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Cuomo, minor parties role, Independence party corruption, implications and more

June 11, 2010

Minor parties playing role in Cuomo strategy

Democrat embraces one key endorsement, but looks away from a long time Democratic ally, for now.
By JIMMY VIELKIND, Capitol bureau
First published in print: Saturday, June 5, 2010
 ALBANY — Andrew Cuomo has already re-branded the Democratic Party in his image, and the gubernatorial candidate’s dominating influence will shake up the pecking order of the state’s minor parties at their conventions today.

 Cuomo will be formally endorsed today for governor by the Independence Party when it convenes this morning in Colonie.

Riding high in the polls and pushing a message of reform, Cuomo is keeping his distance from the Working Families Party. He is refusing to accept — for now — the party endorsement when it meets in Buffalo.

The labor-backed, left-leaning party has been a buttress for Democratic candidates, but it advocates higher taxes on the wealthy and is under federal investigation for co-mingling activities with a for-profit and non-profit arm.

“There are several open issues that need to be considered, including but not limited to an ongoing federal investigation as well as policy and procedural issues,” said Phil Singer, a Cuomo spokesman. “We will revisit the question in September at which time there will be more information available.”

As a result, Working Families Party leaders are expected to nominate a “placeholder” candidate — someone not widely known statewide — to appear on the ballot through the primary, and replace the person in September. Dan Levitan, a Working Families Party spokesman, said delegates would nominate “the best available candidate” and would revisit the decision “if the occasion arises.”

The stakes are higher for the two parties than for Cuomo: a political party appears automatically on the ballot only if its gubernatorial candidate gains 50,000 or more votes in the previous election.

Party order on the ballot is determined by the number of votes the party candidate receives. After the Democrats and Republicans, the Independence Party line appears on row C, and the Working Families on row E. So, in the words of Baruch College public affairs professor Doug Muzzio, “if they back the wrong candidate they’re screwed.”

Given his attempts to cast Democrats into a more fiscally conservative reform-focused-despite-presiding-over-scandal “New Democratic” party, it made political sense that Cuomo stood with Independence Party leaders before the Democratic convention began last month in Westchester County.

“This campaign is all about changing Albany,” Cuomo said in May, flanked by Independence Party chair Frank MacKay and other executive committee members for the announcement. Doing so would require a “new way” and a “network of support,” he said.

Independence Party leaders offer few details about why they were supporting Cuomo, beyond the major benefit of claiming the coattails of a popular candidate.

Cuomo thanks Indies–via conference call
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Somewhere up there, there’s a speaker phone.
COLONIE — Andrew Cuomo was designated as the Independence Party’s candidate for governor, and in a conference call, thanked the three dozen delegates who attended the 68-minute convention.

“I won’t let you down. I want you to know I’m excited for this upcoming election. I think the principles that founded the Independence Party are totally timely in this election,” Cuomo said. “It’s going to be about reform, reform, and reform. The moment for reform is now. The people are ready. Change comes to large systems when the stars line up and will accept change. I truly believe the stars are lined up and we’re going to have reform in the state of New York finally.”“The point that the Independence Party has always made is that reform is going to come from the people,” he continued. “This is going to be a different kind of campaign. It’s not about me, it’s about we.”

“The state needs what Andrew Cuomo is talking about,” Party Chairman Frank MacKay said later. (what’s that you say, blathering, empty repetitive rhetoric, unicorns and twinkling stars!)


Cuomo, mute and do nothing, your the AG, where have you been on this?

Indy Party Sought To Quash Grand Jury Subpoenas

June 11, 2010 

State Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay might try taking a little of his own advice.

MacKay told me earlier today that he would recommend the Oneida County Independence Party “cooperate however they can” with a local DA’s inquiry.

But his own party’s lawyer filed a motion to quash a grand jury subpoena connected with Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr.’s investigation into the $750,000 funneled through MacKay’s organization to longtime GOP (RINO) operative John Haggerty, who is now working for Paladino and his campaign. (Paladino when questioned by Jimmy Vielkind in a June 8th interview said “he also stood by John Haggerty” saying he’s a  “great man, he’s very knowledgeable and he’s been around this thing for a long, long time.” He said it was the “old politics.”)

Now you would think that Cuomo would be attacking this considering it involves the so called Republican Haggerty (who has actually played both sides of the fence) and now a Republican contender Paladino, however what is not mentioned is how Bloomberg is tied into all this and Cuomo isn’t crossing him, his money, and his support.


In a previous interview Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay, who said he has “no idea” about what’s going on with the local chapter, which is under investigation by the Oneida County DA.

“I don’t know anything about it,” MacKay told me. “I haven’t spoken to the chair about it. I think it’s a local issue…If there’s any investigation going on, I would suggest they cooperate however they can.”

It’s worth noting that Democratic Rep. Mike Arcuri used to be the Oneida County DA, back before he was elected to the House in 2006. The current DA’s probe focuses on Arcuri’s GOP opponent, Richard Hanna, who also ran againt the congressman in 2008.

MacKay has his own legal worries down in Manhattan, where DA Cy Vance Jr. is investigating the use of the state party in the 2009 mayor’s race as a passthrough for $750,000 worth of Mayor Bloomberg’s personal cash.

The money went to longtime GOP operative John Haggerty, who has reportedly rejected a plea deal that would require him to do up to a year behind bars.

Cuomo faces questions on Independence Party backing

Posted on 05/25/2010

Gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Cuomo won the backing of the state Independence Party on Tuesday – and promptly faced questions about the party’s spending in last year’s NYC mayoral race. (The implications are that he may be implicated in not properly investigating the matter.)

Just another example of NY money and influence, disfunction, corruption, and conspiracy.


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