Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Today on "The Capitol Pressroom":
President Obama has tapped Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to head up its official task force investigating misconduct in the banking industry that lead to the financial collapse on Wall Street. The AG joins us today to talk about the pros and cons of his new role, and we might throw a question his way about Danny Hakim’s article in the Times about Ben Lawsky.
Speaker Sheldon Silver has thrown his considerable political weight behind an increase in the minimum wage. The Speaker will be my guest to discuss the dueling political narratives which inevitably surround raising the minimum wage, and New York’s history of combating poverty.
And then we’ll be joined by a few people who are P.O.’d about redistricting: The first you've heard from before -- Senator Mike Gianaris D – Astoria is now warning that any deal the Senate is pushing for a constitutional amendment would create a lose-lose situation for the State of the New York.
And here’s one of the stories to come out of the Assembly’s redistricting efforts: Assemblyman Pete Lopez R - Schoharie just spent five months rebuilding the entire Village of Schoharie which was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene. If the new maps are adopted, the Village, where Lopez & his family live, will fall under Assemblymember Claudia Tenney’s jurisdiction. Tenney, R – Sylvan Beach, currently represents parts of Oswego and Oneida Counties. She testified at Monday’s LATFOR hearing in Albany that if the new maps are approved, her district would extend from Oneida County to the border of Connecticut – it would include parts of the following districts: Oneida, Otsego, Herkimer, Schoharie, Albany, Greene & Columbia.
For show archives, please visit The Capitol Bureau's website here.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Recap from It's a Free Country.
Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Eric Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General and co-chair of the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, talked about his appointment to co-chair the federal working group examining mortgage fraud.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
By Justin Krebs : IAFC Blogger
Since he was a State Senator, Schneiderman has been a reform-minded, good-government, left-leaning champion. In his race for Attorney General, he beat out a crowded primary field running as an unapologetic liberal
Monday, January 30, 2012
The New York state Attorney General said he sees his role on a new anti-mortgage fraud task force as a way to bring those firms that acted improperly to justice.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Point of clarity: The June 26 date so far only affects the federal election (i.e. for Congress). State legislators have to decide if they want to move their primary to June, instead of the September date. Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver warned of the danger of three primaries back in December.
It's a big win for Democratic legislators: Federal Judge Gary Sharpe has ruled the state's primary will be held on June 26. Republicans had argued the case for a date closer to the current September primary, specifically in August.
The decision doesn't affect the state's presidential primary date, which will be on April 24.
With little discussion of why he felt so, Judge Sharpe stated "the court concludes that the fourth Tuesday in June for the non-presidential primary is in the best interest of the State."
He went on to state:
However, this decision by no means precludes New York from reconciling their differences and selecting a different date, so long as the new date fully complies with UOCAVA. The court fully recognizes that a permanent primary date is best left to New York, but has acted as it must to preserve federally protected voting rights.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office had argued on the state's behalf. While not overtly calling for it, Schneiderman--a Democrat--suggested the June date would be better in the last set of documents provided to Sharpe:
The State therefore asks that the Court consider the attached submissions and the previous submissions made on behalf of the ECA, the State Assembly, the State Senate Minority leader, as well as various civic and civil rights groups – each of which sets forth grounds for holding the 2012 primary election in June.
The decision will only put more pressure on the redistricting process, which incumbents and challengers alike need finished to know which districts they'll be running in. The actual ruling is after the jump.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Federal and state law enforcement officials announced Friday that they have launched a fraud-fighting initiative to root out wrongdoing in the market for residential mortgage-backed securities.
Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference that bringing full enforcement resources to bear will help expose abuses and hold violators accountable.
Watch video of the press conference below
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Details of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's mortgage fraud unit appointment announced last night by President Barack Obama in his State of the Union address have begun to emerge.
The new unit that the AG will co-chair with senior officials in the IRS, SEC, and Department of Justice--will be charged with holding lawbreaking institutions accountable, provide relief and compensation to homeowners, and help close the book on the mortgage crisis.
The unit will be coordinated with DoJ's ongoing efforts, as well as state and local enforcement.
An official announcement on Schneiderman's appointment, held with US Attorney General Eric Holder, is rumored to be happening soon.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
President Barack Obama said during his State of the Union speech Tuesday that he will tap New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to help lead a new unit charged with investigating the cause of mortgage meltdown.
Friday, January 20, 2012
By Ilya Marritz
Some of the biggest U.S. banks are reportedly close to a settlement with authorities over practices related to the so-called robo-signing scandal, in which servicers sought to evict troubled borrowers using seriously flawed documentation. But there could be a snag: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a report today on what he described as a prescription drug abuse epidemic, calling on the legislature to pass his bill that would create a prescription drug tracking system for the state.
“The prescription drug abuse crisis in New York and across the country has reached epidemic proportions. Today’s report illustrates how this growing problem demands a better solution for both our health care providers and law enforcement officials to track the flow of potentially dangerous substances. Inaction is not an option,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
According to the report, the number of prescriptions for all narcotic painkillers has increased from 16.6 million in 2007 to nearly 22.5 million in 2010. A number of locations were highlighted for the growing problem they face, including Nassau County, where overdoses from painkillers more than tripled between 2004 and 2009.
Additionally, in the North Country region, the report says, prescription drug abuse rehab admissions have eclipsed heroine, cocaine and marijuana in some areas. Back here in the city, Staten Island remains the highest prescription-writing borough in the city, as well as the highest overdose borough in the city when it comes to prescription painkillers.
The Attorney General is calling for the passage of his bill, called the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (I-STOP), which would, according to the AG's office:
- requires the Department of Health to establish and maintain an online, real-time controlled substance reporting system to track the prescription and dispensing of controlled substances;
- requires practitioners to review a patient's controlled substance prescription history on the system prior to prescribing;
- requires practitioners or their agents to report a prescription for such controlled substances to the system at the time of issuance;
- requires pharmacists to review the system to confirm the person presenting such a prescription possesses a legitimate prescription prior to dispensing such substance; and
- requires pharmacists or their agents to report dispensation of such prescriptions.
“A statewide database that tracks the disbursement of prescription narcotics in real-time...would be a tremendous tool to help those of us in law enforcement and the medical community combat the scourge of prescription drug abuse,” Staten Island's district attorney, Dan Donovan, said in a statement.
The full report's after the jump.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Remember yesterday when we were talking about the Martin Act and how it's a huge tool for the AG's office to recoup funds from malfeasant banks? Well, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office just announced a claw back from Bank of New York Mellon for "manipulative trading of auction rate securities." The bank settled with the AG's office and will pay $1.3 million as part of the deal.
And now Schneiderman gets to sound like a financial Robocop:
"Today’s announcement sends a clear message that the manipulative trading of auction rate securities in New York will not be tolerated under any circumstances," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "My office will continue to protect the integrity of NY’s global financial markets at all costs."
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
In a ruling by the state’s highest court on December 20th, a major disagreement over one of the biggest tools the state’s Attorney General has in regulating Wall Street. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that New York’s Martin Law didn’t preempt private individuals from going after Wall Street firms that mismanaged or defrauded investors.
In a statement, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office called the decision "an important recognition that private lawsuits brought by harmed investors are compatible with our office's public enforcement role under the Martin Act."
But for those not plugged into the securities industry, the Martins Law is a Depression Era law unique to New York, that allows the state’s Attorney General broad powers to go after firms that swindled investors. In light of the 2007 Wall Street-created meltdown of the economy, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has taken the baton passed down from former AG Eliot Spitzer to use the previously unused law to go after big Wall Street firms.
The Court of Appeals decision settles a disagreement over how the Martin Act impacts private investors’ attempts to recoup funds they believe were inappropriately lost. Some state and federal courts had ruled that the act preempts investors from seeking damages because the facts of the case could be used by the Attorney General to make his or her own case.
Now, the two are separated and can happen concurrently: the Attorney General’s office can sue a firm for fraud and investors can also try to get back some of the money they invested, using the same facts to build their separate cases. No longer does the AG’s office have sole domain over pursuing firms thanks to the Martin Act.
This is partly what Queens Assemblyman Rory Lancman has been pushing for with a bi-partisan bill he has cosponsored with State Senator Tom Libous of Binghamton.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
State officials made their final pitches to the Federal judge in charge of deciding when the state's primary date could be next year. Judge Gary Sharpe has said he'll make a decision by next week.
The arguments weren't new from those proposing that the state return its primary election to the pre-1974 June date. Attorney General Eric Schniederman's office put a cover letter on arguments from Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the state's bipartisan Election Commissioners Association that June was superior to the August date favored by Senate (and other) Republicans.
The AG's office stated that it wasn't specifically arguing for a June date, but the direction of its statements make it clear they are clearly on the side of the June proponents:
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
By Brigid Bergin : Reporter
An aide to state Senator Shirley Huntley and one of the senator's housemates have pleaded not guilty to charges they stole more than $29,000 dollars in grant money intended for a New York City nonprofit founded by Huntley. Two others were also arraigned this morning in State Supreme Court in Nassau County.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Add another New York City elected official to the growing list of corruption-related activities. An aide, a person who "shares a residence with the senator" and two others were indicted by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today.
Patricia D. Savage, the president of the non-profit Parent Workshop, Inc. and an aide to Huntley's, and Lynn H. Smith, the organization's treasurer and house guest/roommate/something else of Huntley's, are accused of diverting approximately $29,950 in tax payer funds from the non-profit and in to their pockets. Two other individuals, David R. Gantt and Roger N. Scotland, are accused of "falsifying documents to cover up the theft once the investigation commenced," according to a statement from the AG's office.
"This personal profit-making scheme defrauded taxpayers, all the while depriving communities of much-needed funds. Now it's time to hold those behind it accountable," Schneiderman said in a statement. "The charges announced today send a strong message that those who abuse their positions to rip off taxpayers will be prosecuted."
The bust was part of a joint effort between the offices of Schneiderman and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (the other two state elected officials not named Cuomo) to combat public corruption.
"Taking money intended for families in need is unconscionable," DiNapoli was quoted saying. "Abuse and fraud will not be tolerated. By combining forces, my office and the Attorney General have exposed and are prosecuting this egregious theft of state funds which were intended for the public good."
Huntley herself was not charged of any wrong doing.
Monday, December 05, 2011
By Mirela Iverac : Reporter, WNYC News
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said on Sunday that she will introduce legislation this week to crack down on corrupt gun dealers with the goal of eliminating the flow of illegal guns into New York.
Friday, December 02, 2011
In a blow to Senate Republicans today, New York Supreme Court Judge Eugene Devine ruled that the law to have prisoners in state facilities be counted at their last known address prior to incarceration is, in fact, constitutionally legal. The ruling makes the likelihood of tens of thousands of prisoners being counted in downstate districts for redistricting purposes increasingly more likely.
The decision is after the jump at the end.
"Though inmates may be physically found in the location of their respective correctional facilities at the time the census is conducted, there is nothing in the record to indicate that such inmates have any actual permanency in these locations or have an intent to remain," Judge Devine said in his decision.
"Today's decision by Judge Devine is a victory for fundamental fairness and equal representation,” Attorney General Schneiderman, whose office argued in defense of the reallocation law, said in a statement. “As a lawmaker, I fought to end the practice of prison-based gerrymandering that distorted the democratic process and undermined the principle of ‘one person, one vote.’ This decision affirms and applies a fair standard to the drawing of state legislative districts and makes it easier for counties to do the same by providing them with an accurate data set.”
As I wrote when the case was first heard back in October, Judge Devine was asking tough questions of the defense:
The Senate Republican attorney David Lewis was not available for comment, but Senate staffer, who had spoken with Lewis, said the judge, Eugene Devine, did indeed have questions for the defense, interrupting their explanations to ask clarifying questions. The Republican source said the senate plaintiffs were taking this as a good sign, suggesting the judge might have found the reasoning suspect.
It appears Judge Devine was convinced that counting methods that were different from the census process or previous state methods passed muster.
In March 2010, [Census Bureau Director Robert] Groves stated that the Census Bureaus counts individuals as their "usual residence" and that, for inmates in particular, states were free to decide the manner in which prisoners were counted, namely, at the prisons, at their pre-incarceration addresses or altogether removed from "redistricting formulas," where residential information was unavailable.
Senate Democrats, who have the most to potentially gain in the process, are understandably pleased with the outcome. "The time for delay is over. The Senate Republicans and LATFOR must immediately comply with the law. Any further delay is an outrageous and illegal assault on Democracy," said Senate Democrats spokesperson Mike Murphy.
David Lewis, who argued the case for the defendants, said his clients planned to appeal. "We're looking to appeal directly to the [Federal] Court of Appeals because of the constitutional issue and the timing," he said.
Dale Ho, who argued the case on behalf of the NAACP, said he didn't expect a different result. "I think the appellate courts will understand that Judge Devine got this exactly right," he said.
Senate Republican took the decision in stride, with spokesman Scott Reif saying confidently in a statement, "We will review the judge's decision, but regardless of the final outcome of this lawsuit Republicans will expand our majority in the Senate next year."
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
By Karen DeWitt, New York Public Radio Capital Bureau Chief
The state’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, says a statewide undercover operation found blatant violations of the state’s law requiring background checks before the sale of a hand gun.
The AG says he sent undercover agents to six gun shows on Long Island and upstate. They posed as gun buyers with mental health or domestic violence issues, which under law are impediments to purchasing a hand gun. They found that despite disclosing those details, ten different gun dealers waived a background check and sold the agents a weapon.
“I frankly was surprised and disappointed at how easy it was,” said Schneiderman. “No matter how aggressively our investigators asserted the fact that they could not pass background checks.”
Schneiderman says under the law, those accused of illegally selling the guns can only be charged with a misdemeanor. He says he will soon propose a bill to stiffen those penalties and close other loopholes in the law.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Opponents of New York's same-sex marriage law say they're "grateful" that a state Supreme Court judge in the Finger Lakes region of the state has allowed their challenge to the law to go forward.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey are applauding the Delaware River Basin Commission's postponement of a meeting next week "to consider draft natural gas development regulations has been postponed to allow additional time for review by the five commission members," according to a statement by the agency. The draft hydrofracking regulations, which could have opened up further gas drilling in the Delaware River Basin, were scheduled to be voted on at the meeting.
Schneiderman had previously sent a letter to the agency opposing the draft regulations "lack the benefit of a full environmental impact study, which is required by law and dictated by common sense." He threatened to use "the full authority" of his office to stop the agency from moving forward. The AG had already filed a lawsuit, back in May, for what he said was its failure to commit to a full environmental review of the proposed regulations.
Today's postponement, he said, "further demonstrates that the proposed regulations for fracking in the Delaware River Basin are not ready to see the light of day."
"Without a full, fair and open review of the potential risks of fracking in the Basin, the public will continue to question the federal government’s ability to protect public health and environment," Schneiderman said.
Hinchey, who has also stated his previous opposition to the drilling process, said:
I am pleased that the Delaware River Basin Commission has followed through on my request to cancel a planned vote on the adoption of Natural Gas Development Regulations for the Delaware River Basin. The commission should not begin considering adoption of any final regulations until it conducts a comprehensive and cumulative environmental impact study. Without such a study, there is no guarantee that the DRBC's regulations would be sufficient to protect the Basin.
This post has been updated.