Come out, come out if you can for our "Clean Up Albany with Clean Money Clean Elections Campaign Finance Reform-- Not Lip Service" press conference tomorrow (Monday July 12th) at 12:30 pm in front of the NYS Attorney General's offices in Poughkeepsie at 235 Main Street!...
[yes, Lazio would be worse-- but Cuomo has auctioned off AG's office; see articles below meticulously documenting this!]
Fact: 74% of New Yorkers agree: New York should delay no longer for Clean Money Clean Elections.
Recent survey of 770 likely voters from across NY-- see Irene Miller's http://CleanUpElections.com ; http://www.FairElectionsNow.org ; http://www.CitizenActionNY.org ; http://www.PubliCampaign.org ;
http://citizenactionny.org/2009/05/new-yorkers-pay-when-big-money-plays-the-case-for-public-financing-of-elections/739 ; Brian Keeler, many others have pushed for CMCE for last decade; even back in Oct. 2000 Zogby found that 70% of NY'ers across political spectrum support Clean Money Clean Elections; recall 2006 gubernatorial campaign-- CMCE reform was big priority for both Spitzer and Paterson...
Sorry Mr. Cuomo-- politicians running for office talking about pay to play should follow their own advice...
I for one can no longer look other way and pretend Cuomo isn't a hypocrite on this crucial issue...
Go to http://www.AndrewCuomo.com , read his "reform" agenda-- it does NOT include Clean Money Clean Elections campaign finances reform; I've led the effort in Dutchess County for ten years for CMCE reform, and led the local effort since the mid-90's for county-level campaign finance reform, having exhaustively documented legalized kicbacks-- http://www.petitiononline.com/cleangov .
[10 years ago I was in NYC w/Citizen Action, David Paterson, Alec Baldwin kicking off CMCE effort.]
Recall these three on Cuomo hypocrisy (we deserve better, folks):
"Cuomo Accepts Millions from Special Interests He Assails" by Kovaleski, Palmer [NY Times 6/23/10]
"Cuomo Took Cash from Lawyers with Matters Before Him" by Sandler, Freifeld [Bloomberg 11/23/09]
"Time To Reform Campaign Finance?" by Andrew Beam [Legislative Gazette 6/21/10]
[note-- for info re: press conference tomorrow scroll down-- or click on this link for Facebook event info:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135762456446835&ref=search (folks registered to attend include Cliff Gardner, Bruce Allison, Carl Robert Freitag, et. al.; scroll down for more info re: tomorrow!)]
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From Irene Miller's http://www.CleanUpElections.com -- everything you need to know about CMCE:
More choices for voters! Less money from special interests!
It's time to clean up the money!
* For contributions of $930,000, the insurance industry won tax breaks worth $231 million.
* For $1.9 million the banking and securities industry won tax breaks worth well over $100 million---along with freedom from most state regulations and avoidance of any new regulations on privacy or suspicious loan practices
* Auto-dealer PACs gave about $100,000 and won franchise protection worth tens of millions.
* Oil heat dealers gave less than $100,000 and got $12 million in tax breaks.
* The beer industry gave around $200,000 and got $8 million in tax breaks.
Where do ordinary citizens stand in this market with "our" elected officials? On the outside, hoping we'll be heard above the din of those buying political influence!
HOW CLEAN ELECTIONS WORKS
Clean Elections is full and equal public funding of all qualified candidates who refuse private contributions and abide by spending limits. In keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Buckley vs Valeo, which basically says money is equal to speech, Clean Elections is a voluntary system. Those who choose not to participate are free to opt out. If they opt out, they cannot have any public funds.
Clean Election candidates qualify for public funding by demonstrating community support before the primary. They do this by collecting a certain number of $5 contributions from individuals in their own district. Once qualified, they do not have to raise another cent. They can spend all their campaign time communicating with the voters. Clean Elections would cost New Yorkers about $3 each per election cycle. In return, the billions that now go to tax breaks and subsidies for big contributors could be available for healthcare, education and schools, the environment, fire and police departments, infrastructure such as roads and bridges, etc.
Although the bill has been introduced in both the Senate and Assembly, very few New Yorkers know about it because the media have virtually ignored it. Once the people are informed, we are certain they will demand its passage because they know big campaign contributors trump the will of the people.
Clean Money, Clean Elections Poll Shows Strong Public Support
Zogby International did a poll of 770 likely voters in New York in early April, commissioned by the Public Policy and Education Fund of New York. The poll asked New Yorkers about a specific proposal for public financing of election campaigns in New York (the proposal is known as Clean Elections; however the name was not used in the poll). The poll also asked about New Yorkers attitude toward state legislators. The questions in the poll were not "messaged;" that is, the questions were either straight-forward descriptions of the public financing proposal or balanced arguments for and against the proposal.
- The poll found very strong support for the public financing proposal, with 74% in favor, including 45% strongly in favor and 22% opposed (13% strongly). Upstate, suburban and independent voters were most supportive.
The text of the proposal read:
Under a new proposal, New York State candidates would no longer raise money from private sources, other than contributions of $5 to $100 from NY voters. Instead, each candidate would receive a set amount of money from a publicly financed election fund. Spending by candidates would be limited to the amount they receive from the fund, and they would have to follow regular financial reporting requirements.
- When given a choice between strong arguments against the proposal ("will only lead to higher taxes and force cutbacks in important programs like education and health care; welfare for politicians; taxpayers shouldn't be paying for fringe candidates or negative campaign ads; a waste of our tax money") and arguments for the proposal, voters said they agreed more with the pro-proposal arguments by margins of 22% to 34%.
- After hearing strong arguments for and against the proposal, the margin of support for the proposal increased to 79% for and 18% opposed.
Voters are strongly supportive of:
- Candidates agreeing to limit spending - 83% support including 59% strongly;
- Candidates agree to limit the size of contributions - 80% support including 59% strongly;
- Candidates receive limited and equal amount of public funds - 73% support including 56% strongly.
Most voters (59%) believe that state legislators are not doing what is right for residents of New York.
- Half of voters (49%) say that if the proposal were to become law it would increase their trust in state legislators. 44% say it would make no difference.
- Most voters (58%) believe that state legislators listen more to campaign contributors than to the concerns of voters in their districts.
- Three-out-of-four voters (74%) believe that the proposal would make it more likely that state legislators put the concerns of voters before that of lobbyists and campaign contributors.
New Yorkers support clean elections ...
In a new poll, New Yorkers of all political stripes show overwhelming support for public financing of elections for statewide and legislative offices, even in tough times for the State budget.
Ever wonder why good jobs go overseas, global warming is ignored, war trumps peace, our civil liberties are going down the drain, hackable voting machines are the rage, or why our healthcare is in crisis? They are all connected to private funding of political campaigns.
Clean Elections, with full public funding of campaigns, can clean up this mess by giving political power to voters, not campaign contributors. Pie in the sky? Not at all. Over the last 10 years, Maine and Arizona have proved Clean Elections works very well. More than 40 states are following their lead with grassroots movements for Clean Elections. And bills for full funding of campaigns have been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House.
But don't look to the mainstream media for information or help. They need to keep the status quo to buy up more and more newspapers, TV, and radio stations. You need other sources to learn what's happening, which is what this site is all about.
It's time for all of us to be very angry about money's control over politics. But just feeling angry is hopeless. Turn your anger into action! Join the fight that Americans all across the country are fighting. Full public funding of campaigns must be won if we are to take America back from the money that now determines who runs for office, who wins, and whose interest is served.
American Association of University Women Passes Clean Elections Resolution
A resolution urging New York State legislators to enact Clean Money Clean Elections was passed overwhelmingly by the NY State wing of the American Association of University Women. Presented at the AAUW convention by Irene Miller, who is a member of AAUW and CANY, the resolution provided a concept of campaign finance reform that many AAUW members had never heard of before. Initially, some opposed the resolution. But after Miller explained what CE is, the typical reaction was, "It's fundamental to gaining AAUW's goals because it would permit women to run strong races without having to fundraise." Passing this resolution was very impressive in that: 1) AAUW has 44 branches across the state. 2) It shows that when people understand what CE is and how it differs from partial public funding of campaigns, they want it.
Many left the convention resolved to help pass Clean Elections. A good example is Rose Ann Palmer of AAUW's Garden City branch. Within days, Palmer along with her branch's current, past, and future presidents and the public policy chair were in the office of Assemblyman Tom McKevitt to bring him the good news that AAUW would be working to free him and other legislators from the burden of raising campaign funds. Following that meeting an article was sent to the Garden City Press describing the meeting with the Assemblyman, how well Clean Elections is working in states that already have it, and what needs to be done to pass it. All of which shows that "citizen action" does pay off.
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From http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/nyregion/24cuomo.html ...
Cuomo Accepts Millions From Interests He Assails
By SERGE F. KOVALESKI and GRIFFIN PALMER
Published: June 23, 2010
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, declaring his candidacy for governor of New York, could not have been clearer.
"The influence of lobbyists and their special interests must be drastically reduced with new contribution limits," Mr. Cuomo said last month. "We will be taking on very powerful special interests which have much to lose. We must change systems and cultures long in the making."
But as he delivered his announcement, Mr. Cuomo was sitting on millions in campaign cash from the very special interests whose influence he said he wanted to limit.
In the spirit of reform, Mr. Cuomo pledged in 2007 not to accept donations over $10,000 from most categories of contributors during an election cycle. But he did not stick to that vow and has at times received amounts five times as great.
The donations underscore the awkwardness of Mr. Cuomo's effort to run against Albany and its insiders at the same time he is benefiting from their largess and, in some cases, his long relationships with them. He drew a similar proportion of his campaign money from special interests in his failed 2002 campaign for governor and his 2006 bid for attorney general.
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Time to reform campaign finance?
By Andrew Beam
June 21, 2010
Armed with lists of top donors and top earners, the New York Public Interest Research Group has released results of a 13-month study on contributions made by New York's top lobbying firms, which spent a total of $2.2 million in that time period.
The study revealed firms such as Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman and Dicker and Brown, McMahon and Weinraub LLC spent $274,160 and $199,585 respectively on candidates such as Andrew Cuomo, who took in $320,540.29 from lobbyist donations.
Blair Horner, NYPIRG's legislative director, asked for New York to implement restrictions on campaign contributions that would include lower limits for lobbyists, which the organization wants to see capped at $250 per candidate per election, and only allowing them to donate to the legislator representing their district.
The good-government group also wants a restriction on bundling campaign contributions, which is the pooling of campaign contributions collected by one person from several individuals.
"We want lobbyists to be measured by the depth of their knowledge of the issues," Horner said, "not by the width of their checkbooks."
Horner said 31 states have laws either limiting campaign contributions or banning them altogether. He wants New York to become the 32nd.
"We think it's an unseemly scene in Albany where lobbyists who are asking for favors during the day are then forking over money to those same elected officials at night," he said. "We think that system should change."
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Some of the media coverage so far...
My interview Weds. July 7 with Liz Benjamin on YNN's "Capital Tonight" (statewide television show)
"Tyner Wraps Walk from New York City to Albany" [with pic on front page of yesterday's Daily Freeman]
"A Run-- Or Walk-- for Office" by John Mason [front page of this past Tuesday's Register Star]
"Cuomo Challenger Joel Tyner Hikes to Albany, urging millionaires tax" [Journal News June 30th]
http://www.lohud.com/article/20100630/NEWS05/6300324/-1/newsfront/Cuomo-challenger-Joel-Tyner-hikes-to-Albany--urging-millionaires-tax [Journal News is Gannett daily for Westchester, Putnam, etc.]
"End Game" by Celeste Katz [Daily News July 7th]
"Making a Point Is Hard-- and Blister-Inducing" [Albany Times Union Jimmy Vielkind July 7th]
"Running for Gov. No Walk in the Park for Tyner" by Patricia Doxsey [DailyFreeman July 3rd]
"Tyner Completes New York to Albany Walk" [MidHudsonNews July 7th]
"Tyner 'Walking for Governor' Reaches Albany Today: Poll Shows 4-to-1 Public Support for Millionaires Tax" by Ron Deutsch of http://www.ABetterChoiceforNY.org
[also interviewed in Yorktown Examiner, Rivertowns Enterprise, Putnam County News and Recorder; also see this article from NY Daily News June 27th-- almost half of article on Cuomo on Tyner: http://assets.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/06/27/2010-06-27_team_cuomo_rallies_on_familiar_refrain_change.html ]
"Tyner Plans 150 Mile Walk To Promote Campaign" [WAMC 6/8/10]
"Tyner Walking for His Candidacy" by Jimmy Vielkind [Albany Times-Union]
"Challengers Take On Established Democrats" by Nicholas Reisman [Rochester Democrat & Chronicle]
"Tyner Challenging Cuomo for Governor" [Poughkeepsie Journal 5/28/10]
"Dutchess Legislator Tyner to Run for Governor" [Daily Freeman 5/26/10]
"Tyner Takes On HydroFracking" [WAMC Northeast Public Radio yesterday]
"Candidate Tyner Takes To the Road Over Hydrofracking" [MidHudsonNews.com yesterday]
"Gubernatorial Candidate Set to Walk for Water" by Tom Grace [The Daily Star Tuesday]
Your News Now TV network has covered Joel's campaign extensively all over the state
http://elmira-corning.ynn.com/ ; http://twitter.com/ynnalbany ; http://binghamton.ynn.com/ ;
"Tyner To Run for Governor" [MidHudsonNews.com 5/26/10]
"Working Class Water Supply Threatened by Business Interests" [Huffington Post 6/20/10]
"A Progressive for New York?" by Douglas Smyth [Daily Kos 6/4/10]
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From http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=a0OvxJSr7EbU ...
Cuomo Took Cash From Lawyers With Matters Before Him
By Linda Sandler and Karen Freifeld
Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's campaign fund took tens of thousands of dollars from law firms representing clients his office investigated or accused of wrongdoing, state records show.
Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, a New York law firm led by David Boies, gave Cuomo $35,000 this year, records show. The firm represents former American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Maurice "Hank" Greenberg in a civil fraud case the attorney general is pursuing. Lawyers defending Dell Inc., Deutsche Bank AG and a former state political party chief in Cuomo cases also contributed to him, records show.
Cuomo's donation forms ask contributors to sign a statement saying they have no "matter" pending with him. That rule "does not extend to attorneys representing persons or entities with matters before the NYS Attorney General's office," the form states, mirroring predecessors' policies. The exception creates the appearance of impropriety, ethics experts said.
"If Cuomo doesn't want to accept contributions that have the appearance of being corrupting, then he would need to include those attorneys as well," said Allison Hayward, a former Federal Election Commission chief of staff and counsel who teaches legal ethics at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.
Middlemen, such as lawyers, are sometimes seen as a bigger threat to an official's integrity than their clients, because "they are working the political system for a profession, and the public sees them as insincere and manipulative," she said.
About $1 Million
Cuomo in 2006 and 2008 raised about $1 million from lawyers and lobbyists in the U.S., out of a total $18 million gathered in those years, according to FollowTheMoney.org, the Web site of the nonprofit National Institute on Money in State Politics, which analyzes campaign funding. For his fund "Andrew Cuomo 2010" he raised more than $10 million as of July, according to records at the New York State Board of Elections. By the next filing due mid-January, Cuomo, 51, plans to have $20 million in donations and plans to run for governor, said a person familiar with his plans.
By now, 'Andrew Cuomo 2010'' has $16 million to challenge fellow Democrat, Governor David Paterson, said another person familiar with his plans.
If Cuomo were to reject lawyer donations to avoid any appearance of conflict, he could still raise enough for "a credible campaign," said Ronald Michaelson, a former national chairman of the Council of Governmental Ethics Laws who teaches at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
"Even if he's going to use the money in a gubernatorial race, he would still be the attorney general," Michaelson said in an e-mail. "The perception of impropriety is obviously clear, and that's reason enough to refuse the money."
The American Bar Association "Model Rules" for lawyers, which don't address attorneys general, prohibit donations made for the purpose of getting hired by judges and other government officials. Cuomo, who doesn't hire outside lawyers, abides by that principle, Bamberger said.
Except for donations made to win jobs, the commentary to the ABA rule says, "Lawyers have a right to participate fully in the political process, which includes making and soliciting political contributions to candidates for judicial and other public office."
New York State rules for attorneys allow contributions to judges or public officials as long as the recipient is allowed to accept gifts.
Eliot Spitzer, attorney general from 1999 to 2006, took lawyer donations too from those with cases before him. Boies gave him $15,000 and the Boies Schiller firm gave $10,000 in 2004, according to state records.
"Candidates in New York State for district attorney, judge, attorneys general, and all other offices have operated under the very same rules for decades," Bamberger said.
Spitzer, who resigned as New York State governor amid a call-girl scandal in March 2008, declined to comment.
Peter Harvey, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, who attended a Nov. 18 lawyer fundraiser for Cuomo and has been a supporter since Cuomo ran for attorney general, said that supporting the attorney general means "you get a meeting."
"You get an opportunity to communicate your thoughts but that doesn't mean the person listening is going to agree with you," said Harvey, New Jersey's former attorney general. In fact, he said, "because you are a supporter they will be careful not to give you any special treatment" so they can't be accused of anything.
Cuomo's campaign chest is being swelled by lawyer donations and pledges from recent fundraisers including a Nov. 12 event at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and the Nov. 18 lawyers breakfast, held at New York's Sheraton Hotel with a requested $1,000 minimum donation.
Maria Vullo of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP, co-chair of the "Lawyers Committee for Andrew Cuomo," said about 200 people attended the Nov. 18 breakfast, exceeding the target in a non-election year for Cuomo. The attorney general spoke about "integrity" in state government, she said.
Sponsoring firms at the event included Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP.
Cuomo's case against Greenberg, inherited from Spitzer, is pending in New York state court. Greenberg, pushed out by AIG's board during a 2005 probe by Spitzer, asked a judge in September to dismiss the suit, which accused him of distorting the company's financial condition.
If the case isn't dismissed, Cuomo could still drop or settle it, both of which would benefit Boies. Boies, who represented the U.S. Justice Department in a successful antitrust case against Microsoft Corp. and former Vice President Al Gore in a court fight to recount Florida votes in the 2000 presidential election, didn't respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment. Spokeswoman Dawn Schneider declined to comment.
New York-based Kramer Levin & Frankel LLP gave Cuomo $33,459 in 2005 and 2006 for his successful attorney general race, records show. This year at least 21 Kramer Levin partners gave Cuomo amounts of $100 to $500 each on June 3, according to state Board of Elections data.
Kramer Levin Co-Chair Gary Naftalis is representing former New York Liberal Party Chairman Raymond Harding, who pleaded guilty Oct. 6 to wrongfully taking $800,000 from investment firms that sought access to New York public pension fund money.
Since 2007, Cuomo has been investigating kickbacks at the $116.5 billion state fund. Harding, who agreed to cooperate with Cuomo, eventually will be allowed to withdraw his felony plea, the judge handling the case said in court.
"Our firm, like many other law firms, makes contributions to candidates whose policies we support," said Kramer Levin Managing Partner Paul Pearlman in an e-mailed statement. "All our contributions are vetted to insure that they comply with all applicable ethical and legal standards. These contributions are not intended to have any impact whatsoever on client matters involving regulatory bodies."
Cuomo in 2007 sued Dell, the third-biggest personal- computer seller, accusing it of deceptively advertising financing and warranties. The company committed to pay $4 million in restitution and penalties, Cuomo said in a Sept. 15 release. Featherstonhaugh Wiley & Clyne LLP, Dell's local counsel in Albany, New York, gave Cuomo $18,000 in 2008 and 2009, state records show.
Name partner James Featherstonhaugh said he hasn't noticed that his donations helped clients. He failed this year to win money for a client who had a ski accident at a state-owned resort that Cuomo's office defended, Featherstonhaugh said.
"I contributed because I have known him since he was 20, am an old friend of his father's, and his brother Chris used to work for me as an intern," Featherstonhaugh said. Cuomo's father Mario is a former Governor of New York.
Cuomo's campaign, according to state records, took $2,500 on Dec. 15 from Philadelphia-based Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, which represented Deutsche Bank as Cuomo probed banks that allegedly underrated the risks of auction-rate securities.
Settling with Cuomo, the Frankfurt-based lender agreed to pay $15 million in penalties to state regulators, Cuomo said in August. It was one of a series of deals that made banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co., return $61 billion to investors who bought illiquid securities after being told they were safe, Cuomo estimated in July.
Morgan Lewis Chairman Francis Milone didn't respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Chicago-based Mayer Brown LLP, which represented TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. in Cuomo's auction-rate securities probe, gave the attorney general $2,000 on May 4, according to state records. The Omaha, Nebraska-based online brokerage agreed in July to buy back $456 million of the illiquid investments from customers, Cuomo said in a July 20 release.
A Mayer Brown spokesman declined to comment or be named. Mayer Brown partner Lynn Neils, who attended the Sheraton fundraiser, said on Nov. 18, "I think he would make a great governor if he decides to run."
In a September settlement with Cuomo, Philadelphia-based life insurer Coventry First LLC said it agreed to pay the state $10.5 million to end a lawsuit originally filed by Spitzer in 2006 that alleged it had defrauded policy holders.
Los Angeles-based O'Melveny & Meyers LLP, Coventry's law firm, gave Cuomo $7,500 on May 10, 2006, through a political action committee, according to state data.