Former Mayor Ed Koch is pushing candidates for state and federal offices in New York to sign onto a pledge saying they support non-partisan re-districting, expanded ethics rules and a state budget crafted by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
He’s also open to supporting another reform issue that’s being pushed by Mayor Bloomberg: non-partisan elections.
When I asked if he supports the measure, Koch said, “Up to now I have not, but I’m considering changing my position. Most of the large cities in the country do have a non-partisan elections.”
“There would no longer be primaries, anyone running for mayor,” he said, “you could identify yourself as Democrat or Republican if you wanted to.”
Turning the focus back to Albany, Koch reiterated his position that Senate Democrats will lose control of that part of the state legislature since most of them have not signed on to his reform pledge.
Koch has singled out the Democratic leaders of both chambers, Speaker Sheldon Silver in the Assembly and Conference Leader John Sampson in the State Senate, as “enemies of reform,” for refusing to sign the pledge.
But neither of them face Democratic primary challengers, nor any real general election opponent.
Koch said Silver and Sampson will get re-elected, “but they can be thrown out if the membership changes in the house that elects them.”
So, who would Koch like to see as the new Assembly Speaker and Conference Leader?
“I’m not involved in that,” Koch said. “That’s not what my burden here is.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is going to be in Nassau County today, speaking about capping property tax growth at two percent or the rate of inflation.
Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio is sending out a statement about the Cordoba mosque.
The timing of Lazio's statement today, challenging Cuomo to "debate" the mosque issue, is an attempt to put Cuomo on the defensive while he's in Nassau County, among home-owners who, presumably, don't support the plan.
Diana Taylor: You can see the cartoon, Chuck Schumer with the Kirsten Gillibrand puppet, Michael Bloomberg with a Diana Taylor puppet. I can see that in the Post…I think don't that would have been fair to me. I don't know about Kirsten but that would not have been fair to me.
Taylor also says she could have beaten Gillibrand.
Taylor doesn't rule out a 2012 senate bid, or 2013 mayoral bid.
Gillibrand has an LGBT fund-raiser next week.
A defendant sued by Cuomo pushes back, saying the suit is motivated by Cuomo’s gubernatorial campaign. “This is an election-year move to capture voters in November."
Big real estate cozies up to Senate Democrats, notes Eliot Brown.
Paterson backs Rangel "100 percent."
Tomasky thinks Democrats should cut Rangel loose.
The Sunlight Foundation reminds us what the basic accusations against Rangel are.
Rangel opponent Vince Morgan: "Win or lose, I'll be running again in 2012."
Questions for Rangel, from a political cartoonist.
Gaskell looks at the WikiLeaks.
The Langworthy trial balloon is floated.
Giuliani’s old consultant, Mike Duhaime, is out of Malpass’s campaign.
Chris Hahn says despite trends, congressional races are “local affairs.”
If you haven’t already: read Chris Smith’s piece about Harlem.
Schneiderman and Bloomberg strike a deal to let the city keep towing cars.
And Rangel invokes Shirley Sherrod.
Kicking a political opponent off the ballot is a common, if unseemly, thing for campaigns to be publicly involved in. To most voters and observers it connotes a sense that archaic election rules are limiting voters choices, rather than letting issues and ideas be the deciding factor.
But, all's fair in primaries and mid-term elections.
Today, Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon's campaign announced they're challenging the petitions of John Tabacco, an Independence Party member who is trying to run for congress on the IP line. That's a line McMahon desparately needs in the Republican-leaning district, especially since the Working Families Party line is being denied him because he voted against Obama's health care reform bill.
In McMahon's announcement, he said 402 out of 678 signatures collected by Tabacco were invalid.
To deal with the possible public-relations blowback, here's how McMahon explained the move:
“Out of respect for Mr. Tabacco’s efforts to run for this seat, I welcomed the opportunity to sit down with him to discuss any issues he had with me running on the Independence Party line. It was my goal to see if we could find some common ground in this race or in the future. However, I do believe that it is the obligation of every candidate for elective office to meet the minimum basic requirements established by law for campaign filings and I don’t feel they have been met in Mr. Tabacco’s case. I do, however, look forward to working with him on our issues of shared concern that affect the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn."
The McMahon campaign is prepared in coming days for their hearing with the Board of Elections in anticipation of Mr. Tabacco being removed from the Independence Party line before the case is scheduled to appear in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Former Mayor Ed Koch is pressing his case against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Conference Leader John Sampson -- two Democratic legislative leaders who are among the handful of lawmakers to not sign Koch’s reform pledge.
On Fred Dicker’s show this morning, Koch recalled his conversation with Silver about non-partisan redistricting.
Koch: “He said let's dialogue. I haven’t heard from him since.”
Koch went on to warn that Senate Democrats are "going down to a defeat," in no small part because many of them have not signed onto his pledge.
Rangel: “Marci, you are such a professional, I don’t want to see you do this publicly to yourself.”
Kramer was trying to ask Rangel about his comment that he may face "more alleged violations" when a bi-partisan ethics panel releases their findings on Thursday.
This is mild, considering the treatment Luke Russert got last week from Rangel (which Rangel later apologized for).
Charlie Rangel held his third press conference in as many days, putting on an optimistic air about the ethics inquiry into him, the charges resulting from of which will be publicly released Thursday.
Before handing out scholarship awards to about a dozen local students, Rangel spoke to reporters in his Harlem office building:
“Well, we waited almost two years and they finally investigated and guess what? They have some more alleged violations.”
Rangel did not elaborate, but seemed to be refering to a number of alleged violations have been reported in the press but were not among the ones Rangel forwarded to Congress for review. They include abandoning a car in a congressional parking lot, getting a tax-break for a donor who gave money to a school he was fund-raising for, and receiving a tax break for those who make their primary residence in Washington.
When asked, Rangel said he did not feel “singled out” because of his race. He also rebuffed the premise of another reporters’ question who asked if the long-time congressman felt dismayed that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and outgoing Governor Paterson have not committed to attending his August 11th birthday fundraiser.
“I don’t believe what you’re saying is true, nor do I believe you have any evidence to substantiate that, based on my conversations with people during the weekend,” Rangel said. “Now, let's get on with it,” he said, referring to the distribution of scholarship awards.
Later, after a three-piece band struck up some uplifting jazz music and Rangel mingled with the recipients, he expressed optimism that his friends in the Democratic party will rally around him, despite press reports to the contrary.
Specifically, Rangel was asked about Senator Chuck Schumer seemingly expressing something less than full-throttled support for Rangel. In a statement released this weekend, a Schumer spokesperson is quoted as saying "The senator is going to give Congressman Rangel a chance to get his case out there before coming to any judgment."
“[Senator Charles] Schumer has been my buddy for many many years. And just because somebody can think of a question doesn’t mean that I’m going to respond to it,” Rangel said.
Chris Smith has a good point about the changing nature of Harlem, and its politics:
Rangel’s district was 63 percent black when he was first elected; today it’s 37 percent black and 46 percent Hispanic. “Bensonhurst ain’t Bensonhurst anymore, and guess what? Harlem ain’t Harlem anymore, either,” says the Reverend Al Sharpton, who made the neighborhood his base of operations twenty years ago and is still resented as an interloper by many of the clubhouse stalwarts. “But a lot of Harlem politicians are just trying to hold on to something that’s not there anymore,” Sharpton says. “Somebody that puts together the new blacks and the Latinos and the whites is going to be able to flip the whole Harlem leadership.”
Schumer’s campaign finance bill preserves a loophole the NRA could use.
Kornacki says Rangel survives. “The charges against him just aren't as serious.”
Donna Brazile says, “Mr. Rangel will do the right thing,” which is, “accepting responsibility.”
Schumer distances himself from Rangel.
A Democrat in Ohio called for Rangel to quit.
The probe into Rangel may vindicate…the New York Post.
Cuomo, who Haberman noets is “running on an anti-corruption message” is not saying anything about Rangel.
Tasini tries linking Rangel to “Speaker John Boehner.”
Republicans try hitting Gillibrand and Schumer with Rangel.
Fox News: “Republicans are poised to use Rangel's ethics issues as a weapon this fall leading up to the congressional elections.”
Cillizza hears Democrats complaining about Rangel.
Sonmez looks at Rangel’s busy calendar.
The trek to Rangel’s press conference was sorta pointless.
Cuomo reopens a probe into AIG.
Paterson tries calling the legislature back to Albany.
David King: “The legislature has gotten missing deadlines, and ignoring Paterson down to a science.”
NT2 rounds up today’s news.
And pictured above is Rangel, from his press conference in Harlem today.
“There is a social redeeming [benefit] in charging for fees because it would force people, you would think, to recycle more.”
Sort of like congestion pricing, but for garbage.
A few highlights from Rep. Rangel's brief press conference in Harlem this afternoon:
Reporter: Do you feel you did something wrong?
Rangel: "I wish feelings had something to do with the facts."
Reporter: Are you looking forward to this battle?
Rangel: "No. Hell, no."
Reporter: Message to voters?
Rangel: "I won't let you down."
There's no indication that Rep. Charlie Rangel is curtailing plans to seek re-election.
But, in case you were wondering...
Here's the list of the people that are on his Committee to Fill Vacancies, according to city Board of Elections officials. Should Rangel decide for some reason to not seek re-election (and create a vacancy on his nominating petitions), these are the people who would decide who would replace Rangel on the ballot.
James Capel: A long-time aide to Rangel and one of his closest advisors.
Inez E. Dickens: City Councilwoman, Democratic district leader, and close ally of Rangel.
Keith L.T. Wright: Assemblyman and newly-minted chairman of the New York County Democratic Organization.
Caroline Rowan: Identified here as a district leader.
Joan Paylo: Democratic operative who ran for judicial delegate and appeared on campaign literature with Rangel.
Maria Luna: Outspoken Rangel supporter.
Johnny Rivera: Aspiring politician and director of community outreach for Mt. Sinai.
UPDATE: Jerry Skurnik, a consultant with an encyclopedic knowledge of this sort of thing, emails to say, "It's too late for Rangel to be removed and replaced by the Committee on Vacancies unless he dies or moves out of NY State.
I'm not sure it's come to this just yet, but challenger Jonathan Tasini argues Rep. Charlie Rangel needs to end his re-election campaign in order to save the Democratic Party from losing control of Congress in the mid-term elections.
From Tasini's email to supporters this morning:
While Rep. Rangel still should be accorded the right to defend himself before a trial of a special subcommittee, the threat to the future of the Democratic Party, and the country, is today. Rep. Rangel will be, as I argued when I announced my candidacy for the 15th Congressional District, the face of Washington corruption in Republican advertising and campaigns across the nation--they already began to do so yesterday. Rep. Rangel will likely cost the Democratic Party seats in the November election, if he is the nominee of the party--and, with the balance of power possibly decided by 2 or 3 seats, the incumbent’s refusal to step aside could be the difference.
Let us consider the consequences. Losing the House will install John Boehner as Speaker. Which will mean that workers will never see an increase in the minimum wage, tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations will be in vogue again, funding for the Afghanistan War will continue, and you can kiss goodbye any chance for climate change legislation.
For the sake of one man’s seat.
Our party must be clear--we must not allow even the hint of impropriety to be part of our ranks. The people, the voters, are sick and tired of dysfunction. They are fed up with corruption--real and moral. They want leaders who they can trust.
Rangel politely disagrees with this line of logic.
The AP says Charlie Rangel was willing to accept some of the allegations, but that didn’t satisfy the bi-partisan panel looking into his possible ethical violations.
WSJ: “Thursday's action by the investigators is similar to an indictment.”
Can Rangel defend himself against the charges? “You bet your sweet a—," Rangel said.
Charles Hurt says the advancement of the congressional probe means Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “done protecting him.”
NYT: “The reputation of the House will be at stake in the proceedings as much as the congressman’s standing before the ethics charges.”
Congressman Rangel responds to the news he's facing ethics charges:
I was notified today, two years after I requested an investigation, that the Ethics Committee will refer the allegations reviewed by an Investigations subcommittee to a subcommittee that will review the facts.
I am pleased that, at long last, sunshine will pierce the cloud of serious allegations that have been raised against me in the media.
I will be glad to respond to the allegations at such time as the Ethics Committee makes them public.
“Substantial reason to believe that Rep. Charlie Rangel may have violated House rules or other laws.”
WaPo: “The committee has concluded that Rangel violated House ethics rules and will release a public statement of violation next week.”
Rangel “charged” with “multiple ethics violations.”
The official letter.
Benjamin runs the headline: “Rangel will be Charged”
Kevin Wardally Tweets to me, “this letter does not charge Rangel with anything. Y can’t reporters read?”
Haberman says the organizational meeting to review the charges against Rangel “out to be a circus.”
NYT: “The case could end with a simple admonishment of Mr. Rangel, which is the most common action by the Standards Committee, or a more serious action, including even his expulsion from the House.”
New York Post plays the story big.
Bloomberg says Paladino won’t get elected.
What happened to the retirement incentive for state workers?
Scozzafava endorsed Cuomo.
And pictured above is Rangel.