI about getting a Westchester law firm to hire his ne’re-do-well attorney son, Matthew, 37.  “Why was a Westchester law firm giving his son a job, paying him more than the partners make and giving him a car?” Assistant US Attorney Benjamin Rial Allee said.  “The truth is, he used his influence,’’ Allee said of the 62-year-old state senator. “He told the firm that he would send so much work to their law firm that they could build a new wing” if they hired his son. Allee said that after Matthew Libous was hired by the law firm Santangelo, Randazzo & Mangone, he irritated his higher-ups by leasing himself a pricey car on the company tab.  The case against Tom Libous is similar to charges brought against ex-state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who stepped down after he was indicted in a corruption scheme to peddle his influence for cash and work for his own son. * 2010 Meeting With F.B.I. Agents Is Focus at Senator Thomas Libous’s Trial (NYT)The high-ranking New York State legislator is accused of lying about his role in the hiring of his son Matthew Libous. * In his opening statement at Sen. Thomas Libous’ federal corruption trial, Assistant US Attorney Benjamin Allee alleged that Libous told the law firm’s partners that if they hired his son Matthew, he would steer so much business their way “they could build a new wing on their office.” More here. *Libous’ ‘clown’ son drunkenly hit on me at party: boss’ ex-wife (NYP)

New Skelos and Son Indictment
BREAKING: Superseding indictment in the US attorney'sfederal case vs. @SenatorSkelos & his son, Adam. * Skelos’ son allegedly threatened to ‘smash in’ boss’ head (NYP) * The expanded indictment filed by federal prosecutors against Adam Skelos and his father, former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos added two new charges of soliciting bribes from a Long Island company, The New York Times reports:  * New indictment: At no-show job, Skelos' son bragged aboutfather's power 

 Libous’ fellow Binghamton-area lawmaker, Democratic Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, on his conviction: “This is a sad ending to a long career serving our community.” * Bharara: Public corruption is a scourge. Every NY’er wants us to end it but lies to LE make the job of fighting corruption difficult * Thomas Libous, New York Statesenator, is convicted of lying to F.B.I. (NYT) * Flanagan: Republicans will hold Libous seat  * Thomas Libous, New York State Senator, Is Convicted of Lying to F.B.I. (NYT) As a result of his conviction, Mr. Libous, who was the second-highest-ranking Republican in the Senate, forfeits his seat. He also faces up to five years in prison. * Sen. Tom Libous, who became one of the most powerful lawmakers in Albany but had his life upended by cancer and a corruption case, was found guilty of lying to FBI agents who were examining his son’s hiring at a politically connected law firm. Libous forfeited his seat as a result of his conviction. He will be sentenced on Oct. 30 and faces up to five years in prison. * “Public corruption is a scourge,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “…Libous’s lies have been exposed, his crime has been proven, and Albany will be the better for it.” * “Senator Libous and his entire family have been through a difficult ordeal and have faced numerous personal health challenges,” Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said in a statement. “They will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers in the weeks and months ahead.” Flanagan said the GOP still controls the chamber and is “100 percent confident” it will hold Libous’ seat in a special election (if one is called). * Thomas Libous forfeited his state Senate seat as a result of his conviction in a case in which he lied to FBI officials about his son’s hiring, and faces up to five years in prison at an October sentencing, The NewYork Times writes:  * After Libous Conviction, AG Renews Ethics Reform Call (YNN) * Cuomo: No Special Session For Ethics Refor (YNN) * Cuomo Talks Up Fiala For Libous’s Seat (YNN) * Barbara Fiala, the former head of the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Broome County executive, will announce her run for the state Senate seat vacated by Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous’ felony conviction next week. * Since his conviction on a felony corruption charge, former Sen. Tom Libous’ Senatewebpage now reads: “This senator is currently inactive, and this content is provided to you by an archive.” Also, his name has been removed from his office door at the state Capitol.  * The Republicans are expressing confidence they’ll retain Libous’ seat, but they don’t yet have a candidate. *  Crouch Considering Run For Libous Seat (YNN) * Cuomo backs Fiala for Libous seat (Capital) Former Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala, a Democrat, publicly entered the race to replace state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, a day after his felony conviction and removal, Gannett reports:
More on Libous and Son

Has There Ever Been Two Leaders Of the Senate On Trial At the Same Time? Smith Sentence Last Month
The federal Corruption Trial of State Sen. Thomas Libous is slated to begin today, as the lawmaker faces one count of making false statements to FBI agents in a probe that convicted his son, The New York Times reports:  State lawmakers are earning big money from law firms — and some of them aren’t doing much lawyering. Financial disclosure statements made public this month show some legislators earned up to six-figure incomes from law firms without representing a client or stepping foot inside a courtroom. *Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous’ political campaign spent $206,197 on attorney fees over the past six months, according to its latest disclosure filing. * Jury Selection Complete in Federal Corruption Trial Against State Sen. Tom Libous (NY1) * State GOP deputy leader Tom Libous’ trial bills add up (NYDN) * The Suburban Connections In The Libous Trial (YNN) Tuesday Prosecutors in the case against Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous told the jury that the Binghamton Republican repeatedly lied to FBI investigators in 2010, Gannett Albany reports: * Jury hears opening statements in Libous trial (Capital) Wednesday Testimony continued in White Plains on Wednesday in the corruption trial of Binghamton Sen. Tom Libous. Thursday A key witness for the prosecution in the trial of Sen. TomLibous took the stand Wednesday   *  The corruption trial of Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous took a tawdry turn when the ex-wife of a law firm partner testified that his ne’er-do-well son drunkenly tried to pick her up at a holiday party. Friday State Senator Offered Law Firm Work if It Hired His Son, Witness Testifies (NYT) State Senator Thomas W. Libous’s son Matthew was unhappy in his job and needed to make more money, Anthony Mangone recalled. *   Disgraced lawyer who hired legislator’s son had massive gambling debts (NYP) * George Maziarz, a former state senator who has been under federal investigation, continued to dip into his still-hefty campaign account to pay his legal tab, the Buffalo News reports:  Monday Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous called a federal judge as a character witness in his federal corruption trial. * Freshman state Sen. Marc Panepinto is facing his first political firestorm after local Republicans demanded he “come clean” on efforts to lobby a state agency for policy changes that critics say could benefit his private law practice, the Buffalo News writes:  * Libous’ only character witness says they’re not friends (NYP) * US District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy – the sole character witness called upon to testify for Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous during his federal corruption trial –admitted he and the Binghamton Republican aren’t actually friends. “I ran into him in a restaurant once in Albany, a long time ago.” * Closing Arguments Underway In Libous Trial (YNN) Wednesday Judge Gives Jury Intructions in Sen. Libous Corruption Trial (NY1)

    More Evidence Flanagan is Skelos' Puppet 

    Dean Skelos’ brother to helm former law firm of his state Senate successor (NYDN) The brother of indicted former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is set to helm the former law firm of the man Skelos helped install as his successor, the Daily News has learned. Nassau County state Appellate Court Judge Peter Skelos is retiring after 11 years on the bench Aug. 1 and is said to be joining Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana. GOP state Sen. John Flanagan had served “of counsel” to the firm for years.  He resigned from the practice shortly before he replaced Dean Skelos as majority leader in May. “Flanagan owes his entire leadership to Skelos, and it is clear that the connections run deep,” said one Democrat. *   Malcolm Smith’s Sentence Is Yet More Pressure OnSilver And Skelos *Late-session education changes show Flanagan’s expertise (Capital)  * After leadership change, Senate stayed its course (Capital) Evolution in process over last decade * Former Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan’s expertise on that topicshowed during his end-of-session focus in his new job as majority leader. * Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is keeping his distance from the spat between Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and focusing on his party’s relationship with the governor, the Times Unionreports:   * Flanagan also accused de Blasio of not lobbying hard enough for mayoral control of city schools, but de Blasio’s office says Flanagan in fact failed to return personal calls from the mayor, State of Politics reports:  * Flanagan Says Senate GOP Will Keep Majority (YNN) * As some Democrats agree to disagree with Cuomo, the state’s top Republican, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, says agreements and disagreements are both part of the relationship the GOP has with the Democratic governor. * Flanagan said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio bungled a chance at long-term control over city schools by refusing to “engage” with legislators. The mayor’s spokeswoman rejected that claim, saying at some point during the end of session, the majority leader simply stopped returning her boss’ personal phone calls. *  Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s appearance before an eager Albany press corps on Wednesday marks the start of a statewide tour aimed at developing a legislative agenda for next year, he said during interviews with reporters at the Capitol. 

    Silver and Skelos' Arrests Have Not Changed the Corruption Culture of Albany . . .  Bharara Still Has Work to Do

    Meet self-described family man and “institution guy” John Flanagan, the new Senate majority leader, as seen through the eyes of Tom Precious.

    Skelos Selling House Is A Clear Sign He Ready to Rat to Feds is Silver On Deck?

    Dean Skelos was forced out as Senate majority leader when he was hit with federal bribery and fraud charges. But Skelos kept his GOP seat and declared that he’ll be proven innocent. Strange, then, that he’s selling his Albany condo. Capital New York reports an ad on Craigslist offers the two-bedroom unit for $130,000 and says the seller is “motivated.”Dean Skelos is selling his condo on Craigslist (NYP)

    Bharara’s indictment of just-resigned state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, following the prosecutor’s takedown of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, reduces Albany’s once fearsome power triumvirate to Gov. Cuomo — alone in a room staring at untested backbenchers. And nobody’s quite sure what Bharara has in store for Cuomo, who has power-sapping vulnerabilities of his own — including ties to a central figure in the ever-metastasizing scandal.* Skelos had to go — but Preet Bharara still has plenty to do(NYP Ed) It took the majority party in each house too long to figure out the public wouldn’t stomach an indicted leader. That fact alone should dispel any notion that Albany’s headed for a cleaner future. * Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan attended his first leaders meeting, spending about an hour behind closed doors with Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein, State of Politics reports:  * Bill Hammond: “In his first 24 hours as majority leader of the state Senate, Long Island Republican John Flanagan has already proven a master of one skill that’s critical to the job: talking a lot without saying very much.” * Gotham Gazette took a look at Flanagan’s “fundraising velocity” since he joined the Senate in 2003 after many years in the Assembly.*  With Flanagan In Charge, Advocates Have New Hope For Bills (YNN) * DeFran: Cuomo ‘Definitely’ Influenced Senate Leadership Fight (YNN) * Squadron: ‘Insane’ LLC Loophole Still Around (YNN)

    If not for calls for Skelos’ ouster — from The Post and others, and from Democrats vowing to force a vote on the issue — who knows if the Senate Republicans would’ve ever dumped their boss? Plus, Skelos’ replacement is the one he reportedly demanded if he was to step down: fellow Long Islander John Flanagan. Oh, and Tom Libous, indicted in a separate matter, gets to stay on as the Senate’s No. 2. Another sign of how bad Albany’s gotten: Skelos reportedly threatened to quit as senator — and jeopardize his party’s control of the chamber — if his colleagues booted him. He plainly didn’t think twice about putting his personal interests above those of the very party that pushes the principles he supposedly believes in. And he was the guy Republicans chose as their leader. Actually, what’s evident is that the now-former majority leader has only one principle: Do what’s good for Skelos. Much of Albany operates similarly.
    Cuomo in Poll Free Fall   A poll shows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating dropped to 37 percent, its lowest since he took office in 2011, in part because of concerns over corruption in state government, The Wall Street Journal reports:  Cuomo’s approval rating dropped to its lowest mark since he took office in 2011, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist poll. Just 37 percent New York voters think he’s doing a good or excellent job, down from 44 percent in October. His approval rating is higher among New York City voters – 44 percent – and equal to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approval rating in a similar poll. * RECORD LOWThe Wall Street Journal’s  Cuomo's job approval rating has fallen to 37 percent, its lowest mark since he took office in 2011, according to a new Wall Street Journal, NBC 4 New York/Marist poll. Just 37 percent of voters think Cuomo is doing either a “good” or “excellent” job as governor, down from 44 percent in an October poll. The Journal reports Cuomo's numbers have fallen in part because voters are worried about corruption in state government.* Flanagan, The Senate And Continuity (YNN) * Flanagan does not expect new ethics reform legislation thisyear  (YNN) * Flanagan: ‘Proven My Mettle’ (YNN) * Flanagan: ‘Proven My Mettle’ (YNN) * Flanagan Asserts His Conservative Bona Fides (YNN)*

    Skelos' Son $100,000 From Medical Firm That Does State Business and Ties to New State Racing Boss
    Skelos indictment points to medical malpractice firm (Capital)  The federal indictment handed up Thursday against former Senate majority leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, alleges Adam Skelos earned $100,000 in payments and health benefits from a no-show job at a medical malpractice insurance firm that was simultaneously lobbying the state.  Multiple sources told Capital the unnamed firm cited in the six-count indictment is likely the politically connected Physicians Reciprocal Insurers, the second-largest medical malpractice firm in the state. P.R.I., based in Nassau CountyLong Island, counts one of the state’s most prolific donors, Anthony J. Bonomo, as its C.E.O. Bonomo's brother, Carl sits on the company’s board. In April, Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Anthony Bonomo, a former a board member, chairman of the New York Racing Association. * New racing boss has ties to Skelos corruption scheme(NYP) Anthony Bonomo, the new chairman of the New York Racing Association, is suddenly in the middle of the Dean Skelos corruption scandal. A federal indictment handed down on Thursday alleged former state Senate Majority Leader Skelos strong-armed a medical malpractice insurance firm to provide his son, Adam, with more than $100,000 in payments and health benefits through a no-show job while the firm lobbied Skelos on legislative matters. The firm was later identified as Roslyn, L.I.-based Physicians Reciprocal Insurers, which is run by Bonomo and his brother, Carl. Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Bonomo as chairman of NYRA.

    Lobbyists Fed Rat Meara Work or AbTech and Physicians Reciprocal 
    Physicians Reciprocal is NYRA Bonomo Company Who Pay to Play A $100,000 Job to Skelos Son and Hired Both Meara and  D'Amato' Park Strategies
    "Physicians Reciprocal, like other large companies in New York, contracts witha number of heavy-hitting lobby firms, including two that are tied to the environmental firm in the Skelos probe. State lobby records show Bonomo's company hired The Capitol Group and Brian Meara, companies that also represented an affiliate of AbTech, the Arizona-based environmental firm linked to the Skelos investigation. Physicians Reciprocal also hired Park Strategies, a firm led by former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato."

    Skelos and Son Pleaded Not Guilty  . . . Months of Phone Taps 
    NYRA Bonomo to go
    Bonomo takes 'leave of absence' from NYRA  Anthony Bonomo is taking a leave of absence — effective immediately — as the chairman of the board of the New York Racing Association less than a week after his company was revealed to have provide...* NYRA's new chairtakes leave of absence after his company acknowledged it is working with fedsprobing Skelos case  (Newsday)  Feds accuse Skelos' son of getting no-show, $100k job; surprise in Monday indictment comes as racing world focused on Belmont * Anthony Bonomo , CEO of Physicians Reciprocal Insurers, gave de Blasio the maximum $4,950 for his 2013 campaign, another $4,950 toward an old 2009 fine, then another $4,500 — the maximum allowed — for the inauguration.  de Blasio donors exploited loopholes allowingdouble-, triple-giving (NYDN)   Mayor de Blasio — who railed against loopholes as a candidate — was able to raise money on three fronts in the same election cycle, meaning individual donors limited to giving no more than $4,950 per cycle were able to give the maximum twice and even three times. * NYRA Chairman, Anthony Bonomo, Is Taking a Leave of Absence (NYT) Mr. Bonomo has been accused of providing a no-show job to the son of Dean G. Skelos, the former New York State Senate majority leader. * NYRA boss implicated in Skelos scandal takes leave of absence (NYP) Update New NYRA Leader  Longtime Cuomo aide new leader of NY horse racing board  Michael Del Giudice is now the association’s vice chairman. He leads a private equity company and has been a top aide to former governors Mario Cuomo and Hugh Carey and has advised Gov. Andrew Cuomo. * Cuomo Says He Backs Bonomo’s Leave Of Absence (YNN) * Michael Del Giudice, an Albany insider with longstanding ties to the Cuomo family, is taking control of the New York Racing Association after its chairman went on leave just days before its premier event, the Belmont Stakes.Newsday writes that with its chairman stepping down and amany complaints about last year’s race, NYRA needs to do a particularly good job putting on the Belmont Stakes this year: * State lawmakers tucked into this year’s state budget an extension of a law that grants a significant benefit to medical malpractice insurance companies operating in the red, such as Roslyn-based Physicians Reciprocal Insurers, a company linked to the federal probe of Sen. Dean Skelos.
    WNY Progressive Caucus, which has ties to Pigeon, The Buffalo Newswrites: 

    Watch Nassau County's Bid Rigging 
    Nassau County awards more than three-quarters of its specialty contracts – the type central to the federal corruption case against Skelos and his son – to companies that don’t submit the lowest bids, records show.* The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is zeroing in on the donations Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has received over the years from former majority leader of the state Senate, Dean Skelos, State of Politics writes: The medical malpractice firm that plays a role in the indictment of Sen. Dean Skelos and his son is reportedly the politically connected Physicians Reciprocal Insurers. Anthony Bonomo, one of the state’s most prolific donors and the Cuomo-appointed chair of NYRA, is the firm’s CEO.* Records show Nassau County awards more than three quarters of its specialty contracts—the type at the center of the case against the Skeloses—to companies that don’t submit the lowest bids, Newsday reports: 

    Why Did 5 Upstate Senators Vote Against Their Own?
    Sen. Cathy Young explained why she backed Flanagan over DeFrancisco, saying she had done so in the name of “stability,” adding: “We blocked New York City from taking control of New York state government. New York City Democrats were planning a procedural move to take control of the Senate.”* Young said there was no “arrangement” for her backing of Flanagan, though senators have said she could be in line to become Senate deputy majority leader, should something happen to Tom Libous. * Flanagan drew support from upstate in winning post (Capital) I border a district with Senator DeFrancisco. My natural inclination was to support him if he had the votes,” Senator Jim Seward of Oneonta told Capital. “But it became apparent by the time I had my chance to vote that he was going to fall short. So I thought it was important to begin to coalesce behind Senator Flanagan, so I voted for him.” Along with Seward, senators John Bonacic of Mount Hope and Bill Larkin of Orange County told Capital on Monday that they voted for Flanagan. According to several reports, which were confirmed by multiple sources, senators Michael Nozzolio of Seneca County, Catharine Young of Olean and Hugh Farley of Schenectady County also voted for Flanagan. Flanagan defeated DeFrancisco, 18-15. * Upstate Republican state Sen. Hugh Farley, who is believed to have voted for Long Island Sen. John Flanagan for majority leader over Syracuse Sen. John DeFrancisco, will face a primary, the Times Union writes:  

    Flanagan said that while he may be from eastern Long Island, he plans to represent all of New York as the chamber’s new leader and that he has great respect for his colleagues, even for those who didn’t support him, State of Politics writes:  * Six upstate Republican senators backed Sen. John Flanaganover Sen. John DeFransisco for majority leader, costing the Syracuse region greater influence in state government, the Post-Standard writes:* Speaking in Washington,D.C., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio called US Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, “a powerful voice” in the fight against inequality – praise that comes as he seeks to push the Democratic Party to the left in the 2016 presidential primary. * De Blasio also outlined his agenda in an email blast, urging supporters to sign on. * Heastie: New Senate Leader Doesn’t Change Assembly Priorities (YNN)* New Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan: “Sometimes, with the winter we’ve just had, I think, ‘are we really going through climate change?'” The state’s leading gun group is not happy with the selection of Flanagan to lead the Senate, and said it would consider primaries next year against GOP senators if they don’t seek changes to the SAFE Act. Flanagan, who voted “yes” on the SAFE Act, now says he’s open to modifying the law, but expressed doubts that would fly with the Democrat-led Assembly and Cuomo.Sen. Mike Nozzolio once introduced a bill to make Upstate the nation’s 51st state because he said New York City leaders were ignoring the region. Yesterday, he voted forFlanagan over the upstate majority leader candidate, Sen. John DeFrancisco, of Syracuse. Nozzolio and Sen. Jim Seward think Second Amendment advocates should give Flanagan some time before passing judgment.* * Flanagan said he is open to making changes to the SAFE Act gun-control law even though he was one of the handful of GOP senators who voted for the crackdown on assault weapon sales, The Buffalo News writes: * State Sen. Daniel Squadron's goal of getting a committee vote on a bill to close the controversial "LLC loophole" was quashed and is quite possibly finished for the year, the Times Unionreports:  * The Times Union writes that Flanagan needs to take up Squadron’s LLC loophole legislation and end the “dark money” in Albany that has been at the center of recent scandals: * Upstate Lawmakers Say They’re Uniting Behind Flanagan (YNN) * The majority leader said he wants people to have confidence in the government but does not expect any further ethics reforms this year. *Dean Skelos Wiretaps Reveal Greed, Schemes & F-Bombs (Long Island Press) *   After pro-Flanagan vote:  * Flanagan officially joins the three (four) men in a room

    Daily News: Long Live the New Hand Picked Corrupt King 

    The Daily News’ Bill Hammond writes that Flanagan in his first day on the job has already proven a master of one skill that’s critical to the job: talking a lot without saying very much: 

    Seething NYDN editorial not happy about Skelos' hand-pickedsuccessor (NYDN) The sendoff that Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos got from his Republican colleagues — when he stepped down seven days after his arrest — was an appalling show of how deep the corruption culture runs in Albany. There Skelos sat, like an honored retiree, as hand-picked successor John Flanagan sang his praises. A fellow member of the tight-knit Long Island caucus, Flanagan had been among Skelos’ staunchest defenders.
    While a brave few Republicans called for Skelos to step down, Flanagan was one of 16 who shamefully issued a declaration of loyalty after Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara laid out his devastating case. Like the old boss, Flanagan has drawn a six-figure salary from a law firm, without clearly saying what he does for the money or whom he does it for — then cast votes on bills affecting the business interests of that firm’s major clients. * *New Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has shown himself to be fiercely loyal, both in politics and his personal life, The Buffalo Newswrites:

    The Daily News writes that Flanagan was one of 16 who “shamefully” professed their loyalty to ex-state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos after his arrest and both are emblematic of why the GOP is risking its slim majority
    Flanagan severed that relationship before rising to become one of the state’s three most powerful officials — rather than face persistent and obvious questions about conflicts of interest and, no doubt, law-enforcement interest. Completely missing from Monday’s changing of the guard was the slightest sense that Flanagan will do anything differently. There was no sign, for example, that Flanagan will end one-person rule of the Senate — delegating to rank-and-file members some of the absolute power that has corrupted absolutely. Tellingly and wrongheadedly, Flanagan is keeping Tom Libous as deputy majority leader, even though Libous faces his own federal corruption charges. Meanwhile, Flanagan hailed Skelos’ many years of public service and the “fantastic job” he had supposedly done as majority leader as he heads in all probability toward prison. The Republicans hold the Senate by a slim majority. Under Skelos and now Flanagan, they are doing all they can to lose it. severed that relationship before rising to become one of the state’s three most powerful officials — rather than face persistent and obvious questions about conflicts of interest and, no doubt, law-enforcement interest. Completely missing from Monday’s changing of the guard was the slightest sense that Flanagan will do anything differently. There was no sign, for example, that Flanagan will end one-person rule of the Senate — delegating to rank-and-file members some of the absolute power that has corrupted absolutely. Tellingly and wrongheadedly, Flanagan is keeping Tom Libous as deputy majority leader, even though Libous faces his own federal corruption charges. Meanwhile, Flanagan hailed Skelos’ many years of public service and the “fantastic job” he had supposedly done as majority leader as he heads in all probability toward prison. The Republicans hold the Senate by a slim majority. Under Skelos and now Flanagan, they are doing all they can to lose it.The Times Unionwrites that Flanagan should counteract the temptations of corrupt that leaders face by embracing Senate reforms that make the chamber more democratic and open: * Our view: Area senators (Nozzolio and Seward) fail tostand up for upstate:   via @the_citizen

    Where Was the DA or AG? Finance Commissioner Pay to Play With Love Shack Provided Glenwood in 2012?
    Skelos, Son Charged With Fraud And Extortion (YNN)* Glenwood Management cooperating witness appears from complaint to be Charles Dorego. Glenwood referring calls to a criminal defense attorney. Dorego gave former Finance Commissioner Stock an apt inexchange for cut Glenwood's taxes   Developer won't be charged, Bharara says, bc agreed to assist in case. Commission paid to Adam S. for title insurance work, no work done.Bharara: Skelos met with developers and asked for money to go to his son. His son performed no work for $20K * Records show that one of those listed, Glenwood executive Charles Dorego, raised $167,500 for city campaigns in the 2013 election   AbTech Linked to Dorego and Litwin's GrandsonTwo men with close ties to the real estate company — Charles Dorego, a top Glenwood executive, and Steven Swarzman, a grandson of Glenwood's longtime principal, Leonard Litwin — have signed public records filed by the company that invested in AbTech's parent company, Abtech Holdings. Mr. Swarzman became friends with AbTech's founder in Arizona, and, impressed by the environmental sponge, became AbTech's East Coast distributor, according to a 2006 article in Newsday.
    Bottle whatever it is Leonard Litwin takes to be politically potent at 100. His FBI codename must be 'Viagra.'

     Skelos, on wire, explains the duties of Senate majority leader to his son: "I'm going to control everything."  Indictment claims Adam Skelos made money from campaign contributors to his dad, Sen Dean Skelos, which had biz before state * Indictment says that in March Adam Skelos said: ethics reform measure 'is kind of getting in the way.' Bharara: Skelos met with developers and asked for money to go to his son. His son performed no work for $20K Watch: Bharara: on mulitple occassions Skelso met with developer and requested commisison for his son. developer then directed money to son. The cooperating witness (a senior exec at mega-donor Glenwood Management) has a non-prosecution agreement with Preet's office. Albany shakes. Bharara:  Dean Skelos allegedly used his power & influence as Senate Maj Ldr to illegally enrich his son, Adam, and indirectly, himself * #Corruption is deep-seeded in both chambers of the legislature and both sides of the aisle. * Is Assemblywoman Cook A Rat In Hiding Against Her Fellow Lawmakers More Likely the Prosecutors Have Failed to Clean Up Her Corruption

    Albany Lawmakers Silent About Their Corrupt Leaders and Fellow Members
    Skelos was not concerned w/ what was good for NY but rather "what was good for his son's bank accounts," US Atty says * Preet: "Public corruption...a problem in both chambers, a problem on both sides of the aisle...we are deadly serious" in tackling problem. * Bharara: Dean Skelos told son to cancel meetings with other lawmakers, saying "We are in dangerous times." "We have a public corruption unit that we have no intention of disbanding," Preet Bharara says, presumably in sly nod to Moreland Commission Preet: "We have a public corruption unit that we have no intention of disbanding." * There are those words again by #Preet: "Stay tuned..

    Barrett How Corrupt Lobbyists D'Amato Runs the State Senate 
    Wayne Barrett is a journalist gem that our founding fathers counted on as a 1st A warrior to battle naturally corrupt govt and protect the public 
    The wizard of Al D'Amato: The former U.S. senator andcurrent powerhouse lobbyist has his hooks everywhere, including in new Senateboss John Flanagan (Barrett, NYDN) In 2003, former U.S. Sen. Al D'Amato, now a leading lobbyist, vaulted into the headlines for earning $500,000 to place a single phone call on behalf of a client to the chairman of the MTA to save a deal that was said to be going sour. Four hundred thousand of that was a "success" bonus for putting the deal back on track. Shortly after, Republican John Flanagan, then a freshman senator with just five months on the job — and a new salaried employee of a law firm founded by D'Amato's brother -sponsored a bill designed to protect D'Amato. The Senate was about to vote on a Republican-backed bill that would extend lobbying disclosure requirements to state authorities like the MTA, whose chair sprung into action after D'Amato's entreaty. At the last minute, Flanagan introduced an alternative filled with poison pills. Not only did it exempt "vendor disputes," precisely what prompted D'Amato's half-million-dollar call, it required the lobbying commission to establish "intentionality" to penalize lobbyists who violated the statutes. Flanagan's sham bill, so rushed he had to handwrite the memo supporting it on the floor, conflicted with the Assembly bill that had already passed and finished off any effort at reform that year. No wonder that on NY1 shortly after Flanagan's recent elevation to Senate majority leader, D'Amato said: "I'm glad to see that John has taken the reins."

    Lobbyists Miller Works for D'Amato and Lobbyist McCaughey BF Is A Leader of the Manhattan Institute Whose Lobbyist is D'Amato
    NY1 Errol Louis discussed state budget negotiationswith the NY1 Wise Guys: former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato, former Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey, and former Assembly Speaker Mel Miller

    Lobbyists rule Albany & D'Amato is Example #1 of everything that is wrong. Reform is required to restore democracy

     Elsewhere, he expressed "tremendous relief."In many ways, New York state politics is Al D'Amato's world; we just live in it. And Flanagan, the state's single most powerful Republican, is no exception to that rule.Yet, try as we might — and New Yorkers threw D'Amato out of the Senate 17 years ago — we just can't get rid of Fixer Fonz, whose booming lobbying firm now attracts $8 million a year in seduction fees, the second most of the licensed wirepullers in the state. He made several indirect appearances in the indictment of Dean Skelos, the third Senate majority leader he helped install. The charging documents describe a compliant Ed Mangano, the Nassau County executive — who let D'Amato speak at his inaugural, awarded the county's bus line to a D'Amato client and hired D'Amato's daughter — as a champion for the county environmental contract that Skelos is charged with fixing. 

    Journalist Wayne Barrett Exposes the Media Cover-Up of Lobbyists D'Amato Corruption and Control of State Senate 
    Skelos is also accused of extorting a $100,000 no-show job for his son from Anthony Bonomo, whose two medical malpractice firms have combined to pay D'Amato's lobbying firm, Park Strategies, $795,000 since 2007. Bonomo has co-hosted political fundraisers with D'Amato, and his goldmine of campaign contributions, including $75,000 to Mangano and $400,000 to Gov. Cuomo, meticulously track D'Amato alliances. Bonomo just stepped down as the Cuomo-appointed chair of the New York Racing Association, and is singing to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who now leads a veritable chorus of cooperating crooners. Also harmonizing for Bharara in the Skelos case and the one against former Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver are top associates of developer Leonard Litwin and his Glenwood Management, both of which were once D'Amato clients and, like Bonomo, synchronized many of their political contributions with D'Amato. Litwin's real estate company paid Skelos' son directly and through the environmental firm, where it was a major investor. Both Bonomo and Litwin are among the few large donors to Renew New York, a PAC controlled by D'Amato that gave $25,000 to Mangano and bankrolls other D'Amato allies. D'Amato's connections to indicted senators don't end there. 

    Tom Libous, the Senate deputy majority leader whose son has already been convicted in a parallel case with the one against the senator that is scheduled to go to trial in July, is accused of lying about a law firm job he allegedly got for his son. When Libous wanted a bigger paycheck for his boy, a $50,000 bonus was allegedly funneled to the law firm through Fred Hiffa, an Albany lobbyist. Hiffa wound up leaving his own lobbying firm and is now a managing director of D'Amato's. But the recent D'Amato scandal connections don't all revolve around Albany. The FBI and state investigators hit the headlines in Buffalo recently when they raided the homes of three major political operatives, including Steve Pigeon and Steve Casey, both of whom work for one of D'Amato's biggest upstate clients, the Congel family, father-and-son mall developers.Their companies paid D'Amato $2.7 million in federal and state lobbying fees. Not only did D'Amato represent the Congel company on a troubled Rochester project, he represented the Monroe County government that backed it.  In a separate 2013 investigation, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the feds also raided the headquarters of the Shinnecock Nation, a Long Island-based tribe whose casino rights are controlled by Gateway Casino Resorts, another D'Amato client.  * Sen. Kenneth LaValle, a Long Island Republican, has left his job at a law firm, though he said it had nothing to do with the swirl of controversies centering on lawmakers’ sources of outside income.

    Barrett's Investigation of D'Amato's 'World That We Live In' Is A Reminder How Today's Journalism Has Failed New Yorkers
    When picked in May by a narrow majority of the 32 Republicans in the Senate, Flanagan announced he was leaving the law firm that was paying him up to $150,000 a year. In the furor over Silver and Skelos' outside earnings, Flanagan's move was a welcome, if belated, acknowledgement of the potential conflicts.Flanagan's firm, Forchelli Curto, was founded in 1976 by Armand D'Amato, just as his brother was taking over as presiding supervisor of Hempstead, one of the most powerful positions in Nassau County politics. When Al D'Amato beat Javits four years later, Armand's small firm, then named D'Amato Forchelli, quickly created a Washington office. Armand left the firm when he was convicted on federal fraud charges in 1993, but returned to it in 2002, seven years after his conviction was overturned. Armand, whose use of his brother's Senate stationary to write letters on Unisys' behalf was blasted by the Senate Ethics Committee, joined his brother's lobbying powerhouse Park Strategies in 2004 (and Unisys became a Park client). Flanagan joined the Forchelli firm in 2003, a week after he took office in the state Senate. The Nassau-centric firm even opened an office in Suffolk for Flanagan, Armand and a couple of other attorneys. The firm's web archives detail hundreds of actions on behalf of specific clients, but, like Silver and Skelos at their firms, Flanagan isn't identified with any of them. More cachet than casework, he was, apparently, just another letterhead lawyer. The head of D'Amato's Long Island office, Robert McBride, organized fundraisers for Flanagan in 2006 and 2008, and Park officers and clients, including Litwin and Bonomo, gave tens of thousands.But Flanagan wasn't a shoo-in to replace Skelos after his ouster in May. John DeFrancisco was a strong contender. The Syracuse senator, who came within two votes, has said that Gov. Cuomo made calls to senators on Flanagan's behalf, but DeFrancisco, Cuomo, and D'Amato spokespeople declined to answer repeated questions about D'Amato's involvement. A source close to Flanagan says he was "not aware of any calls" D'Amato may have made and "wasn't in contact" with the lobbyist during the selection process. Other sources who closely tracked the selection say Cuomo did not want to look like he was picking a legislative leader, so ally D'Amato took over. It would hardly be a surprise — D'Amato has been a star player in the naming of the last three Republican majority leaders, Ralph Marino, Joe Bruno and Skelos. Flanagan backed medical marijuana, a departure from his history of introducing bills that banned other, less controversial, drugs, and DeFrancisco voted against it. D'Amato was paid enough in 2014 ($180,000) by one marijuana company, Ideal 420 Technologies, to pen an Op-Ed reversing his position on it, and now a long-term client, North Shore LI Jewish Health Systems, which has paid him up to $180,000 a year, says it will apply to become one of the state's five selected dispensaries for grass.DeFrancisco voted against authorizing three or four new casinos across the state and Flanagan backed it. * The political and business dealings of former Deputy Mayor of Buffalo Steve Casey and Rep. Chris Collins’ chief of staff Chris Grant as well as ties to political operative Steve Pigeon, drew the attention of investigators, The Buffalo News writes:

    Gambling in NYS is A Sure Bet for Lobbyists D'Amato Clients
    D'Amato has six clients that directly benefitted from the bill, with the Suffolk and Nassau Off-Track Betting Corporations written directly into the law, getting 1,000 video slots apiece even if the casino referendum failed. A third client, Yonkers Raceway, was terrified that its half-billion-dollar-a-year Westchester slot business would disintegrate if the Cuomo administration put a full casino in nearby Orange County. (D'Amato saw no conflict between representing Yonkers and Greentrack, a company that applied to build an Orange County casino.)  D'Amato also represents Madison and Oneida counties, which were written into the casino law as well, the beneficiaries of a compact that Cuomo signed with the Oneida tribe granting them exclusive gaming rights in 10 counties. The tribe will pay Madison and Oneida $36 million up front, settling past tax claims against their existing casinos, and millions more in flat and percentage charges for decades to come. He ran up $3.5 million in total casino-related revenue from eight clients and $1.9 million from the Poker Players Alliance, the online gambling organization D'Amato now chairs, combining to make him the king of Albany's gaming insiders, a playground like no other in recent years. The casino issue, in fact, hovered over the Senate selection process. Three upstate senators who voted for Flanagan when they could have relocated the geographic power within the senate GOP to their own region — John Bonacic, Hugh Farley and Mike Nozzolio — got Cuomo-approved casinos in their district. A fourth of the six upstate pro-Flanagan senators, Cathy Young, is so close to Nozzolio that the two are seen in Albany as a team.

     While the Cuomo siting board picked these three winners before the Flanagan vote, his Gaming Commission has yet to ratify the selections, adding to the leverage the governor brought to the table.With a senate leader beholden to him, a governor allied with him, a Nassau county executive in his pocket, and extraordinary lifelong ties to the father of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Al D'Amato, dubbed Senator Shakedown decades ago, rules now without the accountability of a public office, a shadow cast across an already darkened capital.

    D'Amato and Ratner

    Skelos Pay to Play 421-a With Glenwood and the Feds Turn Team Litwin
    Lobbyists Panic As Biggest Campaign Contributor is Not A Federal Witness
    During the Dec. 20, 2010, meeting, Skelos expressed thanks for Glenwood’s support of Senate Republicans.  Skelos  “directly asked” Litwin and the exec — who is cooperating with the feds — to pay title-insurance commissions to his son, then repeated the request as they were walking out, according to the criminal complaint. The exec arranged a $20,000 payment to Adam and also served as a linchpin in getting him hired by AbTech Industries as a $4,000-a-month consultant, the complaint alleges. Later, the exec “successfully pressured” AbTech to more than double Adam’s salary to $10,000 monthly when father and son threatened to block its $12 million stormwater-treatment contract with Nassau County, the feds say. In exchange, Skelos is accused of voting for legislation that benefited Glenwood financially and then leaning on Nassau officials to pay AbTech’s bills. In a secretly recorded conversation with an AbTech exec, Adam allegedly fumed that “the state is not going to do a f–king thing” for Nassau because it wasn’t paying quickly enough. * REBNY is working behind the scenes to defend the 421-a tax abatement program. * President and CEO of the New York State Association forAffordable Housing Jolie Milstein writes in the Daily News that the future of affordable housing in New York City depends on the renewal of the state’s 421-a tax program: * Corruption in NYS with Pay to Play - Real-estate developerplayed role in Skelos, Silver case 

    “If Dorego is involved,” said one lobbyist, speaking on background, “then you can bet more trees are going to fall.”
    The federal complaint against Skelos has caused concern in Albany because it shows Charles Dorego, senior vice president of Glenwood Management, is cooperating with the feds and he is close to many,” Capital NewYork reports Charles Dorego, the senior vice president of Glenwood Management, allegedly gave Skelos' son Adam a $20,000 cash payment and steered him title insurance work. Like many big real estate firms, state policy changes on rent control and the 421-a subsidy program are worth millions to Glenwood, and it kept Dean Skelos, the Senate majority leader, quite close. What's prompting concern at the Capitol is that Dorego, as well as Glenwood founder Leonard Litwin, are close to everyone. If Dorego is involved,” said one lobbyist, speaking on background, “then you can bet more trees are going to fall.” In the past four years, Glenwood passed out at least $3.6 million to state politicians and the political committees that support them through a roster of two dozen limited liability companies. Records show it has ties to a dark money group that spent another $1 million attacking Democrats in 2012. It's hard to state definitively, because only some of the L.L.C.s can be readily associated, by address, with their parent company. The contributions flowed across party lines through both chambers of the Legislature, pooling around the men with the most power, regardless of their stated affiliations or ideologies. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has benefited the most, taking in $1.45 million for his campaign committee and the soft money account he controls at the Democratic State Committee. Glenwood is also the largest donor to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Tom DiNapoli, both Democrats. State Senator John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse-area Republican who chairs the chamber's finance committee, allowed a subtle hint. “If the political donor's been giving a lot of money to everybody, maybe a question is how come one of the many get indicted and others don't,” he said. “I can't imagine.” Litwin, a centenarian, has receded from the scene in recent years, according to people who know him. That's left Dorego and the company's stable of lobbyists (which includes two former state senators, Nick Spano and Carl Andrews) to mix with politicians at fund-raisers and check in when major legislation is being drafted in nondescript rooms tucked into the Capitol's upper floors. Glenwood was also revealed in the recent complaint against former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver as one of the clients of a tax certiorari firm that paid the Democratic lawmaker undicslosed fees. Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney who is prosecuting both Skelos and Silver, accelerated his investigation when he inherited the files of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption after lawmakers disbanded it in 2014. It subpoenaed major real estate developers—amid concerned entreaties from Cuomo's aides—in search of a nexus between their giving and the bills granting them subsidies.

    How Litwin's Glenwood Purchased NY's Govt and Political System
    Albany shivers after Bharara flips a major donor (Capital) Charles Dorego, the senior vice president of Glenwood Management, allegedly gave Skelos' son Adam a $20,000 cash payment and steered him title insurance work. Like many big real estate firms, state policy changes on rent control and the 421-a subsidy program are worth millions to Glenwood, and it kept Dean Skelos, the Senate majority leader, quite close. What's prompting concern at the Capitol is that Dorego, as well as Glenwood founder Leonard Litwin, are close to everyone. “If Dorego is involved,” said one lobbyist, speaking on background, “then you can bet more trees are going to fall.” * As tenants rail against subsidy, REBNY comes out swinging (Capital)  Real estate lobby argues 421-a vital to rental development 

    Glenwood the Core of 3 Men In A Room 
    Glenwood is the Real Producer of Three Men In the Room . . . Glenwood's Litwin Bought NY's Govt and These Guys Sold It To Him . . . Is Bharara Going After Cuomo? Connect the Dots
    Glenwood is at the core of 3-men-in-room doing Glenwood's bidding, each for their own private bilateral reasons. If Gentling could "own" the 2012 State of the State Casino address with their late-2011 funds-infusion, one can only imagine what Leonard Litwin's Glenwood, a durable big money donor "owned"? Laws? * NYC development firmtied to Skelos, Silver affairs (TU)  Glenwood Management a top greaser of political wheels. Glenwood's payments to another top lawmaker, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, played a major role in this year's other major ethics scandal. As lawmakers deal with the renewal of rent laws and real estate tax breaks in the waning days of this year's legislative session, they may feel pressure to distance themselves from the powerful firm. The complaint revealed that Dorego began cooperating only last month. Glenwood has long been among the state's biggest political donors, and has taken advantage of a loophole in state election law that allows limited liability companies to donate as much as individual donors. In fact, the federal complaint released Monday says that Skelos asked Dorego to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations, even as Skelos was allegedly pressing Dorego to steer lucrative work to Skelos' son, Adam, who also was charged Monday. Glenwood is Gov. Andrew Cuomo's biggest campaign donor and a major part of two politically generous landlord groups, the Rent Stabilization Association and the Real Estate Board of New York. In 2013, former top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz reportedly tried to stop a subpoena from theMoreland Commission, an investigative panel convened by Cuomo, for information about REBNY's political giving and a valuable tax break related to new housing. REBNY eventually provided the information voluntarily. After Cuomo shut down Moreland in 2014, Bharara's office picked up many of its investigations — while also probing potential Cuomo administration interference and the circumstances surrounding the panel's demise in March 2014. REBNY was also among the biggest players in the Committee to Save New York, a nonprofit that spent millions early in Cuomo's tenure to push through his legislative agenda. "I think it's astonishing that Glenwood is involved in the Sheldon Silver scandal, and the Dean Skelos scandal, and is the biggest single donor to Andrew Cuomo," said Michael McKee, treasurer of the group Tenants PAC, which is perpetually at odds with the real estate industry. "It's the perfect example of how corrupt the system really is." * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos calls the criminalcomplaint against him "a glorified press release" (NYP) * Conservative Party head urges Skelos to step down (NYP) * Dean Skelos Thwarted Reform and Maintained Power, Despitethe Odds (Gotham Gazette) * Skelos, on his flock: “They know I'm innocent, just like Iknow I'm innocent, and now we're focused on governing."  (Capital) * Another Senate Republican Calls For Skelos To Step Down (YNN) * Skelos: Criminal Complaint A ‘Press Release’ (YNN) * Gianaris: ‘It’s A Mistake’ To Keep Skelos Leader (YNN) * Astorino Dings Senate Republicans (YNN) * For you Game of Thrones fans out there: “(US Attorney Preet) Bharara is going Lord Baelish in the Five Boroughs. He knows where the bodies are buried. He’s the one burying them.”* Activists rallied outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan offices and criticized his comments that corruption cases in Albany may make it difficult to push for serious rent regulation changes, the Observerreports

    Lobbyists Working for Glenwood Management
    Pitta Bishop Del Giorno & Giblin Llc $150,000
    Carl Andrews & Associates, Inc. $ 144,000
    Empire Strategic Planning, Inc. $ 144,000
    Meara, Brian R. Public Relations, Inc. $120,000
    Lieberman, Mark L. $90,000
    Sanzillo, Francis J. & Associates $90,000
    Runes, Richard $60,000
    Park Strategies $20,000

    Where Was the DA or AG? Finance Commissioner Pay to Play With Love Shack Provided Glenwood in 2012?
    Skelos, Son Charged With Fraud And Extortion (YNN)* Glenwood Management cooperating witness appears from complaint to be Charles Dorego. Glenwood referring calls to a criminal defense attorney. Dorego gave former Finance Commissioner Stock an apt inexchange for cut Glenwood's taxes   Developer won't be charged, Bharara says, bc agreed to assist in case. Commission paid to Adam S. for title insurance work, no work done.Bharara: Skelos met with developers and asked for money to go to his son. His son performed no work for $20K * Records show that one of those listed, Glenwood executive Charles Dorego, raised $167,500 for city campaigns in the 2013 election   AbTech Linked to Dorego and Litwin's GrandsonTwo men with close ties to the real estate company — Charles Dorego, a top Glenwood executive, and Steven Swarzman, a grandson of Glenwood's longtime principal, Leonard Litwin — have signed public records filed by the company that invested in AbTech's parent company, Abtech Holdings. Mr. Swarzman became friends with AbTech's founder in Arizona, and, impressed by the environmental sponge, became AbTech's East Coast distributor, according to a 2006 article in Newsday.
    Bottle whatever it is Leonard Litwin takes to be politically potent at 100. His FBI codename must be 'Viagra.'

     Skelos, on wire, explains the duties of Senate majority leader to his son: "I'm going to control everything."  Indictment claims Adam Skelos made money from campaign contributors to his dad, Sen Dean Skelos, which had biz before state * Indictment says that in March Adam Skelos said: ethics reform measure 'is kind of getting in the way.' Bharara: Skelos met with developers and asked for money to go to his son. His son performed no work for $20K Watch: Bharara: on mulitple occassions Skelso met with developer and requested commisison for his son. developer then directed money to son. The cooperating witness (a senior exec at mega-donor Glenwood Management) has a non-prosecution agreement with Preet's office. Albany shakes. Bharara:  Dean Skelos allegedly used his power & influence as Senate Maj Ldr to illegally enrich his son, Adam, and indirectly, himself * #Corruption is deep-seeded in both chambers of the legislature and both sides of the aisle. * Is Assemblywoman Cook A Rat In Hiding Against Her Fellow Lawmakers More Likely the Prosecutors Have Failed to Clean Up Her Corruption

    Albany Lawmakers Silent About Their Corrupt Leaders and Fellow Members
    Skelos was not concerned w/ what was good for NY but rather "what was good for his son's bank accounts," US Atty says * Preet: "Public corruption...a problem in both chambers, a problem on both sides of the aisle...we are deadly serious" in tackling problem. * Bharara: Dean Skelos told son to cancel meetings with other lawmakers, saying "We are in dangerous times." "We have a public corruption unit that we have no intention of disbanding," Preet Bharara says, presumably in sly nod to Moreland Commission Preet: "We have a public corruption unit that we have no intention of disbanding." * There are those words again by #Preet: "Stay tuned..

    Skelos said having rent regs expire every 2 years great for excitement. He meant $$$
    We have a Public Corruption Unit, which we do not intend to disband." * first silver, now skelos. preet bharara continues workinghis way through the albanycorruption alphabet: * Dean Skelos has to give up his gun following today'scriminal charges:  * "It's like [expletive] Preet Bharara is listening to every [expletive] phone call," Dean Skelos's son griped to him in call recorded by feds * Skelos said having rent regs expire every 2 years great forexcitement. He meant $. (City and State) * Gotham Gazette examines how Skelos came to inherit hisleadership position from former state Sen. Joe Bruno and maintained his power by opposing reforms and cutting deals with Democrats:

    Just Like Drug Dealers Burner Phones

    Skelos's son used a burner phone in an effort to avoid government surveillance, complaint says: "Burners can give you a measure of anonymity, but they’re by no means untraceable.."

    Skelos Used His Fellow Senators to Deliver the AdTech Contract to his Son
    Dean Skelos and a Senate closet full of skeletons: Thecorrupt and insular world of New York’s top Republicans (Wayne Barrett, NY Daily News) Skelos organized a shake down using 3 state senators to push for the AdTech Contract for his son.  Senator Rich Funke included a line in the GOP answer to Cuomo's state of the state that he was given by Skelos to demand more state funds  to increase funding for water filtration and sewer systems. 

    Florida the Official Home of the GOP Senate And Their Lobbyists
    AbTech lobbyist "owns a Swan Lake Club condo in Naples just a few doors down from Matthew Libous"  * "Funke is so new to the Sen he may not have realized how many of his own Rep colleagues had bought homes in Florida," One other interesting tidbit from Funke's State of the State response speech was his observation that New York had been "overtaken by Florida as the nation's third most populous state," a stat he turned into a call to action. Funke is so new to the Senate he may not have realized how many of his own Republican colleagues had bought homes in Florida, especially in the 45-mile southwest corridor between Fort Myers and Naples, where they reportedly hang out in gated golf-course communities and do Senate business. Lobbyists have figured it out and bought homes there as well, including the three alluded to in the complaint against Skelos.  It's just another crack of light into the Senate silo. The leaders at the top of the Senate organizational chart — Skelos, deputy majority leader Tom Libous, Finance chair John DeFrancisco, Majority Whip Michael Nozzolio, Banking Chair Hugh Farley and Corporations, Authorities and Commission chair Michael Ranzenhofer — have Florida homes. So does George Maziarz, the energy and telecommunications chair who did not seek re-election in 2014. Nick Barrella, an Albany-based lobbyist for AbTech, owns a Swan Lake Club condo in Naples just a few doors down from Matthew Libous, whose father, Senator Libous, is under indictment for lying to the FBI about using his influence to get Matt a job and salary hike. The senior Libous is convalescing at one of his two Laurel Greens condos in Naples after a couple of recent surgeries. Too sick to come to Albany for a Skelos vote, Libous signed a letter Thursday joining 16 other Republicans in support of Fort Myers-based Skelos. Bharara has already convicted Matt Libous on tax charges, is scheduled to go to trial soon against the cancer-stricken senator, and raided their Binghamton house to seize wife Frances' computer and other records.

    AbTech lobbyist "owns a Swan Lake Club condo in Naples just a few doors down from Matthew Libous" 
    The senator owns four Florida condos altogether, partnering repeatedly with a controversial contractor from his home district. Like the Libous family, Maziarz is also in Naples and went there to relax even before his final term ran out last December. According to the criminal complaint, Adam Skelos got AbTech to hire Barrella and another lobbyist, Mike Avella, both of whom are described in the complaint as "close" to his father. Barrella wouldn't take the AbTech gig until he spoke personally to the senator himself. Later, he reportedly advised Adam that, "for obvious reasons," Skelos couldn't sponsor the bill that benefitted AbTech himself. Barrella and the Skelos duo even tried to work on fracking approvals that might have been a boost to the firm.  Avella, who was once Skelos' counsel, is listed with a home in Hallandale (a 145-mile across-the peninsula trip from Fort Myers), though it's unclear if he still owns it. Avella's partner, Brian Meara, is now cooperating with the feds.  Dorego bought a $1.3 million home in Jupiter last year, also on the east coast parallel to Fort Myers. Several other Albany lobbyists unconnected to the case have Florida homes, like Patricia Lynch, a onetime aide to Shelly Silver. She bought a $760,000 home in the fittingly named Shadow Wood Preserve in Fort Myers, just a shade away from Skelos' $184,000 condo at the Heritage Palms Golf and Country Club. Skelos is said to spend a great deal of time there, and entertains other senators at his condo. eFrancisco, a top-tier potential replacement for Skelos, has his own $722,000 castle on Sanibel Island, just off Fort Myers. He is often at the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, where his his wife Linda has become a golf champion. He distinguished himself earlier this year by taking his pension atop his salary after publicly promising he never would — a double dipper, just like Libous. Farley, the longest serving member of the Senate, is also on the southwest side in Port Richey, a good bit north of Fort Myers. Nozzolio, who represents the Finger Lakes, apparently prefers the 36-hole course at Tuscany at Hammock Dunes, where in 2012 he got a condo that previously sold for $1.3 million for a mere $610,000. That's over 200 miles northeast of Fort Myers, near Jacksonville. Also buying that year, Ranzenhofer, got a place far away from the Skelos circle, acquiring a $293,000 home in The Villages, the fastest growing small city in America with 84,000 sudden yet senior residents. It is a Republican dreamland nicknamed The Bubble — a developer-planned city, backed by tax-exempt bonds that have been challenged by the IRS.
    Charmian Neary
    Next time you read legislators complaining about their low pay, ask where they get the money for their luxury condos…

    Flanagan Former Law Firm Did Business With the State
    John J. Flanagan’s Former Law Firm Had Matters Before State Agencies (NYT) Mr. Flanagan, the new majority leader of the New York State Senate, made more money in part-time work on Long Island than he did as a legislator. The Long Island law firm where he has worked for more than a decade, Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, has a long list ofprominent clients — some of which, including Cablevision and Citibank, are directly affected by decisions made in the state capital. Its website notes that the firm “regularly works on matters involving key governmental agencies,” including New York State agencies. A review of public records and a client list from the firm’s website found numerous clients that have business before state government, like lobbying or obtaining government contracts. The firm’s clients have included Chase Bank, General Motors, HSBC, Northrop Grumman, Yum Brands, Vornado Realty Trust, Walgreens and the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association. Yet when Mr. Flanagan was asked this week whether the firm had clients with business before the state, he responded, “I don’t know, I don’t know.” * New state Senate leader didn’t disclose pal’s loan for years (NYP)* Flanagan received a no-interest loan from a friend and failed to disclose it for years. He forgot about the $20,000 and $50,000 loan from Jennifer Lorenz made for “college and home improvements” for nearly five years until he finally came clean this year and amended his annual financial reports to disclose the debt. * The Long Island law firm that Flanagan recently left, Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana, has a long list of prominent clients — some of which, including Cablevision and Citibank, are directly affected by decisions made in the Capitol. Asked whether the firm had clients with business before the state, the new Senate majority leader replied: “I don’t know.” *  Abtech Holdings, Inc., the company at the center of federal charges against State Senator Dean Skelos and his son, has suffered a “tremendous setback” due to the suspension of its work in Nassau County, a company executive said. * Republican Assemblyman Joe Borelli has opened a campaign committee to run for the Staten Island seat of retiring NYC Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio.*  A veteran NYPD detective wants a Long Island village to rename a sports complex currently paying tribute to disgraced state Sen. Dean Skelos, the Daily News’ Kenneth Lovett reports: * The elections are 18 months away, but already one Democratic name is being floated as a possible candidate for embattled former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ seat – freshman Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, of Long Beach.

    Not Clear What Work Flanagan Did For His Law Firm
     Little is known about the work he did at the firm, where he listed his position as “of counsel” and made $100,000 to $150,000 annually in 2012 and 2013, according to his annual financial disclosure filings. Mr. Flanagan said on Tuesday that he did not represent any clients with business before the state. He said he had dropped his law firm job to enable him to devote himself to being majority leader. The outside income of legislators has drawn considerable scrutiny in Albany, and recent criminal cases have brought more attention to the issue. In January, the longtime Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, was arrested on accusations of taking illicit payments that were disguised as legitimate income from practicing law. Mr. Silver was originally hired by his law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg, with no expectation that he would work on cases or refer them to the firm, according to a federal criminal complaint; instead, one of the firm’s founding partners hoped that Mr. Silver would enhance its prestige, the complaint said. Mr. Skelos also worked at a law firm, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek. A federal criminal complaint said it appeared that Mr. Skelos “did not perform any actual legal work,” but was paid in large part for referring clients to the firm and meeting with clients, “including about legislative matters.” Neither his firm nor Mr. Silver’s has been accused of wrongdoing. 

    Flanagan’s law firm Tried to Stop A Subpoena From the Moreland Commission
    Mr. Flanagan’s law firm was also one of more than two dozen employers of state legislators that were subpoenaed in 2013 by the Moreland Commission, an anticorruption panel created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat. The panel, which was examining the outside income of lawmakers, sought documents regarding his clients and compensation, as well as building access records showing when he came to work, according to a copy of the subpoena his firm received. The law firm joined with other firms employing legislators to challenge the subpoenas in court, and the matter was unresolved when Mr. Cuomo struck a deal last year to shut down the Moreland Commission.* Son of state Sen. Thomas Libous working to clear charges of tampering with a drug test (NYDN) * Bill Hammond: Translating the new Senate boss (NYDN)* * State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who took over for former majority leader Dean Skelos in the wake of corruption charges, has a lot in common with his fellow Long Islander and predecessor, Crain’s New Yorkwrites:

    Flanagan, Cuomo and Assembly Outlined Their Priorities
    Flanagan and Cuomo outlined their priorities for the remainder of the legislative session, which included everything from student testing to the property tax cap to the SAFE act, the Times Union reports:  * Assembly Democrats introduced a bill that would extend rent regulation laws for four years and make them more tenant-friendly, including a repeal of a provision allowing the decontrol of vacant units, theDaily News reports: * With 15 days left in the legislative session, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined two sets of priorities that likely will lead to simple compromise and unresolvable clashes as June 19 nears. * Among Flanagan’s priorities: “common sense reforms” to the SAFE Act, an issue that is unlikely to gain traction with the governor and Democrat-controlled Assembly. * Kickstarting what promises to be a bitter battle, state Assembly Democrats this weekend introduced a bill to extend the state’s expiring rent regulation laws by four years and make them more tenant friendly.* Cuomo: "This is not a session to get fancy. I'm focusedon getting the basics done." (Capital) *.@CTLizB hashes outwhat's most likely to get done in Albanyover the next several weeks (YNN) With 15 session days remaining, Senate Republican leader John Flanagan laid out his conference's legislative priorities. “That’s not a lot of time, but it’s enough to make a difference in the lives of hard-working New Yorkers and their families,” Flanagan, a Republican from Long Island, said in a statement released Sunday. The chamber plans to pass legislation this week that would make the 2 percent property tax cap permanent, he said. Flanagan, the former Senate education committee chairman who was elevated to the chamber's highest position last week, also plans to pass legislation that would offer incentives for donations to private, parochial and public schools before session concludes in mid-June * Heastie plans reforms to per diem system of which he was aprime beneficiary  *GOPer want SAFE Act changes tied to rent control extension (NYDN) * End of Session Slog (YNN)* The state Democratic Committee once again declined to vote on a resolution calling on the five-member Independent Democratic Conference to rejoin the mainline conference in the state Senate, State of Politics reports:  * Cuomo in an open letter to the state Legislature published by the Huffington Post called for lawmakers to act on a package of reform bills from his office aimed at addressing public trust in the criminal justicesystem:  * With the session winding down and the instability caused by corruption trials in the state Legislature, things are shaping up to be hectic in the final weeks, with many issues still unresolved, Capital New Yorkwrites: *   Hochul: Cuomo Remains Committed To DREAM Act (YNN) * Heastie: SAFE Act Changes Unlikely (YNN) * In an open letter to state lawmakers on the Huffington Post, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called again for passage of criminal justice reforms before the session ends next month. * A bill that protects farmworkers’ rights and has passed the Assembly several times, but failed to gain support in the Senate may have a chance this year, as Flanagan has supported it in the past, the Times Union writes:  * Senate Republicans are pressing for changes to the state’s controversial gun-control laws, but any modifications appear to face an uphill battle with the Democratic-led Assembly, Gannett Albany reports:

    Wednesday Update EITC Remains A Question For Assembly * A recent legal interpretation by the state Senate GOP majority could undercut a rule allowing bills to move more democratically through the chamber, regardless of a leader’s take on the proposals, the TimesUnion reports  * Senate GOP’s reading of “motion to consider” rule makesminority-empowerment device worthless: Senate Rules May Keep LLC Corruption From @ChrisBragg1#nysenate ruleinterpretation may keep LLC loophole bill in a drawer. (TU) * Letter to governor, legislative leaders calls for ethicsreforms in the final days of session:  * As Assembly Democrats finalized their changes to the state’s new teacher evaluation system, state Senate Democrats called for passage of an education package that also includes evaluation fixes. The calls come with just 13 session days left on the legislative calendar. * The Democrat-controlled state Assembly approved legislation to extend and strengthen city rent regulations, setting up a battle with the state Senate.

    ‘Opt Out’ Becomes Anti-Test Rallying Cry in New York State(NYT) A small, if vocal, movement urging parents to have their children sit out standardized exams took off this year, maturing from scattered displays of disobedience into a widespread rebuke.* The Assembly majority has decided to prioritize strengthening rent regulations, opting to take the path of least resistance on mayoral control, passing a law extending the power for three years – not the seven years originally proposed, let alone the permanent extension NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has sought. * Cuomo’s end-of-session priority list apparently does not include the DREAM Act, through it does include the education tax credit he initially linked – unsuccessfully – to DREAM during the budget battle. * Public housing residents are wary of de Blasio’s plan to turn around the financially-troubled NYCHA. * In a Legislature derided for a top-down “three men in a room” system of governance, a rule allowing bills to move more democratically through the state Senate has been a rare bright spot. But a recent legal interpretation by an attorney for the Republican majority could render it effectively meaningless.

    Tuesday UpdatHeastie plans reforms to per diem system of which he was aprime beneficiary * The Daily News calls on state Senate Majority Leader JohnFlanagan to live up to his 2003 statement that he’d be a “hypocrite” if he did not support a bill offering protections to farm workers: * Gianaris Compares Cuomo To Scott Walker (YNN) * New York Democrats Meet Amid Challenging Year For Cuomo (YNN) * LG Kathy Hochul and former Gov. David Paterson, Cuomo’s hand-picked state Democratic party chairman, rallied around the governor’s agenda, saying a recent slump in his approval rating is nothing to worry about. * ASSEMBLY TEPID ONCUOMO’S TAX CREDIT—CapitalNo one in the state Assembly seems particularly thrilled over Cuomo’s revamped version of a tax credit offering incentives for donations made to private and public schools. “I think the governor's proposal is a little watered down from our initial proposal,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, a Democrat from Queens and proponent of the tax credit. “However, I’m excited that we're talking steps in the right direction to providing fair education to every student across New York State.” Last week, Cuomo unveiled his program bill, which offers up to $50 million in tax credits to donors who contribute to scholarship funds to aid low- and middle-income students attending private or parochial schools and another $20 million in credits for those who donate to public schools. * Assembly Extends, Strengthen Rent Control Regulations(YNN)

    Flanagan Supports Rent Laws and Mayoral Control of Schools But Details
    Flanagan backs extended rent stabilization and mayoral control of schools (NYP) New state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said Tuesday that he would support laws extending rent stabilization, housing tax breaks and mayoral control of city public schools before the Legislature...* Lawmakers predict extension of 421a tax break (Real Deal) Flanagan: De Blasio Deserves ‘Fundamental Respect’(YNN) * * New Assembly and state Senate leaders may make things difficult for Cuomo as he tries to publicly keep his distance from the Legislature while continuing to dominate it, New York Magazine’s Chris Smithreports:

     Skelos Outgns amid corruption scandal  (NYDN) Skelos will be replaced as Senate majority leader by John Flanagan of Long Island, per GOP source. No official announcement yet.  * Breaking: Facing federal corruption charges, Sen. Dean Skeloshas stepped down as senate majority leader. Full story:  (WSJ) * One week after arrest on corruption charges, Dean Skelosstepping down as N.Y. Senate leader (NYT)* Good-government and progressive advocacy groups took advantage of the press concentration outside the Senate Republican conference room to call for action on several items at the top of their agenda, the TimesUnion reports:  * Earlier in the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would work with whoever the Senate Republicans picked as majority leader, the Observer reports * Flanagan Says He’s Stepped Way From Law Firm  (YNN) * Politics flow through new state Senate majority leader’s genes (NYP)* As a Long Island Republican – Dean Skelos – relinquished his position as Senate president, and the leadership job went to another Long Island Republican – John Flanagan. * In a day of drama in the state capital, Flanagan squeaked through the 63-member Senate with 32 votes — a bare majority. There are 32 Republicans, but Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous is recuperating from surgery in Florida. It was left to Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder, a Skelos ally, to provide the winning vote.

    Libous Will Remain Deputy Leader (YNN)  * New Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who was just 25 years old when he succeeded his father in the state Assembly, is seen as someone with politics in his DNA.*  Both Flanagan and his now-vanquished rival, Sen. John DeFrancisco, accepted campaign contributions from companies related to downstate developer Glenwood Management and its founder Leonard Litwin, which played a key role in the Skelos and Silver corruption scandals. * The final count of the closed-door conference vote in which Flanagan bested DeFrancisco to succeed Skelos as majority leader was note released, but several senators said it was close.  * There’s already a fake John Flanagan Twitter account. * Sen. Daniel Squadron to Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, chair of the chamber’s Corporations Committee: My bill to close LLC loophole is pending in your committee, when will it be taken up? * Meet the new boss  (NYDN) * Flanagan says he left his law firm last week. No news on his replacement at Education. Libous to remain deputy majority leader. * Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, Vacates Post(NYT) * A Sudden Elevation for John J. Flanagan, a Vocal Legislator (NYT) * Catharine Young and Michael Nozzolio were the only GOP senators west of Syracuse to vote for new Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in a private meeting before the public vote, sources told The Buffalo DailyNews:  * Flanagan’s ascension to state Senate majority leader marked the first time in memory that both of the state’s Legislative leaders have been replaced midsession, theTimes Union reports: * Flanagan’s new role is “the best possible outcome” for Long Island because the senator is expected to fight for its schools and roads, but he must also fight for a more ethical culture in Albany,Newsday writes * Flanagan, who hails from Long Island, overcame a regional divide among members of the conference and emerged from a conference meeting as the choice to replace Dean Skelos, who was arrested earlier this month on federal corruption charges. “To have to pick one and not the other was extremely difficult, but the outcome—we couldn't lose as a conference” said Senator John Bonacic, a Republican from Mount Hope who was the first Republican senator to call for Skelos to step down. “I was supportive of Senator Flanagan before Senator [John] DeFrancisco [of Syracuse] even announced he had an interest. I gave him my word that I was going to support him, and then, John DeFrancisco—who's a great friend of mine—got in a little later. When I give someone my word, I don't change it. I'm old school, so I just stayed with it. Believe me, it was torturous.”

    Feds Want Libous Son to Go to Jail 
    Prosecutors want jail time for state senator’s son (Lohud) Federal prosecutors said the son of Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, should go to prison for underreporting his income, accusing him of failing to fully repay the IRS and “tampering” with a urine sample used in a drug test. In a court document filed late Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office said Matthew Libous, 37, still owes back taxes and hasn’t properly accepted responsibility following his conviction in January of failing to report $69,950 of income on his tax returns from 2007 through 2009. The document also accuses the younger Libous of intentionally consuming large amounts of liquid prior to a February drug test, which can dilute a urine sample and cause a “false negative,” according to prosecutors. Libous’ attorney categorically denied the charge, calling it “absurd.” Bharara’s office asked U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti to impose a prison term of 33 months to 41 months when the younger Libous is sentenced in White Plains federal court on May 18. * Federal prosecutors said the son of Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous should go to prison for underreporting his income, accusing him of failing to fully repay the IRS and “tampering” with a urine sample used in a drug test.

    Skelos Death Watch Last Day Monday
    Dean Skelos Faces Growing Opposition as Support Wanes Among Republicans (NYT) Mr. Skelos, the Republican leader, is not expected to keep his post beyond Monday, though it was not clear how, and under what terms, his tenure would end. * Dean Skelos expected to step down as state Senateboss  (NYDN) * Influential Upstate Republican:"If Cuomo puts Flanagan in in Skelos' place, might as well fold the Republican tent & turn out the lights.''* Skelos expected to be out as majority leader Monday - City & Region - The Buffalo News * Dean Skelos expected to step down as majority leader(NYP) * Embattled Senate GOP boss Dean Skelos expected to step down Monday amid federal corruption charges (NYDN)  Skelos is expected to resign from his leadership post today or face the prospect of being removed by a public vote on the chamber floor * Amid reports that Skelos is on his way out as Senate majority leader, the Times Union looks at the resumes of the two leading candidates to succeed him, state Sens. John DeFrancisco and John Flanagan:  * Sources say GOP might ask Sen. Deputy leader Libous-who wasindicted in an unrelated corruption case-to step aside(NYDN) * Embattled Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is expected to step down from his leadership post any day – perhaps during a closed-door meeting this morning with his Republican members. If he doesn’t, he could face the ultimate humiliation of being removed — with help from the Democrats — as leader during a public vote on the floor of the Senate.* By last night, at least nine Republican senators had publicly called for Skelos to step down, representing a significant slice of the 33-member conference, which rarely shows its diverging views in such a stark fashion. Skelos’ replacement – likely Sen. John Flanagan, of Long Island; or Sen. John DeFrancisco, of Syracuse – will take over a conference that has been fractured unlike any time in decades. And the direction the Republicans go could have a profound impact on issues being negotiated in the waning weeks of the legislative session. In an interview yesterday, DeFrancisco said Republicans would discuss the situation today and “after that, we’ll know who the leader is.” * “Dean probably sees the handwriting on the wall at this time,” said an influential Republican senator with a vote on the matter. That senator said it would be bad for Skelos’ “legacy” to bow out completely or let his colleagues take the gavel from him. While many members of the rank-and-file in both houses have been charged or convicted of crimes over the years, it’s the Legislature’s leadership structure that some say makes it easy for those at the top to commit abuse. Aam Skelos had some trouble as a teenager, moving from high school to high school. And he relied on his increasingly powerful and politically connected father as he got older to help him get jobs – and keep them.* Skelos on verge of ouster; successors jockey (Capital) * Capital Education: Flanagan’s shot at Senate leader; L.I. principal’s Common Core fight (Capital) * Battle Over Skelos Is Set to Heat Up (WSJ) *Democrats Step Up Skelos Attacks (YNN) * Will Upstate Hang Together? (YNN) * Dean Skelos, SheldonSilver, et al, and the J51 and 421a Tax Break * It's 'going to be ugly' for fractured GOP in state Senateas Dean Skelos departure looms (NYDN) * Sen. Rich Funke throws support to John DeFrancisco  * “It was the right decision to step aside,” said Skelos, who is facing federal corruption charges. “I was a distraction.” The senator said he decided to step down after an “obnoxious” news photographer went into his son’s backyard last week, and his 2-year-old grandson fell and split his lip. Sources tell Tom Precious that Sens. Cathy Young and Michael Nozzolio were the sole GOP senators west of Syracuse to vote for Flanagan to replace Skelos. Also, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made it clear that he preferred Flanagan to the more conservative and outspoken Sen. John DeFrancisco. Seventeen senators in the Senate GOP conference are from Upstate, the same number needed to win the conference vote. “Many people assumed that many of the Upstaters were going to go in my corner,” DeFrancisco said. “And I think some didn’t. Really, that was sort of the difference…there were a couple that I was counting on that certainly didn’t go that way.” Sources tell the Daily News the closed-door leadership conference vote was 18 for Flanagan, 15 for DeFrancisco. * Flanagan was 25 and a second-year law student when his father — Assemblyman John Flanagan Sr., a well-respected Republican from Long Island — died of a heart attack while jogging near the family’s home in Suffolk County. It was just a few weeks before the 1986 election, and the younger Flanagan entered the race and easily won his father’s seat. Citing the time constraints of his new job, Flanagan said he has resigned from the Long Island law firm where he was of counsel. Flanagan said Libous, who is fighting a federal corruption charge of his own and recovering in Florida from surgery related to his terminal cancer, will remain his No. 2. “Tom Libous may be in Florida, but he is no shrinking violet,” the new majority leader said. “He’s on the phone all the time.”

    Skelos Friday Update and Spins
    Everyone who led the Assembly and Senate from late 1995 until this January Have Been Indicted Except Skelos
    The Albany cesspool (NYP Ed)  News leaked Wednesday that Dean Skelos, the state Senate majority leader, is an evident target of another probe by US Attorney Preet Bharara. Skelos hasn’t gotten a subpoena yet, but eight of the nine other state senators from Long Island have — as has Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Bharara’s not saying much. (After all, a judge recently slapped him for blabbing to the media about the case against ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver.) But he’s gotten as far as compelling testimony before a grand jury — and in his past political investigations, that’s led inexorably to indictments. And no student of New York politics doubts that there’s indictments to be had in Nassau. After all, it’s a county where Mangano may soon legally raise some cash byselling off the sewers *  Feds subpoena top LI politicians in Skelos probe (NYP) County Executive Ed Mangano, a fellow Republican, appeared before the secret panel last week and was asked about various contracts signed by the county, said a government source briefed on the case. Eight of Long Island’s nine state senators — all Republicans — also were issued subpoenas directing them to cough up documents, NY1 reported. Skelos, the ninth senator, has yet to be subpoenaed, sources said. Records show that Dean Skelos’ former legislative counsel, Michael Avella, also has lobbied in Albany on behalf of AEWS Engineering, a subsidiary of AbTech’s parent company. Following disclosure of the federal probe, acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said she would also launch her own investigation into how the county awards contracts.  Sources have told The Post that the feds also are looking into the $20,000 that Adam Skelos, 32, was paid by a title-insurance company for which he never did any work.* Skelos probe threatens GOP control of state senate (NYP)* Editorial: Dean $kelos keeps the cash flowing (NYDNEd) * Skelos may have an easier time holding on to his leadership position than ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver because his caucus is smaller and more cohesive, New York Magazine reports:

    DA Covers Ass and Feds Target Skelos' Law Firm Lobbyist 
    Amid Dean Skelos Inquiry, Contracting by Nassau County Faces Review (NYT) The county’s acting district attorney announced her own review, in response to revelations of a federal investigation into the leader of the New York Senate. Here Comes the Lobbyists Prosecutors investigating state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam, have also been asking questions about the lobbying arm of the elder Skelos' law firm, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, the DailyNews writes * Campaign finance and payroll documents and public information from employers show Adam Skelos appears to have benefited from his father’s position with a series of jobs at GOP-wired entities, the Daily News reports: * The fact that state Senate Republicans have not rushed to publicly defend Skelos and immediate calls for his resignation are already coming from Democrats could spell out bad news for Skelos’ fate, The Buffalo News writes: *  As long as Albany wields vast power, interests large and small will look to rent it and corruption won’t end until the voters insist on changing the kind of people they elect, the Post writes: * Nassau County legislators who approved the contract in question with an Arizona company that employed Adam Skelos, AbTech Industries, said that they did not know the senator’s son worked there.* Skelos May Be Latest Target of U.S. AttorneyBharara (NY1) With news that U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office is circling around Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos with roughly two months of session left, it begs the question: What, if anything, will get done?
    After Skelos?  “If Skelos were to step aside, either temporarily to fight any changes or permanently if the charges turn out to be severe, the top contenders to replace him could be Syracuse’s John DeFrancisco and Suffolk County’s John Flanagan.”(NY Mag)

    As Feds Target Lobbyists Shadow Government DAs Who Used Them In Their Campaigns Caught In A Dilemma of Their Own Making
    Adam Skelos, the 32-year-old son of Sen. Skelos, appears to have benefited from his dad’s position with a series of jobs at GOP-wired entities, according to campaign finance and payroll documents and public information provided by firms that employed him.  Should Skelos be indicted and forced to step down, as happened to Silver, no seamless replacement strategy is in place. That is because his second-in-command, Sen. Tom Libous, of Binghamton, faces a federal trial this summer on charges of lying to FBI agents who were investigating the financial activities of him and his son. Barbara Bartoletti, of the NY League of Women Voters, sees no reason for Skelos to give up his leadership post right now. “There is a presumption of innocence, and we should at least wait until federal authorities have finished with their investigation,” she said. “We should all just be aware that the culture of corruption in Albany has very long tentacles.”* A source who recently met with investigators for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara indicatedthat about half the questions focused on the lobbying arm of the law firm where Skelos is of counsel, Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, and if there was any direct or indirect interaction with the senator. * Skelos confirmed the existence of the federal inquiry and said he is cooperating – a switch from months ago, when he attacked a report about the existence of the probe as “a thinly sourced” story that did “not meet the standards of journalism.”* In Albany, little consensus on the Skelos effect (Capital) Players unsure of impact on housing and education issues* New York Sen. Dean Skelos to Cooperate With Federal Inquiry (WSJ)* “This is what Cuomo loosed on theworld,” a state Senate operative grumbles. (NY Mag)

    Libous Son Six Months In Prison Cries 
    Tom Libous’ son cries at sentencing for tax fraud (NYP) * Matthew Libous, son of powerful state Sen. Thomas Libous, was sentenced to six months in prison on federal tax-fraud charges after being found guilty in January, Gannett Albanyreports:  * Matthew Libous, son of Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous, has been sentencedto six months in prison, 100 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine in relation to his tax fraud conviction. He faced up to nine years behind bars.* Matthew Libous, the son of embattled state Senate GOP Deputy Leader Thomas Libous,is rejecting claims that he “tampered” with a urine sample for a court ordered drug test. * “I’m sorry I wasn’t more careful. I’m sorry I didn’t claim those fees. I should have done better,” said Matthew Libous, who then began weeping. Bruno State $$$  The state paid $1.8 million in legal fees relating to the defense of former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno in April, the state comptroller’s office found, and there may be more to come, State of Politics reports: *
    State Pays Out $1.8 Million for Bruno Legal Expenses (YNN)* A judge has recommended that Matt Libous, son of Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous, spend his prison term at FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey – the same min-security facility housing ex-Sen. Carl Kruger.

    Democrats fail to remove Skelos as majority leader (NYP) Embattled state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos survived a Democratic push for his ouster Wednesday * Senate Republicans staying unclean for Dean Skelos (NYP Ed) * Skelos, Under Fire, Outlines Legislative Priorities (YNN) * More Upstate Republicans Abandon Skelos (YNN) * Half of Skelos’s GOP colleagues don’t sign letter of support (YNN) * Skelos should step aside until case is resolved: Giuliani (NYP) * Senate Republican To Back Motion To Oust Skelos (YNN) * "I don't pick who the conference leader is from theRepublicans, from the Senate" (Capital) * GOP-Cons Sen Kathy Marchione on Skelos: 'It had become clear that he cannot effectively lead our Conference' * Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani says Skelos should step aside “for a period of time,” adding: “If I were his defense attorney, I’d want him to focus on the trial and not anything else.”* Upstate Republicans continued to abandon support for Sen. Dean Skelos staying on as majority leader, with Monroe County Chairman Bill Reilich announcing he could no longer support the senator, State of Politics writes: * Western New York Republican Sen. Robert Ortt said he will back a motion that would oust Dean Skelos as majority leader and submit a resolution of his own if necessary, State of Politics reports: Capital New Yorkcreated a “Skelos Tracker” to follow Republican senators and their current status as it relates to their position on whether the majority leader should keep his position:

    Daily News Says Go Dean Editorial: Dean Skelos has got to go   *  Dean Skelos Must Go (NYT Ed) We are sick of the sleaziness that serves as everyday business in the state capital. * State Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein called the charges against Skelos “disturbing,” but did not join fellow Democrats in calling for him to resign his leadership position, State ofPoliticsreports:  * Despite his title as majority leader, Skelos’ true power comes from his position as the state Senate’s temporary president, which any potential ouster would need 32 votes to attain, the Times Union reports:

    The Skelos criminal complaint has references to burner phones, secretly taped conversations and strong-arm tactics. (NYT) * The Buffalo News details all the ways state Senate Republicans have dodged reporters’ questions for the last three days about state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ arrest on corruption charges and outright refusal to answer questions:* Acrimony in Albany as Senate Republicans Stop Effort to Oust Skelos (NYT) Democrats hoped that by seeking a vote to remove Dean G. Skelos as Senate leader, they would force their Republican colleagues to take a public position on his arrest.

    2 Men in the Same Cell
    Skelos and Silver could end up in same federal jail (NYP) * The arrest of Skelos is just the latest in a string of recent corruption charges in New York and New Jersey that demonstrate the shamelessness that many politicians have, the Times writes: The Times writes that Skelos, who will retain hisleadership position for the time being, should be forced out as Senate majority leader. 

    Et tu, Newsday? "After One Day Delay Skelos's Paper Joins the  Dean Skelos should quit as NY Senate leader
     Et tu, Newsday? "Dean Skelos should quit as NY Senateleader"   (Newsday) Astorino blasts "Albany politicians,'' i.e. Senate Republicans, for trying "to protect and rescue indicted colleagues'' rather than help NY. Dean Skelos home newspaper, Newsday, joins the growing number of editorials calling for him to step down as Majority Leader, writing that his “reign is over” but “he can’t seem to grasp this” even when those around already have: * NY Conservative Chairman Mike Long on calling on @senatorskelos to resign as leader. The Daily News writes there’s “not a chance” Skelos will prove himself fully innocent and that he must resign as majority leader even though few members of his conference have called for him to step down:  The Post writes it is “beyond us” why state Senate Republicans saw any need to debate whether Skelos should remain their leader and concludes that shrugging at corruption is a bipartisan practice in Albany* State Sen. Rob Ortt became the second Republican in his chamber to call on Skelos to step aside as majority leader, saying he does not believe Skelos can lead effectively at this juncture, State of Politics writes: * Support for Skelosmight not hold out amidst charges (NYDN) Also in Newsday, Republican consultant Bill O’Reilly writes the state Republican Party is losing its important self-identity as the “good guys” and perceived moral authority due to state Senate Republicans’ continuing loyalty to Skelos: * Only now that he may be going to the clinker do bigwigs saythey don't care for NY State Senate GOP Leader Skelos.

    Dean Skelos would consider stepping aside as ny senateleader if john flanagan replaces him: sources (NYDN)* Skelos facing new challenges to his Senate leadership.Flanagan will NOT replace him due to support for #CommonCore!  *  Murphy joins GOP senators calling for Skelos to resign:  *"One might think that Bruno's troubles would've been awarning. .. Skelos, instead, took it as an invitation."   Dean Skelos "secretly worked for months to help Democratic Gov. Cuomo win re-election." (NYDN) * Albany:"Thestench has become nearly unbearable."(Water Town) * Skelos' support dips as lawmakers return to work Monday  *  Senate Republicans, at the moment, in need of unity for newleader, GOP consultant says (YNN) * Casey Seiler: State Sen. Dean Skelos remains in state ofdenial - Times Union * Sources say Flanagan has the votes. Sources say Flanagan just as corrupt as Skelos. Sources say he should get along well w Heastie, Cuomo. A small handful of GOP can jump over to the DEM side and get a lot of power. Flanagan is the worst. *  Veteran Long Islandstate senator John Flanagan voted on bills that benefitted clients at law firm (NYDN) * Senior Senate Republican:“Flanagan could bring down the entire (GOP) Conference as the leader hand-picked by an accused federal felon.’’* Crooked Cuomo Pushes Crooked John Flanagan To ReplaceCrooked Dean Skelos * Skelos' threat to resign mirrors Shelly's mistake to create committee of 5 to run Assembly. Arrogance/desperation undid/undoing both men * More sources tonight calling the state Senate's leadership a "jump ball" between DeFrancisco and Flanagan. * Skelos expected to be out as majority leader Monday  (Buffalo) * Skelos' potential successors begin to line up, sources say -...(NEWSDAY) * So much for Gov. Cuomo's claim that NY is not late nightlaughingstock (NYDN) * The Dean Skelos timeline updated with the latestdevelopments (TU)

    Senator Ken LaValle Connected to Glenwood Can't Move Against Skelos

    NYC developer at theheart of Albanyscandals is big donor to L.I. pols, including Sen. Ken LaValle (River Head) State Senator Ken LaValle is among the top recipients of campaign cash spread around the New York by the real estate developer at the heart of the corruption scandal that has rocked Albany, resulting in the arrests of both the assembly speaker and senate majority leader this year. Since 2012, the veteran First District senator took in $62,500 in campaign contributions from entities affiliated with Glenwood Management Corp. Glenwood and its founder, Leonard Litwin, figure prominently in the criminal accusations leveled against Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

    Skelos' Down to the Nuclear Option
     Despite his recent corruption charges, Skelos held a campaign fundraiser on Thursday night and asked contributors for up to $10,000 and vowed to lead Republicans to victory in 2016, the Post writes:  *The Campaign To Replace Skelos (YNN) *Many in Skelos’ hometown of Rockville Centre are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, calling him a “pillar of the community” and “good guy.” Skelos last night hit up campaign contributors for up to $10,000 and vowed to lead Republicans to victory in 2016. The fund-raising event was planned well before the senator was charged by US Attorney Preet Bharara, and according to attendees, he made no mention of his legal troubles. * Embattled Dean Skelos hosts ‘subdued’ GOP fundraiser (NYP) * Senate Democrats To Raise Leadership Issue Again (YNN)  *  Corruption in NYS with Pay to Play - Real-estate developerplayed role in Skelos, Silver case 

     Sources: Skelos Threatening to Resign Seat if Colleagues Insist He Gives Up His Leadership Post (NY1) * GOP donors threaten to pull support if Skelos stays: sources (NYDN) From 2005 through 2014, Glenwood -- through various limited liability companies it operates -- sent $12.8 million to candidates and political committees in the state, according to an analysis by Common Cause/NY,  a good-government group. The Senate Republicans' central political committees, when combined, were the top recipients of Glenwood's campaign cash, with donations totaling $1.5 million over that period. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign account came in second with $1.2 million, the analysis found. The company has made prolific use of what's known as the "LLC loophole," which allows companies to avoid corporate restrictions on political donations in New York by contributing through multiple limited liability companies, which can donate more than corporations.  *Real-estate developer played role in Skelos, Silver case (poughkeepsiejournal)

    A Final Hail Mary? (YNN) A GOP source tells NY1’s Zack Fink that Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is refusing to step down from his post. If forced too, Skelos would resign entirely from the narrowly divided chamber, leaving just 31 Republicans, plus Democrat Simcha Felder who sits with the GOP. Meanwhile, the health of Sen. Tom Libous remains very much in question. * 'HE IS AT THE ANGRY STAGE': Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos threatens to deprive GOP of votes should efforts for ousting him continue, sources say(NYDN) * Freshman state Sen. Robert Ortt made a rookie mistake by so aggressively calling for the ouster of his leader Dean Skelos, leading to a leaked story that Ortt allegedly made anti-Semitic comments the week before, Geoff Kelly writes for City & State: * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is threatening to resign his seat if fellow Republicans try to force him out, which would erase the GOP’s numerical majority and could force them to deal with Democrats, NY1’s  * John DeFrancisco gains support before historic showdown overSenate leadership

    Skelos' Final Hours As Senate Leader
    Manhattan Republican Party Wants Dean Skelos toGet Lost (NYO) * Oh, Albany:Libous offers the "Hey, he stuck by me when *I* was indicted" defensefor Skelos.  * * State Sen. Cathy Young said she expects leadership strategies to emerge in the next few days as talks continue over replacing state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who faces federal corruption charges,Gannett Albany reports:  * A GOP insider said state Sen. Robert Ortt referred to Assemblyman Sheldon Silver as part of “the Jewish mafia” while making the case for Skelos to step down during a private meeting this week, JP Updates reports: * Republicans are urging Sen. Andrew Lanza to run for the DA post Dan Donovan will vacate now that he has won this week’s NY-11 special election. * Critics: What's wrong with Albany? The "three men in a room" (LoHud) * GOP rivals maneuver to replace Dean Skelos as majority leader (NYP) 

    One constant in the stutter-step life of Adam Skelos: hispowerful father (NYT) Since his arrest, the portrait of Mr. Skelos, 32, that has emerged is one of a young man whose life seemed to lose traction during late adolescence and who struggled professionally.

    Litwin Glenwood Got Both of Skelos' Replacements and Recent Cuomo
    "lobbying that Litwin’s Glenwood..was lobbying(Cuomo's) recently as February.(NYP)"  The most recent lobbying records filed with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics show that Litwin’s Glenwood, a major beneficiary of real-estate tax incentives, which has directly or indirectly contributed more than $1 million to Cuomo’s campaigns, was lobbying the governor’s office at least as recently as February. The records reveal that Glenwood hired Mark L. Lieberman for $15,000 in January and February to lobby the “NYS Assembly, NYS Governor’s office and its agencies & authorities, NYS Senate.’’ Cuomo backtracked on another aspect of his relationship with Glenwood late last week, conceding that he had “forgotten’’ about three meetings he had with Litwin and the company’s top officials in 2011. * Leading NY Senate majority leader candidates take Glenwoodmoney  (NYDN) As they jockey to become Senate majority leader, Sens. John Flanagan and John DeFranciso have at least one thing in common: they both accepted hefty donations from a real estate development company with ties to the criminal cases against Skelos and now former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Companies tied to developer Leonard Litwin’s Glenwood Management in recent years contributed $41,500 to Flanagan and $35,500 to DeFrancisco. “Flanagan and DeFrancisco are in the back pocket of the same billionaire developer as Skelos and Silver,” said one labor source.  Glenwood Management and its affiliates since 2005 contributed more than $12.8 million to Albany politicians. The Senate Republican campaign committees received $1.45 million, not including donations to individual lawmakers.

    Senate to Vote Monday On Motion to Oust Skelos
    The Campaign to Replace Skelos
     Friday Update Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that federal charges against Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos threaten to distract lawmakers from key decisions on rent regulations and mayoral control of schools in New York City. “This is not a session to get fancy,” the governor said. “I’m focused on getting the basics done. * WESTERN FRONT: Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos still has a majority of the conference backing him, but in Western New York his support is waning with multiple lawmakers suggesting he will be forced out on Monday, City & State reports: * With his grip on power in Albany slipping, state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was recently arrested in a federal corruption case, is taking a leave of absence from the Long Island law firm where he has worked for two decades, The New York Times reports:  
    Skelos and Son Book Em Preet
    Breaking: Dean Skelos, N.Y. Senate leader, and his son areexpected to be arrested next week (NYT) The expected arrests, coming roughly three months after federal bribery and kickback charges led Assemblyman Sheldon Silver to step down as speaker, would signal an extension of the investigation into allegations of political corruption in Albany, and would almost certainly further upend the legislative session. It is not known if Mr. Skelos, a Republican from Long Island who was first elected to the Senate in 1984, will resign his leadership post as did Mr. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, but he is sure to face questions about his ability to lead the chamber in light of the investigation. * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to fight to keep post amid possible corruption charges: sources (NYDN) * The law that would strip public officials convicted of corruption of their pension, part of the ethics reforms agreed to in the state budget, has stalled with some unions opposing the measure, the Times writes: 

    Buzzards Flying Over Skelos
    It’s war as DeFrancisco lobbies for Skelos’ spot (NYP) The Post’s Fred Dicker writes that Senator John DeFransisco’s desire to replace Skelos sets up for a “full-blown battle” to replace the Senate majority leader * The impending arrest of Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on corruption charges has set the Senate leadership into potential flux with several candidates to replace him being considered, The Wall Street Journal reports: * A full-blown battle to succeed soon-to-be-arrested Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos got under way this weekend, Fred Dicker reports, as Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco, who had planned to retire next year, signaled he wanted the job. * As of yesterday, it was unclear if Skelos would attempt to retain his leadership post if charged, but some of his colleagues said they would support him if he wanted to remain at the chamber’s helm.

     Skelos' Replacement? Skelos replacement names surface as he faces possible charge (NYDN) “A lot will depend on the charge,” said Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn). “If they are substantial charges, the conference will look at it and have a discussion. If it’s not charges of consequence, I think the conference would not want to have him step down.” There is no clear heir apparent should Skelos step aside. Normally, it would be Deputy Leader Thomas Libous of upstate Binghamton. But he is under indictment on charges he lied to an FBI agent and is also battling what he says is terminal cancer. The three names most mentioned to replace Skelos are Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan of Suffolk County; Sen. Catharine Young, the Cattaraugus County lawmaker who heads up the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco of Syracuse. * Did NY Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (D) give up NY SenatorDean Skelos (R)? ...Mayyyyybe (Red State) * "WHAT'S NEXT, HELICOPTERS?" Assembly Republicans get $24K Chevys to replace older vehicles, taxpayers foot bill (NYDN)

    Skelos and Son Arrested . . . Then Keeps His Leadership Position

    After Skelos’s Arrest, Republicans in New York Are Left Scrambling (NYT) Republicans were torn on whether Dean G. Skelos, the Senate majority leader, should remain in his leadership role after his arrest on Monday.  * Dean Skelos, Albany Senate Leader, Aided Son at All Costs, U.S. Says (NYT) Efforts by Senator Dean G. Skelos to use what prosecutors said was his political influence to help his son could send both men to prison — and cost the Long Island Republican his leadership position and seat. New York Senate Leader and Son Are Arrested on Corruption Charges (NYT) Mr. Skelos, 67, and his son, Adam B. Skelos, 32, are scheduled to appear in United States District Court in Manhattan to face complaints of conspiracy, extortion and bribe solicitation. * Brian Moore, New York Police Officer Shot in the Head, Dies (NYT) Officer Moore, 25, was critically wounded over the weekend in Queens after driving up in an unmarked car to question a man on the street.* Feds follow money from Adam Skelos’ pocket to big-bucks firms (NYP) * The Skelos scandal — state Senate for sale (NYP) *   Adam Skelos was ‘dependent’ on his dad for financial support: feds(NYP) * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos’ desire to help his son, Adam, find financial stability ultimately led to arrest of the two on federal corruption charges, the Timeswrites:   * Dean Skelos, as thick as a brick: He knew Preet Bhararawas on the hunt and still engaged in brazen behavior (NYDN)

    Senate GOP Keeps Skelos in Control
    Republicans to keep embattled Skelos as majority leader (NYP) “This conference strongly believes in [the presumption of innocence], and the leader has indicated that he would like to remain as leader,” LaValle, of Suffolk County, said. * Republicans stick by Skelos (after deliberation) (Capital) * STICKING WITH SKELOS: After a late night conferencing, state Senate Republicans announced that Dean Skelos would remain majority leader as he fights the corruption charges against him, City & State reports: * Veteran Long Island State Senator John Flanagan Voted on Bills That Benefitted Clients at Law Firm (NYDN) * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos calls the criminal complaint against him "a glorified press release" * Backing Skelos, Senate Republicans Explain ‘Consensus’ (YNN) *The likelihood that Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos stays on as the head of the conference in the coming weeks amid corruption charges is less than 50 percent,according to former Gov. David Paterson. * Freshman WNY GOP Sen. Robert Ortt says the state needs a Senate leader – not Skelos – “whose sole focus is on the needs of New Yorkers.” (That makes four Republican senators calling on Skelos to step aside). * Rep. Chris Gibson: “Look, in America, you’re innocent until proven guilty, but (what) really should be the focus of Dean Skelos’ activity right now is on preparing for a vigorous defense.” *Skelos insists his support among constituents in his Nassau County district is strong. “They know I’m honest,” he said. *Someone taped part of the federal complaint against Skelos to a utility pole in downtown Syracuse – about one block from Sen. John DeFrancisco’s private law office and down the street from the state office building. * The Auburn Citizen: “We encourage constituents in this area to call (Jim) Seward, (Michael) Nozzolio and DeFrancisco and tell them to demand that Skelos step down as Senate leader.”

    Skelos Battles On With He Merry Men Thiefs  
    Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, Stands Firm Despite Calls to Resign (NYT) Mr. Skelos, telling reporters “I’m innocent,” appeared at just one event in Albany a day after he was arrested on federal corruption charges along with his son, Adam B. Skelos. * Skelos planning ‘aggressive’ fight against corruption charges (NYP) 'I'M INNOCENT': Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos remains defiant against corruption charges amid calls to step down (NYDN) * The corruption caucus is the state Senate GOP standingwith Dean Skelos  (NYDN Ed) You are a sanitation worker who accepts a Christmas tip. You are fired. You are an executive who asks a supplier to give your wife a job while you negotiate a deal. You are fired. You are a broker who pushes a stock on a client while you are on the seller’s payroll. You are fired.  You are majority leader of the New York State Senate. You extort money out of business interests who depend on your favor. Your colleagues very nearly carry you around on their shoulders in endorsement of your character and conduct. * As corruption cloudshang over Albany,what next? - City & Region - The Buffalo News

    The Leader of the NYS Senate GOP
     Skelos, like Silver,should step down from leader post  * Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' members gave him a vote of confidence on hours after he and his son were hit with federal corruption charges, but few expect that support to hold much longer despite his defiance, the Daily News reports:  * While Albany has seen a consistent stream of corruption cases over the years the arrest of leadership is unprecedented and has shaken the theory in the capital that party leadership is untouchable, The Buffalo News writes: * The Daily News’ Bill Hammond writes that the federalcomplaint against Skelos makes him look “flat out dumb,” as the Senate majority leader continued to make deals despite acknowledging he was likely under extra scrutiny:  * The Buffalo News writes that Senate Republicans need to follow the lead of Assembly Democrats and unite to dethrone their embattled leader to create order as important decisions are being made:  * Senate Dems To Push Leadership Vote (YNN) * The Senate GOP’s Upstate-Downstate Split? (YNN) Tom Precious: “Times here have gotten to the point where reporters could, if they wanted, recycle stories about corruption just by changing the names, dollar amounts and perhaps a few juicy details.”*  Upstate G.O.P. leaders ask Skelos to step down (Capital) * DCCC hits Zeldin for Skelos' support (Capital) * "Only 4 senators, @JohnBonacic@GeorgeAmedore@SenatorFunke, and @SenatorOrtt, broke with theCorruption Caucus"  (NYDN) * An effort to oust Skelos is rebuffed, but that's not thelast we'll hear of this  * County GOP leaders Tom Dadey, Sandy King and John Herrick called on state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to resign from his leadership post as he fights federal corruption charges, the Times Union reports:

    * State Senate Democrats walked out of the chamber after Republicans refused to hear their attempt to oust Majority Leader Dean Skelos and a debate broke out on the Senate floor, Gannett Albany reports:  * Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said that had the Democrats succeeded, the IDC would no longer be recognized as a conference and asked why his members would support such a measure, the Times Union reports:   * Gianaris was trying to put out a resolution to have Skelos step down and said he was indicted. Martens said no one's been indicted. Gianaris said he was sorry Skelos has only been arrested but Libous and Sampson have been indicted. * "Skelos would have lost .. because 5 members of the GOPdelegation have gone on record saying he should step down."  (Newsday) * 16 Senators Profess Loyalty to Skelos (YNN) * Panepinto Not Happy About GOP ‘Name Drop’ In Defense Of Skelos (NYP) *Langworthy Calls On Skelos To Step Down; Calls Relationship ‘Strained’ (NYP)

    The Campaign to Dump Skelos
    Democrats ready to oust Dean Skelos if he’s indicted (NYP) State Senate Democrats will unleash a “fierce campaign’’ to oust Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos if, as many Democrats and even some Republicans expect, the GOP lawmaker is indicted by US Attorney Preet Bharara on corruption charges, The Post has learned.State Senate Democrats plan to start a campaign to oust Majority Leader Dean Skelos if he is indicted, which may involve using photos of Republicans with Skelos to damage his colleagues, the Post’s Fred Dicker reports.  Voters Albany Ethics BS  Nearly two-thirds polled said they do not believe the ethics package enacted with the state budget will have a real impact, but 54 percent said the governor was right to focus on passing an on-time budget, a Siena College Poll found: 

    Skelos Facing Jail Makes Sure Dirty Loop-Hole Campaign Money Lives in Albany
    Bending over backward for cash: With a dishonestmaneuver, Dean Skelos and the Senate GOP protect New York's most notorious campaign finance loophole (NYDN) Through it, an astonishing $25 million has flowed over the past decade into the coffers of Skelos’ Senate GOP, Gov. Cuomo and many other state politicians. The biggest exploiters of the loophole are LLCs linked to real estate developer Leonard Litwin and his Glenwood Management firm, which used it to pump $13.2 million into state politics since 2000. Litwin and his firm figure in two major scandals this year alone — the indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and the ongoing federal investigation of Skelos. Republicans clearly wanted to block reform — because they’re counting on LLC donations to help their majority survive the next election cycle in an increasingly blue state, the shadow over their leader notwitstanding. But they dared not defend that position to a voting public that’s sick to death of Albany corruption scandals. * “The capitol,” a Republican senator tells Chris Smith, “is the dome of gloom.”  Always Support the Family Dean, Silver: I am Stepping Down As Speaker to Preserve Our Institution

    Skelos Is An Unwilling Contestant In the Preet Bharara Gong Show
    Skelos Says He Won’t Resign As GOP Leader (YNN) In Albany, little consensus on the Skelos effect (Capital)* A former Nassau County official responsible for signing off on the deal at the center of a reported federal investigation into Skelos is a top aide to him The reports didn't detail Skelos' alleged role in procuring the contract. But one of the officials who was statutorily responsible for approving the contract, former NassauCounty attorney John Ciampoli, works closely with Skelos in his current capacity as Senate legislative counsel. Senate G.O.P. aide tied to scrutinized Skelos deal (Capital) * Ciampoli had previously worked for years a top election lawyer for the Senate's Republican majority before he was hired to the county attorney post in 2010 by Nassau County executive Ed Mangano.* Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos kept a low profile during his first trip to Albany since it became public that he and his son are under federal investigation. He met with his conference behind closed doors, reiterating his statement from last week that he is cooperating with any investigations before focusing on issues facing the Senate. In a show of political discipline, Senate Republicans united behind Skelos, with one lawmaker saying they spent only a “nanosecond” in a closed-door conference discussing the majority leader’s legal situation. Addressing a group of reporters stationed outside Skelos’ office on lawmakers’ first day back after a three-week spring break, Long Island Sen. Ken LaValle said, in response to a question about the investigation: “Don’t you think we’re being a little presumptuous?”

    Skellos' Red Herring Cook Book to Block Ethics Reform?
     Sandra Lee has built an empire on lifestyle and cooking advice, but it’s her status as Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend that has placed her in the middle of a political fight over stronger state ethics laws. “It’s not about his friend – she’s a wonderful person – this is about equality in terms of disclosure between the executive branch and the legislative branch,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. “This is not anything that is personal.”*The DN accuses Skelos of “sliming” Lee, while the NY Post says she should not be the face of this very viable debate over the outside income of spouses and significant others – an issue not covered by the two-way ethics reform deal cut by Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats. *Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and three Democratic assemblywomen – Addie Russell (North Country), Michelle Schimel (Long Island) and Latrice Walker (NYC) – are featured in a Working Families Party video speaking out against Cuomo’s education proposals.
    Sandra Lee is a classy lady, and delighted she makes our Gov happy. But is that the standard to be above the law and exempt?

    NYT Schneiderman’s proposal for cleaning up Albany is a reminder to Cuomo that some are pushing for real change and tinkering around the edges will not be enough
    The Schneiderman Remedy for Sleaze (NYT Ed) The attorney general’s ethics proposals represent a challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s repeated promises, and offer a chance for a real cleanup of Albany. * The proposed state budget includes $2.6 billion in lump sums, which a report from the good government group Citizens Union says makes it nearly impossible to know where that money is going, the Times Union report:  * State Sen. Kemp Hannon secured $65,000 in grant money for a Long Island hospital that has been represented by his private law firm since 1993 and had cases when the grants were secured, the Daily News reports: 

    Tenant Group: IDC's Klein is the Bag Man for 421-a Tax Deal
    Activists Blast Jeffrey Klein for His Ties tothe Real Estate Industry(NYO) Alliance for Tenant Power, a liberal pro-tenants organization, is planning a series of tweets and Facebook memes blasting State Senator Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx Democrat and leader of the Independence Democratic Conference. The group is targeting Mr. Klein, a co-leader in the Senate and an ally of the Republican majority, for not supporting their priorities, including a repeal of the controversial tax break, 421-a, an end to vacancy decontrol, and an overall strengthening of rent laws. “Senator Jeff Klein has nearly 45,000 rent-stabilized apartments in his district, but too often he operates as a paid spokesman for REBNY and the real-estate industry,” said Delsenia Glover, a spokeswoman for Alliance for Tenant Power. Like other leading elected officials in the city and state, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mr. Klein has filled his campaign coffers with donations from the real estate industry. Critics of Mr. Klein, who identifies as a progressive, say he is too closely aligned with the Real Estate Board of New York, citing his robust defense of 421-a, a tax break granted to developers for building multifamily housing. he tax break cost the city about $1 billion in foregone tax revenue in 2013, according to the New York City Independent Budget Office. “Mr. @JeffKleinNY has received more than $1M from the #RealEstate industry. No wonder he’s on the Real Estate side NOT the tenant’s side,” Alliance for Tenant Power plans to tweet. “Senator @JeffKleinNY will always be on your side…if you’re a #RealEstate developer.”

    Albany Ethics Form Update  
    Skelos said the ethics reforms put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie are soft on the executive branch, and good government groups called them insufficient
    Cuomo butts heads with Democrats over education plans (NYP) Cuomo is steamed that fellow Democrats are taking their cues from teachers unions and resisting his proposals for education reforms. Cuomo received the lowest approval rating of his career this week in a Quinnipiac University survey that showed two-thirds of voters rejected most of his schools agenda, which included tougher teacher evaluations and giving the state the power to close failing schools.
    Cuomo unveils new ethics laws — watchdogs say it’s not enough (NYP) Watchdogs immediately warned the changes didn’t go far enough and were merely “partial solutions” to combat pervasive corruption. One provision in the ethics regulations would treat lawmakers like factory workers — they’d have to prove they were in Albany to get their per diem expenses by swiping in with an electronic card. Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough was indicted last year for allegedly collecting $40,000 in bogus travel reimbursements. Senate GOP Majority Leader Dean Skelos blasted the ethics agreement as going soft on the Cuomo administration. “We feel very strongly that outside income for state legislators should be banned,” said John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany. * Editorial: Skelos can't hide from Cuomo's ethics cleanup (NYDN)

    As new Q poll finds voters want full disclosure,"Sandra Lee partnership exempt from Cuomo disclosure rules" (Capital) * Q Poll: NYers Back Disclosure From Elected Officials & Their Significant Others (YNN) * In striking a two-way ethics reform deal with Assembly Democrats, Gov. Andrew Cuomobroke his mold of forging bipartisan deals. Asked why he had strayed from the pattern and left out the Senate Republicans, Cuomo replied: “Variety.” * After meeting with his conference on Wednesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos dismissed the ethics deal, saying any talks of ethics reforms should also include financial disclosures of the executive branch, and should also include domestic partners. * The Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would make the finances of the executive branch more transparent. Skelos’ hometown paper, Newsday, blamed the Senate GOP for blocking reform in Albany. * Earlier this week, alcoholic beverage manufacturer Diageo announced an expanded partnership with Cuomo’s longtime live-in girlfriend, Food Network star Sandra Lee. This agreement with a company that has substantial business before the state came a day before Cuomo and the Assembly struck their two-way reform deal, which doesn’t require outside income disclosure for spouses of significant others. * Public officials in New York would be prohibited from spending political campaign funds on personal expenses like clothing and country club dues under the two-way ethics reform deal, but paying for criminal defense attorneys and meals with political cash would still be allowed. *  The agreement would also require lawmakers to disclose details of their outside income, including the names of legal clients who they’ve referred to law firms for a fee. “It is unprecedented disclosure,” Cuomo said. * Government watchdogs immediately warned the changes didn’t go far enough and were merely “partial solutions” to combat pervasive corruption. Advocates are pushing hard for a full ban on outside income for state legislators.* NY Senate leader: Ethics reform must include Cuomo - TimesUnion (TU) * Schneiderman calls for the end of outside income for Albany lawmakers to fightcorruption.(NYO) * Reisman: Cuomo's tough-guy brand only goes so far * The IDC Seeks ‘Healthy Debate’ On Ethics Legislation (YNN)* Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos lashed out at Cuomo, saying after a joint budget committee hearing that disclosure rules should apply to the governor’s staff and girlfriend, State of Politics writes: * The New York State Bar Association is backing Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats’ joint plan to require lawmakers moonlighting as attorneys to reveal clients who paid them more than $5,000, Gannett Albanywrites:  * A majority of New York voters back making the state Legislature a full-time job with a higher salary, according to a Quinnipiac pollGannett Albany reports:  * Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is doing a little light reading. * Residents of the northeast Bronx are hoping their neighborhood benefits from Heastie’s rise.* A Citizen Union report found Cuomo’s budget contains $2.6 billion in opaque “lump sum funds” which allow spending decisions to be made in the shadows by elected officials after passage.    City Leaders Lobby for Various State Budget Causes in Albany(NY1)

    Klein Still On His Law Firms Tit 

    Jeff Klein will still get payments even after breaking ties with firm (NYP) State Sen. Jeff Klein may be giving up his outside legal work, but that doesn’t mean the profits will stop pouring in. Klein announced last week he would break ties with his law firm, Klein, Calderoni & Santucci, as he called for a ban on all outside income for state lawmakers. “I already told my partners I won’t handle any more cases, see any more clients, not get any income at all from the firm,” the Bronx Democrat said. But that’s not quite right. Klein, 54, said he stopped working on cases as of Feb. 9.

    Cuomo Loves the Mayor and WFP Like Michael Loves Fredo . . . Fuck You Lesson 
    Bacio de Morte Canter, de Blasio 

    Yes Cuomo Wanted To Keep the Senate Away From the Democrats, But His Anger Exploded When He Found Out WFP and de Blasio Conspired to Teachout Him A Lession
    De Blasio Denies Dem Defeats in New York About Him(NYO) de Blasio argued to reporters today that he is not at fault for the failure of Democrats to capture the State Senate, nor for GOP Congressman Michael Grimm’s stunning defeat of former Councilman Domenic Recchia yesterday–even though Republicans in all races relied heavily on linking the Democratic candidates to Mr. de Blasio and his policies.* The Working Families Party withstood what many have characterized as an attempt from its own candidate, Cuomo, to destroy it, but in the process got elbowed out of its ballot row by the Green Party, theObserver reports: 

    The Aftermath of the Teachout Run: All Out "War" Between Cuomo and de Blasio
    Did Republican Astorino Big Win Up-State or Big Money From Deep Pocket Contributors of the Mayor and Governor Make the Senate GOP?

    Dems lost seats where Cuomo underperformed (Capital) * With Republicans claiming outright control of the state Senate, a major defeat was handed down to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Daily Newsreports:  .@NYSenate Dems handed bruising loss, kept out of power (Capital)* Sen. Simcha Felder might not be the only breakaway Democratto continue working w/ the state senate GOP. * Students First NY, a group supportive of charter schools and education reform that spent $4.2 million on Republicans in key state Senate races, is touting itself as a new counterbalance to the powerful statewide teachers’ union, State of Politics reports:  * Democrats were routed in the state Senate in areas where Cuomo won markedly less support than in his 2010 campaign, according to voting returns, Capital New York writes:  Cuomo stepped on de Blasio’s Albany press conference by holding a competing press conference of his own. For Cuomo and de Blasio, Still Some Good Old Days Historically the nature of the governor’s relationship with New York City’s mayor has always been something of an arranged marriage, but like many couples, the governor and the mayor do seem to enjoy each other’s company, at least when they are not fighting.
    War: de Blasio vs Cuomo, How the GOP Won the Senate, Education Attack

    Why Does the Media Print Pols Spin Lies About What They Did in the Election? . . . Nothing About the Public's Anger At Pols 
    Remove the five boroughs of NY City & Rob Astorino WON this #nygov election by 100,000 votes or by 4 pts

    Cuomo I Helped the Senate Campaign
    Facing criticism that Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not do enough to help Democratic state Senate candidates, his campaign defended his efforts and said he “endorsed nearly every candidate,” The New York Times reports: * Having Republicans in full control of the state Senate could give Cuomo political cover, while his best opportunities might be to approve popular fiscal plans, the Buffalo News writes: *Bruno To Skelos: No Need For IDC(YNN) * Cuomo Distances Himself From Democratic Losses(YNN) * Cuomo’s Fusion Success(YNN)* Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who didn’t campaign heavily for state Senate candidates and incumbents or vulnerable House candidates, blamed a national “Republican wave” for Democratic electoral losses iNew York, State of Politics reports: Quinn Fetes WEP Success(YNN) * Andrew Cuomo and the Sad State of the Working Families Party (In These Times) * Gov. Andrew Cuomo conquered what was once viewed as a Republican stronghold, winning the Orthodox Jewish vote in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn by 70 percent.* Andrew Cuomo rejects criticism lobbed against him for GOP takeover of state Senate(NYDN)

    de Blasio Says Lose of Senate Don't Blame Me . . . No Backfire 
    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio deflected blame for losses that gave Republicans control of the state Senate and disputed the idea that his support for Democrats had backfired, the Times writes:  * 'BILL De BlASIO KILLED HIS OWN AGENDA': Mayor's campaign forDemocrat-ruled state Senate may have doomed his strategy(NYDN)* Nicole Gelinas writes in City Journal that withRepublicans in charge of the state Senate, de Blasio will need help from Cuomo to further his top goals and won’t be able to go as far as he would like to with his policies: * De Blasio reckons with a Republican Senate (Capital)* Jeff Klein told @ZackFinkNews that his #IDC may live on even though the Republicans control the state Senate: *  Cuomo predicts less progressive change in 2015(CrainsNY) * Avella said if IDCwent back on its word to caucus with Dems he would leave

    Dear NYT: State Senate Elections Have Consequences
    Round Two for Gov. Cuomo(NYT) His decreased leverage makes delivering on his promises seem more challenging than ever.

    NYT Why Is A GOP Senate Ab Obstacle When That is What the Governor Wanted?
    One of the biggest obstacles is of his own making. He did far too little to help Democrats running for State Senate seats across the state, depriving them of financial support as well as the energy he could have brought to their campaigns. 

    Dear NYT: A GOP Senate Which Depended On Millions From LLCs Is Not Going to Pass Public Financing to Give Dems A Better Chance to Beat Them
    First, he should figure out a way to honor his vow to reform the state’s corrupt political culture through stricter campaign finance laws and changes in the pay-to-play traditions in Albany. This task is made no easier by the fact that Mr. Cuomo himself took in $45 million in campaign contributionsfrom real estate and communications companies and other businesses. 

    Dear NYT With A GOP Senate Will Pass the Women's Rights Bill Without the Right to Choose Competent, Which Could Have Been Months Ago
    Second, Mr. Cuomo has put women’s rights high on his agenda, and it should stay there. His package of proposals — and he should continue to demand the whole package, not pieces of it — includes stronger human trafficking laws, new protections for victims of domestic violence, protection of students from sexual violence on campuses and pay equity for women.

    The Charges Against the GOP Leader  
     Here is the 43-page criminal complaint against Dean Skelosand son Adam Skelos  * Skelos not accused of using own law firm for $$$ gain.So if he was full-time legislator,as ''reformers'' want,what difference would it make? *Arrest sheds new context on Skelos' call for the 421-a taxbreak program to expire every two years:  (City and State) * maybe gov. cuomo should have just left the financial settlement $$ to @AGSchneiderman. Charges say Skelos sought to direct some to son's co. * Dean Skelos and his son continued their bribery scheme evenafter the indictment of Sheldon Silver, officials say:  (DNAINFO)  Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader,and Son Are Arrested on Corruption Charges (NYT) Dean G. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate, and his son were arrested early on Monday by federal authorities on corruption charges  The charges against them were expected to be detailed in a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Manhattan and will probably include conspiracy, extortion and bribe solicitation, a person with knowledge of the matter has said. Indictment accuses Sen Maj Leader Skelos, son of threatening to block a contract award in Nassau County if payments to son weren't increased Real Estate Unnamed 'Senior executive of a major real estate firm' a key to fed case against Sen Maj Leader Skelos, indictment says 

    Sal Albanese ‏@SalAlbaneseNYC 
    @DomenicRecchia is Done! @repmichaelgrimm up by 19 pts. 2 million dollars down the tubes

    Who On Whose Side in the Battle for the Senate 
    The Battle for the State Senate is As Confusing As the Middle East
    The fight for Democratic State Senate majority reveals political duplicity from City Hall to Queens to Albany(Progress Queens) The election year problems for the Cuomo campaign and the de Blasio camp can be traced back to the shady backroom deal to secure the WFP nomination.  Gov. Cuomo has derided what he calls the Democratic Party’s “extreme left," who basically comprise the same progressive spectrum that the WFP purports to represent and who nominated him for reëlection.  Indeed, in order to secure the WFP nomination, in order to achieve Gov. Cuomo’s vain goal of winning a reelection race with a higher percentage than did his father, Gov. Cuomo begrudgingly promised, amongst other things, to help the Democratic Party win majority control of the State Senate.  However, Gov. Cuomo has barely publicly campaigned in his own race, much less in the Democratic State Senate races that would matter to make good on his promise to the WFP.  Furthermore, questions still remain whether Gov. Cuomo will betray the spirit of his campaign pledge to the WFP by endorsing Republican State Senator Mark Grisanti.  Already, the governor has formed his own third party, which he called the Women’s Equality Party, to directly appeal to women’s voters.  Now, the WFP is being forced to support a governor, who may be trying to dilute the WFP’s influence in the November general election.* Fight for NYS Senate downt to four districts, Dems andGOPers say(NYDN) Recent polls showed Republicans performing strongly in several Long Island districts the Democrats had initially hoped to poach. Democratic efforts will now focus on a Hudson Valley seat being vacated by Republican Greg Ball, a four-way race in Buffalo and contests involving incumbent Democrats Terry Gipson of Dutchess County and Cecilia Tkaczyk of Ulster County. Despite poor showings in the recent polls, some Dems insist they haven’t completely given up on incumbent Sen. Ted O’Brien of Rochester and Adrienne Esposito, who is running for an open seat in Suffolk County and was endorsed by Gov. Cuomo Saturday.* A labor source says the weekend endorsement of Democratic Senate hopeful Adrienne Esposito by Gov. Andrew Cuomo was just the beginning of a concerted effort to raise her name recognition and potentially win the GOP-held seat, State of Politicsreports:   * The political action committee backed by the Real Estate Board of New York invested nearly $30,000 in mail supporting Republicans in two key Long Island Senate districts, including $13,358 in the third Senate district, where Republican Tom Croci is trying to retain a seat against Esposito, State of Politicsreports:  * The battle for control of the state Senate is now likely down to four upstate districts—a Hudson Valley seat vacated by Republican Greg Ball, a four-way race in Buffalo and contests involving incumbent Democrats Terry Gipson of Dutchess County and Cecilia Tkaczyk of Ulster County, the DailyNews’ Ken Lovett writes: 

    Klein I Gave You (GOP) the Best Years of My Life 
    Klein and his breakaway Senate Democrats are already facing threats of primaries in two years if they again join the Republicans but don't deliver on at least one progressive issue, the Daily News reports:

    FRONT-RUNNER—Klein sides with power—Jimmy, filing from San Juan: The struggle between Democrats and Republicans for Jeff Klein's allegiance was supposed to be the dominant undercurrent of this weekend's Somos El Futuro conference, with impromptu poolside meetings, threats exchanged, and deals cut. After Republicans won an outright, 32-seat majority in the State Senate, Klein and his five-member, breakaway Independent Democratic Conference were no longer a must-have item. Practically, though, the I.D.C. remained very much in play, despite promise to ally with Democrats. In an interview with NY1 late Thursday, Klein picked the Republicans. "I've had a great working relationship with Senator [Dean] Skelos. I hope that continues," Klein told NY1's Zack Fink, referring to the Republican conference leader. "And I hope he agrees with me—that a coalition government was not only good over the last couple of years, but is something that works really really well in the months and years ahead."* Oliver Koppell, who challenged state Sen. Jeff Klein in a Democratic primary, criticized him for wanting to rejoin Senate Republicans and accused him of chasing “personal power,” Gannett Albany reports:  * Queens Sen. TonyAvella sticking with Independent Democratic Conference(NYDN)* Klein, diminished but still desired, sides with power(Capital)* IDC May Live On Despite Republican State Senate Majority(NY1)* Skelos: Voters got our message about the economy, jobs 

    Newsday Says Long Island Dead Without A GOP Senate
    Long Island voters should be “very afraid” of a Democratic takeover of the state Senate, Newsday’s Editorial Board writes, suggesting thatthe suburbs would be left with virtually no voice

    IDC's $150,000 To Western GOP Senator  
    Breakaway Dems donate mystery $150K(CrainsNY) Now a mysterious $150,000 donation by the IDC's so-called super PAC—recently made to another outside group, run by the League of Conservation Voters—raises questions about whether the IDC is quietly trying to help a Republican senator in Western New York defeat a Democrat. As Crain's reported earlier this week, the League of Conservation Voters has adopted a policy this year of working unusually closely with deep-pocketed interests, which don't necessarily have environmental causes at the top of their agendas.* The pro-public financing group Friends of Democracy this month spent virtually all of its $650,000 budget on TV ads in at least two state Senate races, State of Politicsreports:  * State Sen. George Latimer, a mainline Democrat, received a series of $10,000 donations from Independent Democratic Conference members Jeff Klein, David Valesky and Diane Savino, as well as from the IDC’s political action committee, the Daily News reports: 

    Did Klein Ever Ask Lowe What He Was Doing With the Money He Was Paying Him?

    Independent Senate Democrats Re-Ignite Push To Outlaw Political Consultants From Lobbying (UPDATED)View All Blogs IDC spokesman Eric Soufer blasted the traditional Democratic conference for opposing the bill in June.  His statement specifically hit Sen. Liz Krueger, the Manhattan Democrat quoted earlier in the week in the New York Times claiming special interests “bought” tobacco bill that was pushed by IDC Leader Jeffrey . “By voting no on a common sense ethics reform bill, Senator Krueger and her allies are giving shady consultants like Mel Lowe an opportunity to double-dip in Albany's largesse,” Soufer said. “If Sen. Krueger and her colleagues in the Senate Democratic Conference are serious about cracking down on conflicts of interest, then the least they can do is vote yes for a common sense reform."UPDATE: A Krueger spokesman just sent over a blistering response to Soufer."Is this serious? While Sen. Krueger would love to put more distance between lobbyists and campaigns, as drafted this bill was almost certainly unconstitutional, and she's not in the habit of voting for silly, plainly unconstitutional bills that are certain to go down in court. And frankly, if I were Mr. Soufer I wouldn't want to raise the subject of Melvin Lowe, who was hired on and received these absurd payments during DSCC Chair Jeff Klein's watch. When Liz Krueger was chair of the DSCC, she personally signed off on every payment of $1,000 or more -- if Sen. Klein followed the same procedure, then he signed off on those checks. And if he didn't, then he's a rube."* State Sen. Jeff Klein is still operating a law office in a residential neighborhood more than two years after The Post revealed he was violating the zoning code, the New York Post reports:

    Indicted Libous Pleas for His Guilty Son Because He Is Dying 
    Dying senator begs judge to spare his son jail time (NYP) Indicted state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous says he’s dying of cancer and is begging a federal judge to show his criminal son leniency so they can spend his “last days” together. In a letter to Judge Vincent Briccetti made public Wednesday, Libous (D-Binghamton) — who was indicted on public-corruption charges — revealed that he has “cancer which cannot be cured” and that he relies on his son, Matthew, to provide him “the strength and inspiration to get through each day.”* Libous Does Not Agree to Clean Up Albany By Telling What He Knows, While Begging to Keep His Child Out of Jail For Corruption
    The War to Clean Up Albany is Hell Mr. Libous 
    “Judge, my biggest fear is that he would be placed in prison as my health continues to deteriorate and unable to spend time with me in my last days,” the elder Libous, 62, wrote. “I ask that you please show my son mercy and allow him to be with me and his family.” In January, Matthew Libous, 37, was found guilty in White Plains of under-reporting $69,950 of his income on federal tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009. He will be sentenced next week. The No. 2 Republican in the Senate was diagnosed with cancer six years ago and says his son’s trial took a toll on his health.* Indicted state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous says he’s dying of cancer and is begging a federal judge to show his criminal son leniency so they can spend his “last days” together, the Post writes: Update Sentencing Delayed  U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti abruptly re-scheduled Matthew Libous’ sentencing on tax-fraud crimes, pushing it back until May 18. He had previously been set for sentencing this coming Wednesday. * The sentencing of state Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous’ son, who was convicted of tax fraud in January, has been delayed until next month with no explanation from the judge, Gannett Albany reports * Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous says he expects to return to his job at the state Capitol despite a blood infection that will prevent him from coming back to his home state for “several weeks.” The Binghamton Republican is recuperating in Florida.

    News From Other Local Races

     During an hour-long debate on NY1, former NYC Comptroller John Liu slammed his primary opponent, Sen. Tony Avella, for leaving the “regular” Democrats to join the IDC.
    The Liu-Avella battle is one of the most closely-watched primaries taking place next month, as Albany insiders wait to see if the truce between the IDC and regular Democrats holds.
    Rep. Michael Grimm, who faces federal charges and a tough re-election campaign, ripped into the city’s post-Sandy “Build it Back” program. 

    Klein and his primary opponent, former NYC Councilman Oliver Koppell, sparred during a NY1 debate.
    Klein Balks at Voting to Repeal Urstadt Law(NYO)
    * The race between incumbent state Sen. Tony Avella and John C. Liu, the former New York City comptroller, could have ramifications for the balance of power in the state, The Times reports:

    Klein Who Has No Position Protects His Online Gambling 
    You Want to Bet?
    EXCLUSIVE: State Senate Democrats group urging delegation against bill outlawing online gaming (NYDN)  A breakaway group of state Senate Democrats is asking the New York congressional delegation to bet against a federal bill that would outlaw online gaming. In a letter to the New York delegation, the state Senate Independent Democratic Conference argued that the bill would trample on the rights of states while potentially prohibiting the New York Lottery from offering games online. The five Dems argued that federal legislation would also keep New York from ever joining other states in allowing Internet poker, which they said would generate new tax revenue and create job opportunities. New JerseyNevada and Delaware currently allow online poker. The IDC, led by Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx), hasn’t taken a position on whether online gaming should be legalized in New York — just that it should be a state, not federal, decision. *  The Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference is asking the New York congressional delegation to bet against a federal bill that would outlaw online gaming, the Daily News reports:  *  State Senate Democrats group urging delegation against bill outlawing online gaming (NYDN)

    Candidates branded ‘delinquents’ after failing to file personal finances(NYP) 

    Albany is awash in corruption — but 72 candidates for state office failed the simplest ethics test by not filing personal financial statements as required by law, The Post has...
    * Norwood News takes an in depth look at the debate between state Sen. Jeff Klein and primary challenger  Oliver Koppell, who took on issues of party authenticity and loyalty:
    De Blasio Gets Behind Espaillat in Re-Election Fight(NYO)
    James Sanders Complains of ‘Over-Focus’ on Investigating Black Pols(NYO)
    Maloney Brushes Off Seawright’s ‘Right to Work’ ‘Mistake’(NYO)
    De Blasio For Espaillat(YNN)
    * As state Sen. Tony Avella and former New York City Comptroller John Liu vie for Avella’s Senate seat, some Democratic state legislators say they aren’t thrilled about either candidate, Gotham Gazette reports:
    * Citing Adriano Espaillat’s support for pre-kindergarten funding and affordable housing programs, de Blasio  endorsed the state senator’s reelection bid, State of Politics reports:
    * Rep. Steve Israel, a Long Island Democrat and chair of the DCCC, is promising an unprecedented effort to drive out embattled Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island and elect his Democratic rival, Domenic Recchia, the Observer reports:
    * Following a very strong endorsement from the New York League of Conservation Voters, state Sen. Tony Avella has won the backing of another environmental group—the Sierra Club—in his primary bid against John Liu, State of Politics reports: 
    Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. makes a cameo in a Spanish-language TV AD for IDC Leader Jeff Klein. 

    Campaign Updates
    City should make Liu pay old $525K campaign fine: Sen. Avella(NYP) Ex-city Comptroller John Liu has let his legal challenge of $525,000 in fines against his prior campaign languish for at least 18 months — as he sits on a new campaign war chest of $444,000, his ­opponent charged Tuesday. Liu was hit with the fines for illegally hanging more than 7,000 posters during his successful 2009 race for comptroller.

    I Hate People Koppell
    State Sen. Candidate Oliver Koppell, who is challenging Senate Co-Majority Leader Jeff Klein, was caught on video insulting voters in his district, saying they are “not the most broad-minded people,” the Daily News reports: 

    CM Miller Staffer Raises $$$ for Comrie During Work

    Leroy Comrie Hungry for Money
    City Council staffer sent fund-raising e-mails while working(NYP) A staffer for Queens Councilman Daneek Miller sent political fund-raising e-mails while working on the taxpayer dime, according to a Miller staffer and a source who shared the e-mail with The Post. Margaret Denson sent the plea for donations to ex-Councilman Leroy Comrie’s state Senate bid Wednesday. Denson claimed she was in the office but on a lunch break. “[The city] should investigate it,” said Katherine James, former Board of Elections deputy chief clerk who received the e-mail. “They’re not following the rules.”

    More on the Campaign to Control the State Senate 
    And $$$ Reports
    The abrupt retirement of Sen. George Maziarz gives the Senate GOP another seat to defend, which means less resources for other challengers and incumbents facing tough re-election campaigns. When the Republicans were redesigning district seats to help protect vulnerable members a couple of years ago, they figured Maziarz was so politically strong that he could take on a bunch of Democratic voters from Buffalo Sen. Mark Grisanti and absorb them into his district without fear of losing. That move may come back to bite them. “The landscape keeps changing and the map keeps getting more difficult for Republicans,” said Queens Sen. Michael Gianaris, head of the Democrats’ campaign committee.* * State Senate Republicans will have nearly $5 million in the bank as of the latest campaign finance filing, the caucus reports, including $3.7 million raised in the last six months, the Daily News reports: * But no member of the conference has contributed so far to Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s campaign, Gannett Albany writes:  * John Liu has raised more than half a million dollars and has $440,000 in cash on hand in his bid against Sen. Tony Avella, who has raised only $132,000 this period, with $88,000 on hand, State of Politics reports:* GOP Attorney General candidate John Cahill has raised $1.67 million, while his Democratic opponent, incumbent Eric Schneiderman, reported having $6 million on hand back in January, the Daily News writes: * Rep. Michael Grimm raised just $23,430 last month, according to campaign finance reports, with nearly all of it coming from 18 mostly local donors, the Observer reports:’s Campaign Holds a Wide Lead in Fund-Raising(NYT)*S.J. Jung and Toby Stavisky Neck and Neck in Cash War(NYO) * Skelos And Klein Lead In Senate Fundraising(YNN)* Klein Campaign Knocks Koppell For Delayed Disclosure(YNN)*Klein Mob $$$ IDC Leader Jeff Klein took a $10,000 campaign donation from a mafia-linked realty company – the same firm he rents his district office space from.* Senate Republicans warn of ‘leftist’ de Blasio takeover(Capital) Republicans claim Dems are in pocket of de Blasio and W.F.P.

    Stewart-Cousins Ignores Low Blow Flyer Intended to Help Make Her Speaker    
    The chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee would not repudiate a mailer from the statewide teachers union depicting a battered woman and accusing Republicans of blocking anti-domestic violence legislation, State of Politics reports:  Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins distanced herself from controversial NYSUT mailing Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins distanced herself from – but did not criticize - a controversial mailing sent by the state’s teachers union in support of her conference’s candidates. “We are not doing that and it is not the candidates that are doing that,” Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat from Westchester, said on public radio’s Capitol Pressroom show Thursday. The mailing features a woman with a black eye and takes Republican candidates to task for opposing Gov. Cuomo’s women’s equality agenda. It was paid for by VOTE-COPE, the campaign arm of the New York State United Teachers, and sent to voters in the districts of Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo and Hudson Valley GOP candidates Sue Serino and Terrence Murphy.* Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins distanced herself from—but did not criticize—the controversial mailing, the Daily Newsreports: * A Hispanic registered Democratic voter in New York City received a letter Wednesday, paid for by the New York State Democratic Committee, which said that the party will be monitoring "whether or not you vote," Capital New Yorkreports

    de Blasio  Declares WFP War Against IDC-GOP Power Sharing 

    In an online live chat, state Sen. David Valesky, a state Senate Independent Democratic Conference member, said he is proud of the IDC’s work and that he believes it will continue, the Post-Standard reports:
     mobilizes Working Families Party members to elect Democratic state Senate in November 
    WFP Primary Against Savino? 
    MTA board member Allen Cappelli has started circulating petitions to launch a Democratic primary against Sen. Diane Savino, but says he’s not yet definitely in or out.* Mayor de Blasio mobilizes left-leaning supporters in Working Families Party to elect Democratic state Senate in November(NYDN)*  
    Cuomo Dances About IDC Furture  * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a Capitol Pressroom radio interview that the results of this legislative session have led him to conclude that the state Senate's current governing coalition is a “failure,” but he stopped short of saying he will campaign for Democrats across the board, Capital New York reports:  In a Q&A with The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, leader of the minority conference mainline Senate Democrats, discusses power-sharing in Albany: 

    The Klein Dances While Being Attacked By the IDC He Gives the Mayor As Much As He Can
    25 MPH  Mayor de Blasio's bid to lower city speed limit to 25 mph approved by state lawmakers(NYDN)PEED LIMIT REDUCTION, AFTER SOME DRAMA: It hit a political snag on Wednesday, but a bill backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio that would allow the Department of Transportation to reduce the city’s speed limit to 25 miles per hour passed the Legislature late Thursday. It had to maneuver around Staten Island Sen. Andrew Lanza, who pushed to use it as leverage for a bill that would have put stop signs around schools. In the end Senate I.D.C. Leader Jeff Klein was able to push the bill to the floor over Lanza’s objections. * Cuomo also told listeners that he was thrilled with the last-minute legislative accomplishments of the Assembly and the Senate, moments before declaring the flouted effort to pass campaign finance reform “a failure,” the Observer reports:

    IDC Dem Senate Power Sharing Talks . . . GOP Out Says the NYP 
    Source: IDC, Dems start preliminary talks about sharing control of Senate --
    Breakaway Senate Dems to end power-sharing with GOP(NYP)
    * State Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein denied there are ongoing discussions about re-unifying his group of five dissident Democrats with the Senate’s mainline conference, the Daily News reports: * Senate co-Leader Jeffrey Klein denied there are ongoing discussions about re-unifying his conference of five dissident Democrats with the Senate’s mainline Dems.* ALBANY SESSION SLIDES INTO FRIDAY: Negotiations over a series of issues—most notably medicinal marijuana—continued during what’s expected to be the final week of the state legislative session, but several key sticking points remain unresolved Governor Andrew Cuomo went on the radio to announce he wouldn’t sign a medicinal marijuana bill in its current form, then met with its legislative sponsors. They said they were optimistic leaving the meeting.* IDC member David Carlucci, who may be facing a primary challenge, is seeking campaign workers.

    Who is Keeping the IDC Alive and Why?  
    MTA board member Allen Cappelli is considering a Democratic primary challenge to state Sen. Diane Savino, saying he’s concerned that the IDC, through the majority coalition, is preventing other women and people of color from serving in leadership roles, the Staten Island Advance writes: 

    Monday Update
    LOVETT: Democrat Jeffrey Klein may lose some union support(NYDN)

    NYS Sen. David Carlucci urging fellow breakaway Dems to abandon GOP for Democrats: sources(NYDN)* Bronx Senate Race at Center of Cuomo's Pledge for Democratic Majority(NY1)The unions representing the city’s teachers and the hotel and motel workers may cut support if Klein and his breakaway Democrats don't re-align with mainstream Dems. Meanwhile, a group of prominent progressive Democrats that includes former city Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum are set to hold a fundraiser for Koppell on June 19 at the Manhattan home of Manhattan attorney Craig Kaplan and his philanthropist wife, Anne Hess.

    Labor, WFP and Progressives Using the Pressure of A Primary to Change Klein  

    An Offer He Can't or Can Refuse?
    Labor groups, including Local 1199 SEIU, are in talks with state Sen. Jeff Klein and the Independent Democratic Conference about the IDC breaking its alliance with Senate Republicans, with whom they’ve formed a majority coalition, the New York Post reports: 
    WFP backs Koppell over Klein, but unions split - The Insider ...
    * Republicans in the , cut off by SEIU 1199, reminded the union of their long friendship  Detectives For Klein(YNN)
    More About IDC GOP Senate Coalition
    WFP, Cuomo, IDC and Koppell Klien Race

    Sen. Diane Savino says IDC will live on but won't commit to still being aligned with GOP

    IDC Does the John Wayne, Who is Holding Them Up and Why? 

    NY Senate IDC to those threatening primaries: 'Bring it on!'(NYDN)The five dissident Senate Dems who control the chamber with the Republicans have a message for Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and labor unions who have threatened primaries unless they re-align with the chamber’s mainline Democrats—“bring it on.” “The Independent Democratic Conference is not intimidated by the hostile rhetoric and threats of those who engage in the politics of extortion,” said IDC communications director Jennifer Rainville. “Every single one of our members is ready for a primary and ready to have a serious conversation and debate about who can best serve New York’s working families. Bring it on!”* * A dozen local Democrats, including the Rockland County Legislature chairman, are calling on state Sen. David Carlucci to break away from the Independent Democratic Conference and are threatening to back a Clarkstown councilwoman instead, Gannett Albany writes  * State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins is poised to become the first female leader of a legislative majority in New York history if her conference takes back control of the Senate, Bloomberg News writes

    * Former New York City comptroller John Liu, who is running against state Sen. Tony Avella, isn’t just campaigning in Avella’s eastern Queens district—he’s hitting the trail all over the city, the Observer reports:
    * Sources say that state Sen. David Carlucci is urging his fellow members of the Independent Democratic Conference to rejoin the mainline Democrats, the Daily News writes:

    * For the first time in more than a decade, the State Senate Republicans won’t be getting any money from 1199 SEIU—the state’s powerful healthcare workers union—at election time, Capital New York reports:

    For the first time in more than decade, 1199 SEIU, one of New York’s most powerful unions, will not donate to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee before the November elections. The decision was made as part of a concerted effort to help Democrats retake control of the state Senate by a coalition of labor groups, Working Families Party members and Governor Andrew Cuomo. It represents a sea change in the union’s political strategy and a break in its long-standing alliance with the Senate GOP.

    Working Families Party in civil war over Cuomo(NYP) Warring factions of the Working Families Party Friday night moved toward backing Gov. Cuomo’s re-election bid after threatening to dump him for another candidate, sources said.As part of the tentative deal, Cuomo will push for a Democratic takeover of the Senate and pledge to pass progressive measures backed by the WFP, including campaign-finance reform, sources said. “Will the governor support a Democratic Senate? Yes. He’s a Democrat,” said an insider involved in the discussions. The deal would pressure Senate the Independent Democratic Conference chairman and the other renegades to rejoin the regular Democratic caucus.Stuart Appelbaum, head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store union and a WFP board member, said, “We are ­going to support Cuomo. Most unions support him.”
    But the grassroots Occupy Wall Street types in the party complained that Cuomo was too moderate and pushed the candidacy of little-known liberal ­activist Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, to be the standard-bearer.
    “We were about to destroy the party,” a labor source said of the contentious infighting. Sources cautioned that the fragile alliance could still blow up and lead to a free-for-all at the convention tonight.* Election lawyer attempting to block Cuomo challenger(NYP) An election lawyer supporting Gov. Cuomo’s re-election will file a legal challenge to block little-known law professor Zephyr Teachout from challenging the Democratic incumbent on the Working Families Party ballot. Attorney Marty Connor says Teachout may not meet the five-year residency requirement to run for governor. Board of Election records shows she first registered to vote in New York in May 2010.  Ballot sale at the Working Families Party (NYP Ed)Will the Working Families Party prove itself to be just like the rest of New York’s minor parties — a patronage mill masquerading as a principled alternative? * Working Families Party to endorse Gov. Cuomo under tentative deal: sources(NYDN) * EXCLUSIVE: Talks heating up between Cuomo, Working Families Party — deal ...(Salo* How Today Could Determine the Future of New York's Working Families Party The Nation

    GOP Dark Money Pools 
    NY election group tied to Koch 'network'(CrainsNY)   Common Sense surfaced in New York's 2010 elections, and questions were raised in 2012 about whether it was coordinating its activities with state Senate Republicans. The Moreland Commission probed Common Sense during the panel's short-lived existence, dubbing the operation a "daisy chain of out-of-state corporations and 'ghost companies' " meant to obscure its backers. A Koch Industries spokesman, Rob Tappan, said none of the money came from the billionaire brothers. "Neither Charles Koch nor David Koch, nor Koch Industries, made any contribution to this organization," Mr. Tappan said. There are indirect ties between Common Sense and what some media accounts describe as the Koch brothers' "network," though that doesn't mean the duo had anything to do with the charity. For example, Common Sense made a $900,000 gift to American Future Fund, which The Washington Post has described as a "pass-through" for political money on the right that in 2012 was a "major player in a network of politically active nonprofits supported by" the Kochs and other conservative donors.* Risa Sugarman, the new independent enforcement counsel at the Board of Elections, is receiving special investigator status for one month.* "Poll: More voters see Sharpton influencing mayor”(Capital)

    Why Is WFP Not Fighting For Their Core Beliefs? 
    WFP Hustlemania
     Way off course (NYDN Ed)\What's in a name? Not enough, says a longtime player in the Working Families Party. As a gauge of how far Working Families has strayed from the purpose embodied in its name, here’s what Mike McGuire of the Mason Tenders union — a longtime player in the party — wrote on Facebook:“I’m ashamed I ever helped found the WFP. To call yourself the ‘working families’ party and then draw the line in the sand over campaign finance reform is an absolute disgrace. How about a line in the sand over raising the minimum wage? Or establishing a true living wage? Or fully funding the public transportation system? Or bringing jobs and opportunity and economic development to the pockets of NYC and vast swaths of upstate New York that so desperately need them?

    If the Queens Organization Siding with the WFP's Liu to Save Parkside Mom?
    Queens Boss Sides With WFP to Save Evan's Mom
    Former New York City comptroller John Liu has decided to primary state Sen. Tony Avella, a member of the Senate Independent Democratic Conference who joined the breakaway group earlier this year
    The failed mayoral candidate will be picked as the Queens Democratic Party's candidate on Monday. A Liu candidacy means two members of the five-member breakaway Democratic faction in the Senate are facing primaries from traditional Democrats this year.The Queens Democratic Party, which had been courting Liu, is set Monday to designate him as their candidate so his name can appear on party nominating petitions circulated in the district. He has already met with key union leaders and hired consultant Neal Kwatra, a former chief of staff to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with deep union ties.

    Daily  News Says Two IDC Members Have Challenges, It is Close to 2 and A Half
    Parkside's Mon Toby Stavisky Gets A Primary Making the Queens Dems A Split Party 
    Queens businessman and activist S.J. Jung is mounting a primary challenge against veteran Democratic Sen. Toby Stavisky. Stavisky's Son Evan from the Parkside Group Was Sen. Tony Avella and Raised Most of the Funds for Him. Evan Stavisky is the top player or clog in Crowley's Democratic Machine.* Queens Dem Party boss  nominates  for Avellas senate seat * Avella Says He’ll Have Money To Take On Liu(YNN) * Rep. Joe Crowley, the Queens Democratic chairman, feels “betrayed” by Sens. Tony Avella and Malcolm Smith, and so is backing primary challengers against them.* Democrats Support Liu in Primary Challenge to Incumbent Democrat(WSJ) * Liu Kicks Off State Senate Campaign * Liu Announces Bid to Unseat Queens State Senator(NYT)

    Team Cuomo Panics
    Cuomo is responding to a Working Families Party rebellion by urging State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, both Democrats, to refuse the WFP line, BuzzFeed reports ources: WFP’s Future At Stake In Endorsement Fight(NYO) According to another labor source involved in these talks, a number of the largest and most significant unions – including 1199 SEIU, HTC, the laborers, RWDSU, and the UFT – were prepared to call it quits with the WFP, knowing that their withdrawal could very well lead to the party’s “collapse.”  Union leaders were burning up the phone lines this morning, discussing whether the time had finally come to pull their support of the party they helped create and have financially sustained since 1998, WFP.The situation at the moment is very fluid, and could very well remain so right up until the voting at the convention on the endorsement for governor question begins tomorrow night.And, according to BuzzFeed, Cuomo is reportedly fanning the flames by asking AG Eric Schneiderman – a darling of the left – to refuse the WFP’s endorsement, which would be a significant blow. The governor may have made the same ask of state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who arguably owes his close 2010 win over Republican Harry Wilson to the unions and the GOTV effort they ran on his behalf.* * The WFP’s rift with Cuomo ahead of this weekend’s convention may have done lasting damage to its relationships with key unions, which some sources say could lead to the party’s collapse, State of Politics writes: * Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham Law professor, officially announced her candidacy for governor on the WFP line, saying “the system is rigged for the rich and powerful” and that Cuomo “isn’t going to fix it,” State of Politics reports: * There are probably enough dissenters to lift Teachout above the 50,000 votes needed to maintain the WFP line, but polls showing a WFP candidate winning 20 percent may be exaggerated, Capital New York writes: 

    Wow: Cuomo is urging AG Schneiderman and Comptroller DiNapoli not to take WFP line, via and * Who Is Zephyr Teachout? (C&S)* WFP Party Platform to Be Adopted  * A Teachout For Governor Website Launches(YNN) * The WFP’s Gamble(YNN) * Teachout Challenging Cuomo For WFP Line(YNN) * Working Families Party conflict gets ugly, 1 of founders chides party for being willing to break with Cuomo (Newsweek) * Another Political Club Goes With ‘No Endorsement’ For Governor)Newsday) * WFP Founder ‘Ashamed’(YNN) 

    Kill the IDC-GOP Maaaybe
    PASS IT OR ELSE: Gov. Cuomo threatens state Senate to approve public financing of elections(NYDN) Asked if he would campaign to oust Senate Republicans, Cuomo smiled slyly and said, “Maybe. Maaaybe.” Republicans share control of the Senate with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference.

    Will the WFP Put In A Place Holder Governor Candidate So They Can See What They Get From Cuomo in the next 3 months?
    Working Families Party Warns Cuomo of a Possible Opponent(NYT)Late Thursday, a co-chairwoman of the party said it expected to put its support behind a little-known academic with scarcely any chance to defeat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in the November race.* As Liberal Leaders Test Cuomo, de Blasio Stands by Him(NYT)* Education activist Diane Ravitch, who was floated as a possible WFP candidate for governor, said she would not run for public office due to her recent knee surgery, the Daily News reports:   

    Cuomo said that state Senate Republicans should approve public financing of elections this session, warning that he might campaign to oust them from office this fall if they don’t, the Daily News writes:  * Lieutenant governor candidate and former Rep. Kathy Hochul spent $25,000 to lobby Cuomo and state lawmakers on redistricting in a failed attempt to keep her seat in Congress, the Times Union writes: * The WFP’s nominating convention this Saturday could feature an old-fashioned floor fight, with one possibility being that the delegates opt for a placeholder candidate, Capital New York reports: * The Daily News urges Cuomo to rebuff “unreasonable WFP demands” as he seeks the backing of the third party, arguing that a governor who bought into its entire agenda would be a “disaster”: * --A new political tag team -- New York’s Chris Smith: Four years ago, de Blasio was a crucial broker in arranging the WFP’s endorsement of candidate Cuomo. Now he’s trying to play the same role, vouching for Governor Cuomo’s progressive ‘results’ and stockpiling credit in the Albany favor bank. But the context is trickier than in 2010 — and, ironically, de Blasio helped create the problem, or the opportunity: His victory as a loud and proud progressive stoked liberal complaints about the centrist Cuomo, particularly on economic issues, and emboldened elements of the WFP.”* Cuomo Faces a Problem on His Left(WFP) * Cuomo and the Working Families Party face a reckoning this weekend(TU) * NY1 Online: Columnist Previews Working Families Party Convention: Michael Powell from The New York Times helped...  * The ideologues are making a last stand in a modern political party. If they win, will Cuomo kill Wilson-Pakula? (NYT)

    Liu's $525,000 Fine Goes Unpaid, WFP Back Away From Liu and

    Liu Receives A Trio Of Congressional Endorsements
    Liu’s campaign fines remain unpaid(NYP) Former city Comptroller John Liu still owes the city more than $525,000 in campaign fines — even as he plows ahead with his latest run for

    Klein: Yes I Respect You After His Hot Babe Del Percio Tweet   

    Bronx state Sen.Jeffrey Klein blames staffer over tweet describing 'hot' female GOP strategist(NYDN) Bronx state Sen. Jeffrey Klein is blaming a “junior communications staffer” for a bizarre Internet posting that described a female Republican strategist as “hot.” The Tuesday evening tweet from Klein’s account included a string of random characters followed by a link to a Google search image for “susan del percio hot.” The tweet was deleted a short time later. “A female, junior communications staffer — who also happens to be a recent hire in our office — accidentally tweeted a link from her personal phone,” Klein spokeswoman Candice Giove said. “Mistakes like this happen and are taken seriously. We extend our apologies to Susan.” Del Percio is a well-known Republican strategist who worked on Joe Lhota’s 2013 mayoral campaign and served, for a short time in 2014, on Gov. Cuomo’s staff.

    de Blasio Backs Klein and Avella After Cuomo Senate Dem Deal
    WFP Staying Out of Senate Races  Working Families Party backs away from John Liu and OliverKoppell  Bill de Blasio Backs Jeff Klein and Tony Avella Over Rivals(NYO)* WFP To Remain Neutral In Contested Senate Primaries(YNN)* The IDC & Their Primaries(YNN) *32BJ SEIU Endorses 37 Senate Democrats(YNN) * Labor Groups Endorses IDC(YNN)* 32BJ SEIU Endorses 37 enate Democrats(YNN)* * The property workers union 32BJ endorsed a raft of Senate and Assembly candidates, including state Sen. Jeff Klein, while skipping the Avella-Liu race and spurning state Sen. John Sampson, the Daily News writes:
    Ross Barkan ‏@RossBarkan   One point from the @BilldeBlasio IDC endorsement today: at least in #SD11, backing wont do a ton for @TonyAvella: Bdb not very popular there

    'Cash doesn't rule everything around him' On Tony Avella and his money woes:

    * Former New York City Comptroller John Liu rolled out an endorsement from the New York City Coalition of Operating Engineers ahead of the kickoff of his bid to unseat state Sen. Tony Avella, the Daily News reports:
    * The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club was once led by former New York City Councilman and Assemblyman Oliver Koppell, but the club endorsed his opponent, Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, the Observer reports:
    Liu rolled out a campaign endorsement from the New York City Coalition of Operating Engineers.
    Former NYC Comptroller and newly minted state Senate candidate John Liu thinks Cuomo “should play a big role” in helping the Democrats re-take the majority.
    The Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club in the Bronx voted to endorse IDC Leader Jeff Klein over his primary challenger, former NYC Councilman Oliver Koppell.

    Rivera, Officially, For Koppell(YNN)

    War for the State Senate Many Hidden Players. . .     

    Tuesday: Senate Dems Get A Their Reform Package On Record
    The state Senate Democrats unveiled an ethics package that includes legislation that would bar lawmakers from using campaign funds to pay for legal fees, create a public campaign finance system and strengthen restrictions on what campaign money can be spent on, the Daily News writes:

    Koppell Runs Against Klein, Winds of A Bigger Battle For Control of the State Senate
    Rivera Dodges On Koppell Endorsement(YNN) * Jeff Klein Isn’t Sure Senate Democrats Are Trying to Oust Him(NYO) * Though Senate Democrats were reportedly encouraging of Oliver Koppell’s primary challenge against Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, none have publicly endorsed him since the former Bronx councilman became a candidate, State of Politics reports:
    KLEIN SCORES UFA ENDORSEMENT: The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York lined up behind state Sen. Jeff Klein, the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, shortly after a challenger entered the race, City & State writes: * KLEIN VS. KOPPELL: It may be too early to tell who will win the battle between state Sen. Jeff Klein and Oliver Koppell, but campaign cash, union support and minority issues like the DREAM Act will all play a role, City & State reports:  * Jeff Klein Snags Teamsters Endorsement 
    More About the IDC GOP Senate Coalition 

    Koppell Slammed for Supporting Term Limits Extension by Avella* Avella Slams Koppell On Term Limits (Updated)(YNN) State Senate Dems want to bar lawmakers from using their campaign accounts to pay for defense lawyers, Lovett reports. Part of a nine-bill package to be unveiled Tuesday, the legislation would outlaw campaign funds from covering legal fees associated with any criminal or civil prosecution of alleged violations of state or federal law.The renewed push comes amid an investigation by the Manhattan U.S. attorney of potential ethical wrongdoing by lawmakers.

    * District Council 9, the labor organization that represents painters and other tradesmen, has endorsed Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein in his re-election bid, State of Politics reports:

    Daily Kos IDC's Kline Intervention Hint of A WFP Cuomo Deal?
    Daily Kos Has Never Gotten Along With WFP Pusing A Fight with Klein's IDC
    The progressive Daily Kos website, which has launched online petitions against conservatives and in support of liberal leaders, has started a petition seeking the political demise of state Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, the Times Union reports:  
    Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver thinks the Working Families Party should endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo unless they want to help Republican challenger Rob Astorino. (CapNY) *  The NYC Working Families Party Scam UPDATED - Daily KosDaily Kos Elections Morning Digest: Working Families Party candidate would take a bite out of Cuomo * Progressive Democrats plan to push for reconciliation with the breakaway IDC at the party’s statewide convention on Long Island later this month. (SoP)

     Possible Shakeup of Control of the State Senate Dance

    State Senator Klein Launches Re-Election Bid (NY1)
    Mayor de Blasio lavishes praise on Jeff Klein, but won't endorse him (NYDN)
    * Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos touted the results of a Siena Poll which found a majority of New York voters in support of a coalition of Democrats and Republicans in control of the upper chamber, State of Politics reports:

    Update No Change Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein reiterated that he has no plans to rejoin the Senate Democrats, saying his coalition with Co-Leader Dean Skelos is working “very, very well,” Gannett Albany writes: 
    Senate Reconciliation?(YNN)
    Oliver Koppell Sets New Easter Deadline for Bid Against Jeff Klein(NYO)
    NY1 Exclusive: Rumblings Indicate Possible Shakeup in State Senate Leadership(NY!)
    Oliver Koppell, a former Bronx councilman, assemblyman and state attorney general, says he’ll decide whether or not to challenge Jeff Klein after the Easter holiday, The Observer writes:
    Klein come back? At least one Senate Democrats says that's just fine(NYO)
    Democrat James Sanders Open to Jeff Klein Leading Democratic Conference(NYO)
    Jeff Klein Allies Ready to Pummel Oliver Koppell As Challenge Decision Nears(NYO)"Mr. Koppell, then a councilman seeking a third term, endorsed Mr. Bloomberg’s controversial 2009 re-election bid. Klein supporters say Mr. Koppell passed on a credible Democratic challenger in Bill Thompson and therefore has little right to say that Mr. Klein turned his back on Democrats."
    New IDC Spokesperson* The Senate IDC hired a new communications director to replace Eric Soufer: Jennifer Rainville, a former TV news reporter who has a history of working for Klein’s political committee, The Daily News reports:
    IDC GOP Senate Coalition Using the Budget to Survival

    Samuels Tries to Start An IDC War By Himself With His $$$

    Monday Update
    The left is really gunning for IDC Leader Jeff Klein.
    Bill Samuels says the governor has lost many liberal supporters “permanently,” adding: “I don’t have one friend who is a Cuomo supporter.”

    Bill Samuels says that if state Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein does not rejoin the mainline Senate Democrats and Oliver Koppell runs against him, Samuels would look to raise money for Koppell, Crain’s reports: “It’s not my first choice, but Klein has a choice to make,” Sanuels said. * Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to name Michael Schlein, “a close friend with deep ties to Wall Street,” as the unpaid chairman of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the Times first reported last night. The paper describes Mr. Schlein, who goes back years with the mayor, as “the banker he knows best.” * CUOMO’S LEFT FLANK—Working Families Party executive director Dan Cantor, speaking to Chuck Todd on MSNBC: “We think there's a big audience, a big market for common-sense progressive ideas, they're very mainstream ideas that we're talking about. We shouldn't be giving enormous tax breaks to the banks and Wall Street, we should be investing in education and infrastructure and culture and transit—all the things we want together. We proudly endorse Democrats like [Syracuse Mayor Stephanie] Miner, and we've stood against others when we've felt they weren't being in favor of the middle class and the working class and poor.” Will you endorse Cuomo? “We'll see how things play out—there's a lot of debate internally on that.”* Dem fundraiser ready to support Klein challenger - The Insider Blog | Crain's New York Business * Facing criticism from the Working Families Party, Howard Glaser, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s director of state operations, defended the state budget, saying it would be hard to find a more progressive budget, the Observer writes:  * Progressive Budge? Glaser says "has a progressive record that is stronger...than we’ve seen for many, many decades" in NY(NYO) Cuomo Aide Insists Budget ‘Very Progressive’ Despite Working Families Party Claims * Public Employees Federation President Susan Kent said the state Democratic and Working Families parties should find a primary challenger for Cuomo, who she said hasn't lived up to the parties' ideals, Gannett Albany reports: * WFP: This Is Not A ‘Progressive Budget(YNN) * Larry Schwartz called criticism of the budget “very silly” and “short-sighted,” adding: “The people that are criticizing it are the same people who for the last 30 years haven’t been able to get anything accomplished.”
    More on IDC GOP Senate Coalition Using the Budget to Surrvive

    A Tale of Two Cities Divide Growing
    Manhattan real-estate prices rise above 2008 pre-recession record(NYP)

    2 Weeks Ago True New Wrote
    Jeff Klein is Trying to Stop the WFP and de Blasio Machine From Helping Senate Democrats and Blowing Up his IDC-GOP Ruling Coalition
    Will de Blasio's WFP's and Progressive's New Machine Go After the IDC's  Triangulation? Today Capital NY Confirmed We Were Right * In an email to supporters, a Working Families Party official said the big picture of the state budget was that the wealthy and banks got tax breaks while New Yorkers got shortchanged, State of Politics writes 
    WFP's Dan Cantor on endorsing Cuomo: "There's a lot of debate internally on that. You have to trust the process."

    ICYM the Tony Avella explainer on why he joined the IDC -->

    Koppell Gives Himself An Out in Challenging Klein

    Oliver Koppell Says He’ll Need a Half Million Dollars to Beat Jeff Klein(NYP)
    Senate IDC Leader Jeff Klein’s budget maneuvering this year was all about staving off a primary challenge from Oliver Koppell. Jeff Klein’s primary-protection plan(Capital)
    Flashback Savino to Koppell: Takes One To Know One(YNN)  * State Sen. Diane Savino defended IDC Leader Jeff Klein, saying that Klein’s potential primary opponent, Oliver Koppell, was hypocritical in saying Klein has declared war on Democrats, State of Politics writes: 

    More on IDC GOP Senate Coalition Using the Budget to Surrvive

    Tenants PAC is prepared to back Oliver Koppell against IDC Leader Jeff Klein in a primary if the former councilman opts to run.

    Tony Avella Staffers Get Pay Bumps After He Defects From Dems(NYO)

    * The state teachers union and other traditional school advocates are pushing back against the budget deal providing additional support for charter schools and are also attacking Independent Democratic Conference member Tony Avella for “selling out” on charter co-locations, the Daily News reports:

    The Klein de Blasio Romance
    Past month filled with rumbles of left challenge to Klein. Smart politics, as deeply transactional Jeff has rediscovered his Left 
    The 50,000 votes WFP needs from Cuomo to keep their ballot line helped a bit with the romance
    * Cuomo Says Charter School Protections Will Likely Be Most Contentious Issue in Budget Negotiations(NY1)* Cuomo's new battle with de Blasio: Charter schools (AP)

    Avella Gets Some of the Banned Member Items

    * Former New York City Comptroller John Liu is mulling a run against state Sen. Tony Avella of Queens, who joined the Independent Democratic Conference earlier this year, the Observer reports:

    New state senator fattens up on pork for home district(NYP) ALBANY — There’s no stopping the pork in this town. Despite rules supposedly banishing “member items,” discretionary funds are still flowing into home districts of rank-and-file members who play their political cards right. The most recent allocation went to the newest member of the Independent Democratic Conference, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens). He collected $600,000 for a senior center and MTA bus study and made no bones about the fact the money came in after he joined the IDC, which shares power with the GOP to run the state Senate. “The reality is if you are friendly with people who rule the chambers, you are going to see a lot more money going toward causes you want.”


    Avella joins Albany Rebel IDC Democrats
    Realignment Buzz: Avella's IDC Move Triggered by Queens Machine Losing Speakers Race. Look for Parkside who was paid $2 million by the senate dems and the rest of the Queens Mob to Move Behind IDC. If there is a weak GOP governor candidate the dems would have a shot gaining control of the senate. IDC members are expected to be target by the dem

    Update Handful of Protesters Crash Tony Avella Event(NYO)

    Avella Quits Democratic Conference For IDC; Dems Say It Hurts Progressive Causes. The move could have “major implications for the battle to control New York’s Senate.
     Albany politics gets even crazier - fifth Democrat joins breakaway faction of state senators  * Avella’s New Title(YNN) * Queens Sen. Tony Avella Calls Protesters Ridiculous; Defends Jump To IDC(NYDN)

    Polling Klein v. Koppell(YNN) Someone is polling to gauge former New York City councilman Oliver Koppell’s support if he were to challenge IDC Leader Jeff Klein in a primary

    Sen. Ruben Diaz spending time with IDC member Diane Savino. Plot thickens? 

    Avella moves to I.D.C., and Democrats grimace(Capital) Democrats, who are trying to reclaim control of the Senate in this year’s elections, were quick to criticize the move: “It’s unfortunate that progressive policies continue to be stymied because of divisions created by Senators who choose to empower Republicans,” said Senate Democratic Communications Director Mike Murphy in a statement early this morning.* is joining the IDC. This will frustrate Democratic attempts to regain control of chamber (NYDN) *Cuomo on Avella’s IDC Move: ‘We’re Headed Into the Political Silly Season’(NYO) * Winds of War Avella Challenger Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) is set to announce that he’s joining a dissident group of four Democrats that runs the state chamber with the GOP in an unprecedented bipartisan arrangement. The switch could be a serious blow to the effort by mainline Dems to reclaim control of the Senate in this year’s elections. Democrats Already Mulling Tony Avella Challenge(NYO) Sources in the district say that Austin Shafran, a legislative director with the left-leaning Working Families Party, may be willing to take the plunge. * State Sen. Tony Avella said that being in the minority has been “frustrating,” in his first comments since news broke that he is joining the Independent Democratic Conference, State of Politics writes:  * State Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said that negotiations are underway to give Avella a committee chairmanship, the Daily News reports: * Crowley Blasts Avella’s IDC Move(YNN) * Klein Says Diaz Not ‘On Our Radar Screen’(YNN) * Sen. Diane Savino gave flowers to Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. Could another IDC love match be in the offing?* Queens Senator Defects to Independent Democratic Conference(NY1) * State Senate Democrats Not Ruling Out Primary Challenge For New IDC Member Avella(NYDN) * IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj are forming a new political club in the Bronx.* Grace Meng and John Liu Slam Tony Avella for Joining IDC(NYO)
    More on the IDC GOP Senate Coalition 

    Flack Works Her Way On Top 
    New IDC Communication Director Has the Right Kind of Experience and Talent for Albany

    Former NY1 reporter named communications director for state Senate’s IDC(NYDN) Jennifer Rainville, the former NY1 reporter who was entangled in a scandal involving former Channel 2 anchorman Rob Morrison, was named the $105,000-a-year communications director for the state Senate’s IDC. Jennifer Rainville, the former NY1 reporter who became entangled in the scandal involving former Channel 2 anchorman Rob Morrison, has a sweet new government job. “Jennifer Rainville is an experienced political and media mind with a "Talent" for communications and media strategy,” Klein said in a press release. “I am delighted that she has decided to expand her role.” *  Facing a potential primary, state Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein picked up an endorsement from Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum, the Daily News writes

    Will de Blasio's WFP's and Progressive's New Machine Go After the IDC's  Triangulation? 

    Savino to Koppell: Takes One To Know One(YNN)  * State Sen. Diane Savino defended IDC Leader Jeff Klein, saying that Klein’s potential primary opponent, Oliver Koppell, was hypocritical in saying Klein has declared war on Democrats, State of Politics writes: 

    Winds of War
    Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Dilan wants the five senators who make up the Independent Democratic Conference to be removed from the Democratic Party, and plans to call the party chairmen from their respective counties, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports: * Senate GOP leader vows to fight for city’s charter schools(NYP)
    Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said he was outraged at Mayor de Blasio’s decision to cancel classroom space for three Success Academy charter schools this fall, and vowed to address the plight of charter schools in budget talk* Westchester County legislator Virginia Perez said she has had conversations with Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, and is considering a primary run against Senate Democratic Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, The Journal News reports: 

    State Senator Martin Dilan thinks Tony Avella, Jeffrey Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and David Valesky “should all be disenrolled by the Democratic party” for being members of the Independent Democratic Conference, according to the Daily News. “You can’t run and get elected on the Democratic line, work with the opposing party on an agenda against what we put forward, and then run in the election as a Democrat,” he told the paper. “Let them run on the Republican line and see if they can get re-elected.” * WAKE-UP SCOOP: Governor Andrew Cuomo will headline Rep. Joe Crowley’s March 20 fund-raiser at the Dream Hotel, according to an invitation going out later today. Cuomo doesn’t lend his name to many fund-raisers, and Crowley is an interesting choice given his recent history opposing Bill de Blasio’s preferred candidate for Council speaker. The mayor and first lady both made separate appearances with Crowley in recent weeks, but Cuomo is putting his political imprimatur on Crowley in a way de Blasio, so far, hasn’t. See event details (without the Cuomo mention).

    Al Sharpton Backs Mayor's Charter School Plan, Blasts Eva Moskowitz For Albany Rally(NYDN) * Richmond County Democratic Committee Executive Director Kevin Elkins said the party remains “fully behind” Sen. Diane Savino, one of the five IDC members.* Stewart-Cousins may face Westchester Legislator Perez in primary(LoHud)


    Pre-K War of Threats

    Jeff Klein is Trying to Stop the WFP and de Blasio Machine From Helping Senate Democrats and Blowing Up his IDC-GOP Ruling Coalition

    Klein’s time to deliver, or not(Capital) Last week was not a good one for New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s push for a tax-funded pre-K expansion, or, by extension, for the proposal’s biggest champion in Albany, Jeff Klein.


    State Senate Math
    What Is a Majority Vote in the State Senate? The Answer Goes Beyond Simple Math(NYT)

    Pre-K War of Threats

    Jeff Klein is Trying to Stop the WFP and de Blasio Machine From Helping Senate Democrats and Blowing Up his IDC-GOP Ruling Coalition

    Rejecting NYC’s pre-K tax proposal could lead to statewide feud over taxes(NYDN) If the Legislature strikes down Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature plan, it could cause city lawmakers to retaliate by voting against other home rule actions sought by suburban and upstate communities, insiders say.* * The state Democratic Senate Campaign Committee paid off the last of $3.1 million in debt, setting up a debt-free fight from the Democrats for power in the Senate, the Daily News’ Ken Lovett reports:   * De Blasio’s urgency to expand pre-kindergarten is appropriate means getting serious about building quality programs, even if that means less snappy rhetoric, the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative’s Conor Williams writes in the Daily News: * IDC Leader Jeff Klein is hinting that dozens of requests from municipalities could be in jeopardy if the Legislature rejects de Blasio’s push to raise the city income tax on the wealthy to pay for a pre-K expansion.* Bill De Blasio Set To Unveil Ambitious Liberal Agenda(Huff Post)* NARAL Links Klein’s Support For Pre-K To WEA(YNN)   NARAL Pro-Choice New York applauded state Sen. Jeff Klein for supporting a tax increase to fund pre-K in New York City but questioned why he has not shown similar support for the 10-point Women’s Equality Act* Home Rule Silver: ‘Not Ready To Blow Up The State — Yet’Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wouldn’t say if he’ll back a wholesale change to how home rule legislation is acted up on in Albany. But he wouldn’t rule out holding up additional home rule measures pending before the Legislature this year if Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to increase taxes on the wealthy in New York City is blocked in the Legislature. * IDC Medical Marijuana State Sen. Diane Savino, a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, said her bill legalizing small amounts of medical marijuana “isn’t ready” until she has lined up the 32 votes needed, the Times Union reports:

     * Cuomo: "Property tax is one of the greatest problems that the state faces." Bigger than income tax * * State officials have quadrupled payments—to $55 million—to a Minnesota company hired through a no-bid, emergency contract to help manage the state’s Community Development Block Grant program over the summer, Newsday reports: * City economic leader 'perplexed' by Cuomo grants N.Y.C. panel chair says members seemed ambivalent about continuing for another year
    From DN's * Hammered by Gov. Cuomo and the liberal wing of the Democratic party in recent weeks for being too closely aligned with the Republicans, state Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx and his fellow breakaway Democrats are set to engage in a media blitz Monday touting their “Affordable NY” plan, which includes $750 million for middle class housing and six weeks paid maternity and family leave to workers. But many Democrats warn Klein and his crew could find themselves right back in the fire heading into next year’s elections if they can’t deliver.*
    No Spending Cuts, Cuomo Says(YNN) * QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There is no direct correlation between how much you spend and how much you accomplish. There’s a difference between performing and funding.” – Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the 2014-2015 budget process, via State of Politics. * Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he does not plan to cut spending in next year’s budget, even though he is calling for cuts to property, corporate and estate taxes, State of Politics writes: *Cuomo’s hopeful tax-cut math(Capital) Surplus isn’t as simple as a two-percent spending cap

    A Moreland WFP 1600 Re-election

    Will It Be Butchery Not Strategy That Wins This War For New York?
    In America's winner-take-all politics, New York is the new House of Cards (The Guardian) “Andrew Cuomo is the real Francis Underwood. He uses the leverage of power to gain more power.” They may not be out for blood, but the warring styles of Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio reveal a showdown of the moment. I wonder if House of Cards is doing for politicians what The Godfather did for the mob, giving elected officials a surer swagger and finer sense of self-appreciation when it comes to the nuances of their kill-or-be-killed game.* A new outside group, Balance New York, aims to assist the Senate Republicans in locking down the majority, serve as a counterweight to organized labor.* “The governor’s side of the coin is classic middle-of-the-road liberalism, weighted less by ideological verve than by the realities of power — Andrew Cuomo is the real Francis Underwood,” wrote The GuardiansMichael Wolff, who said on Twitter that the ruthless House of Cards comparison “is not to diminish Cuomo at all. AC is top of the game.”  * New York City Pre-K Supporters ‘Disappointed’ Budget Doesn’t Include Tax, Fully Fund State Program(YNN)
     How de Blasio Dances With Cuomo

    Will the Working Family Party Go After Cuomo's Governing IDC GOP Senate Coalition?

    The Winds of War
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo should have let the Working Families Party die in 2010 by rejecting their ballot line, but he didn’t, and now the party is as powerful as ever and could haunt Cuomo especially if he runs for President, Bill O’Reilly writes for Newsday: * CUOMO HIT FROM THE LEFTTimes Union's Rick Karlin: Writer and longtime activist Jonathan Kozol said he considers Gov. Andrew Cuomo a friend, but he was “utterly shocked” by the governor’s comments back in August that schools which are exhibiting poor academic performance should face a “death penalty.” … “Governor Andrew Cuomo has been kind and friendly to me for many many years as was his father,” Kozol told a rapt audience which had gathered for an anti-poverty conference sponsored by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy, a prominent Albany organization. But he added, “I was utterly shocked,” by the death penalty comments.
    Poll Asked Voters What They Think Gov. Cuomo's Moreland Commission Should Recommend
    NEW WATCHDOG? —Moreland Commission co-chair previews recommendations in interview —Capital’s Jessica Alaimo: In an interview with WRVO Syracuse, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick hinted the special panel to investigate public corruption might recommend a new entity to investigate election law complaints.
    Schneiderman: Moreland Commission Should Spur Public Financing(YNN)
    Squadron Latest Dem Lawmaker To Call For JCOPE Probe Of Cox

    Klien and Skelos Give Tax Break to Developer Friends
    A bill opposed by the Bloomberg administration last year that made it into this year’s state budget will provide millions of dollars worth of tax benefits to a Bronx condo complex built by a politically connected developer
    Late bill in state budget benefits Bronx condo complex(NYP) Tax benefits to a Bronx condo complex Harbor Pointe at Shorehaven Condominiums, built by a politically connected developer. Budget deal, was engineered in the state Senate by co-leader Jeff Klein, a Democrat whose district includes the complex.The same bill was introduced last year but didn’t make it through the Assembly after the Bloomberg administration warned it would cost taxpayers $17 million and set a dangerous precedent. But Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said the de Blasio administration signed off on the deal. The complex was constructed by the Beechwood Organization, which calls itself the largest residential developer on Long Island. Its president, Michael Dubb, was named to the board of the New York Racing Association by Long Island Republican Dean Skelos, the other co-leader of the state Senate. * * The developer of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar factory and the mayor together have a responsibility to ensure that all construction jobs for that project provide good wages, benefits and training, Terrence Moore of Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46 writes in the Daily News:  *De Blasio blindsided by Bronx condo’s tax break(NYP)
    Bronx Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, who sponsored the condo tax-break bill, told The Post he notified officials in the administration about it before it was passed.

    de Blasio A 4th Man in the An Albany Room

    Winds of War On A State Tax Fight
    Cuomo is weighing cutting more than $1 billion in taxes, per recommendations from his tax commission co-chairman George Pataki, though Pataki’s plan to slash personal income taxes has delayed the release of the report, The Wall Street Journal writes * Sheldon Silver, the survivor, is setting himself up as the de Blasio-aligned counterweight to Andrew Cuomo Silver time?(Capital)* Cuomo Tax Commission Considers $1 Billion in Cuts (WSJ)* Skelos Wants ‘Broad-Based’ Tax Relief Proposals(YNN) * NY Has A Long Way To Go On Universal Pre-K(YNN) * * Thirty-eight New York State lawmakers, including state Senators Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, signed a letter to members of Congress asking them to prioritize pre-kindergarten funding in budget negotiations, Capital New York writes: *Nassau's Jay Jacobs on Bill de Blasio's inaugural committee via

    IDC Tries to Survive
    Progressives and NYPIRG Sending Cuomo A Message
    IDC Jeff Klein Does 180 Supports Pre-K Tax 
    Retail Workers Union Asks Moreland Commission To Probe Senate GOP(NYDN)
     Warning shot at IDC, via @TheRevAl: just to call yourself independent is of no value. #peoplespriorities * Democratic legislators move to take @deBlasioNYC's message of inequality statewide: at a rally, @KarimCamara laments "a tale of two states." * NYPIRG Wants Ethics Probe Of Political Parties * NYPIRG Wants State Ethics Agency To Get Tough On Lobbying By Politi...(NYDN) * QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “There is little doubt that certain political parties have engaged in lobbying as defined under the law. We urge the commission to review lobbying spending by all political parties, issue a formal opinion holding that such activities trigger registration and reporting requirements under the law where appropriate, and direct that these committees register as lobbying entities, report their activities, and ensure that they comply with other provisions of the lobbying law.” – NYPIRG, in a complaint to JCOPE, via Gannett Albany.* The Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus outlined their legislative agenda.* The Rev. Al Sharpton on the Senate IDC: “There is a difference between co-option and coalition.”* State Senate co-Leader Jeff Klein said that he wants Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to succeed and indicated he will help shepherd de Blasio’s tax i ncrease on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-K programs through the Senate, NY1 reports: * IDC member Diane Savino thinks there’s “almost no chance” of de Blasio’s plan to tax rich NYC residents not passing next year, but her Republican colleague, Sen. Andrew Lanza, disagrees.
    IDC GOP Senate Coalition

    Breakaway Democrats Trying to Unseat Toby Stavisky(NYO) A source with direct knowledge of the Independent Democratic Conference’s plans freely admitted the efforts to Politicker this afternoon. Ms. Stavisky represents Flushing, the sole Asian-majority district in the State Senate, which factored into the IDC’s thinking. “The district was created to give Asian-Americans a greater voice in government,” said the source, arguing that changing demographics had made her vulnerable.* Senator Gianaris Happy to See Mayor Bloomberg’s Money Leave Albany(NYO)  * The state Conservative Party is pressuring Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos to back a term limit pledge that would allow only four two-year terms in the state Legislature, Gannett Albany writes: 

    Walmart Funding Senate GOP
    Walmart poured $425,000 into state Senate Republicans’ campaign coffers since the start of 2010, including a $100,000 donation in March, as Republicans were pushing for a controversial tax credit that would have benefited WalmartWalmart, State Senate Republicans under fire for campaign donations(NYDN)

    IDC's Klein Needs Housekeeping Reforms to Get Reelected
    Senator Klein whose IDC keeps the democrats (in the majority) in the senate out of power, faces a primary challenge in 2014.  The reason he supports these reforms to the housekeeping accounts is to stop the democrats from using the millions they raise in a campaign against him and his coalition.  The NYSDC soft money account raised $5.9 million in the first half of 2013, already the largest sum ever raised by a soft money account in a single year.  Klein said, “If we're going to do campaign finance reform, and really level the playing field, we can to take big money out of politics.   In 2010 alone, the DSCC reported paying campaign consultant/lobbyist Even Stavisky's Parkside $2.2 million. Other consultants who have gotten big money from the DSCC include Hank Sheinkopf and Red Horse.  The Subpoenas makes it clear that the Moreland Commission understand that big money and the campaign consultants/Lobbyists Monopoly has caused the pay to play cancer in Albany.  This year it became clear that the millions pumped in Independent Expenditure PACS  has Metastasized Corruption in City Hall and Albany. New Yorkers deserve to know from the Moreland Commission what $98 million in housekeeper accounts buys for Bloomberg, Verizon, SEIU 1199, Wal-Mart and others. 

    Ex-AG Koppell may challenge Jeff Klein(cRAINSny)


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