Azi Paybarah

author of The Empire blog

Azi Paybarah appears in the following:

Cuomo Emphasizes Transparency and Accountability as He Takes Office

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Suffering from a competency, integrity and trust "deficit," Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to use public attention as a "silver bullet" to fix state government.


Cuomo's Probe: Obama's Former Car Czar Settles and Apologizes

Thursday, December 30, 2010


Steven Rattner, President Obama's car czar, agreed to pay $10 million in fines along with a five-year ban from working with pension funds in New York State as part of a pay-to-play investigation launched by Attorney General and governor-elect Andrew Cuomo.

It's the final piece of a year long investigation Cuomo says has recovered $170 million for the state, and introduced tougher rules for who can invest the state's money.

In his settlement with Cuomo, Rattner did not admit to wrongdoing but did apologize "if during the course of this process there is anything I did that may have made reaching this agreement more difficult."

Reaching the settlement with Rattner hasn't been easy.


How David Paterson Views David Paterson

Friday, December 17, 2010


David Paterson always had a plan. It just wasn’t to become Governor of New York.

Leading up to 2006, he was the top Democrat in the State Senate, and doing a surprisingly effective job chipping away at the Republican lead in that house.

Paterson, who was representing Harlem, did this by letting his affable nature mask his intense desire to wage strategic campaign fights against Republicans.

“If they had an event they had to go to and they wanted us to stop debating…I would always stop,” Paterson recalled in a recent interview. “I think it got them to take their eye off the campaign.”

Comments [5]

No Labels: Searching For A Moderate Alternative

Monday, December 13, 2010

A high-profile conference today in New York is drawing lots of big names and hoping to start a conversation about the role of moderates and Independents in the US political system. The No Labels organization’s stated mission is to get over party labels, push past ideological gridlock and "solve problems." WNYC’s Azi Paybarah reports from the conference, plus Congressmen Bruce Braley (D-IA), Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Joe Sestak (D-PA), as well as John Avlon, one of the founders of No Labels and the author of Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.

→ Read More And Join The Conversation At It's A Free Country

Mr. Incredible Goes to Washington: NYC's Michael Grimm

Friday, December 10, 2010


When Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January, it'll put New York City's delegation back into the minority and largely out of power. Except for Michael Grimm.

The 40 year-old former Marine and FBI agent will be the only Republican in the New York City delegation, making the freshman lawmaker the go-to guy for New York City's federal needs.

So who exactly is he?

Comments [1]

State Senator Parker Guilty of Assault on NY Post Photographer

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


A Brooklyn lawmaker was found guilty of assaulting a newspaper photographer, and could face up to a year in jail.

State Senator Kevin Parker was convicted today of two counts of criminal mischief for the May 2009 assault outside his home against a photographer working for the New York Post.

Comments [1]

Bloomberg and Sharpton Seek Changes to NY Election Rules

Monday, December 06, 2010


Michael Bloomberg and allies unveiled a slate of changes to state election laws that they say will make it easier to vote and help boost New York out of 47th place in the nation for the percentage of voter turnout.

Notably, in attendance was the Rev. Al Shaprton, who said the state was in the "dark ages" when it came to rules allowing citizens to vote. Shaprton's support here is important, since his absence from another Bloomberg initiative—the creation of non-partisan elections—helped kill it.

Among the changes the Bloomberg-Sharpton coalition are seeking include offering "no-excuse" absentee ballots, the creation of an early voting period, extending the deadline to register for or switch enrollment in a political party, and allowing ballots to be filled out outside of the polling station where they are deposited.

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Rangel Through Troubles: Defiant, Funny, Defiant

Friday, December 03, 2010


Rep. Charlie Rangel wasn't always defiant in the face of allegations he violated Congressional ethics rules. He was sometimes funny, too.

Comments [3]

House Censures Rangel for Ethics Violations

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Rep. Charlie Rangel was censured for violating 11 congressional ethics rules, the first time the House of Representatives took such a harsh step against one of their own, in decad...

Comments [2]

Courting Cuomo: How the AG Candidates Tried, and Failed, to Woo Andrew Cuomo

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Andrew Cuomo could have gotten the attorney general candidate he wanted, if only he had endorsed her.

That's the lesson from the post-election roundtable hosted by the New School yesterday, where aides to the six attorney general campaigns discussed their campaigns.

Blake Zeff, who worked on the winning campaign of Eric Schneiderman said they had internal polling numbers showing what the impact of a Cuomo endorsement would be on the race. "I would say somewhat hyperbolically, the poll showed us specifically that if Kathleen Rice got the Cuomo endorsement that we were done," he said. "She had so many advantages to begin with, the money not being the least, that [endorsement] would be nearly fatal to us."


Rangel Charts His Defense

Monday, November 29, 2010

Congressman Charlie Rangel is circulating a ten-point chart to colleagues, explaining why he shouldn't receive one of the harshest punishments for violating 11 Congressional ethics...


As Balloons Are Flattened, Parade-goers Say Thanks

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Watching Spiderman, Horton and Buzz Lightyear balloons float along the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade route is only part of the spectacle parade-goers were enjoying. After traveling from Herald Square to the Upper West Side, dozens of balloons were lowered to street level, and flattened. 


Behaving Badly in Congress: A History of Crime and Punishment

Friday, November 19, 2010


When Rep. Charlie Rangel took to the House floor on August 10, proclaiming his innocence amid a growing ethics probe, he told his colleagues, “If I was you, I may want me to go away too. I am not going away!”

When Congress formally censures Rangel, he won’t be able to.

House rules say “a ‘censure’ is a formal vote by the majority of Members present and voting on a resolution disapproving a Member’s conduct, with generally the additional requirement that the Member stand at the ‘well’ of the House chamber to receive a verbal rebuke and reading of the censure resolution by the Speaker of the House.”

Incorporating a public element to one’s punishment is not entirely new (just ask Marie Antoinette or The Scarlet Letter's Hester Prynne). But its purpose here is not entirely retributive. According to Congressional records, the other aim is to restore the public’s confidence after it has been weakened (or at least called into question) by a member’s behavior. Punishable offenses range from payroll fraud (Rep. Charles Diggs in 1979) to fighting in the Senate chambers (Senators Benjamin Tilman and John McLaurin in 1902).

Here’s a breakdown of Congressional violations since the creation of the House Ethics Committee 43 years ago, and how Rangel’s violations compare:


Rangel Apologizes for Embarrassing Colleagues, Chief Counsel Recommends Censure

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Updated 3:15pm

Nearly in tears, Rep. Charlie Rangel asked members of the ethics panel to treat him fairly.

“What the press has done to me, my family and my community is unfair,” said Rangel, saying news outlets will continue to call him a “crook.”

Rangel, never one to hold back his thoughts, said, “I thank you for this awkward opportunity to express myself.”


Ethics Panel Considers Rangel Punishment Today

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rep. Charlie Rangel is expected to appear in person when the ethics panel reconvenes today at noon to decide what punishment the 20-term lawmaker should face for violating 11 congressional ethics rules.

While asking for leniency, Rangel remains defiant. "I knew in my heart that I did nothing corrupt nor seel my office or votes," Rangel said in a statement this morning. "How can 40 witnesses, 30,000 pages of transcripts, over 550 exhibits measure against my forty years of service and commitment to this Body I love so much?"

After a majority of Ethics Panel members recommend a punishment, it will be forwarded to the full House of Representatives to vote on the matter. How serious a punishment Rangel faces is unclear.


Influencing Steiner

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Right now, there is only one person who can block Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial nominee from actually getting the job of running the nation’s largest school system: David Steiner.

As commissioner of the state Department of Education, Steiner will decide whether to grant “a waiver” to Bloomberg’s pick Cathie Black, since she does not have the requisite work or education background for the job. Black, a magazine publisher until Bloomberg offered her the job “out of left field,” did not attend public school, and sent her children to boarding school in another state.

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How to Punish Charlie Rangel: Koch Says Quit, Harlem Pols Laugh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The only question now is how to punish Rep. Charlie Rangel.

The facts against the veteran lawmaker in his two-year-old ethics probe were never in dispute. More than five hundred pieces of evidence were accepted without objection by a bipartisan panel who, on Tuesday, found Rangel guilty of violating 11 different Congressional ethics rules.

But now, a complete lack of consensus has broken out about what to do with the facts about Rangel.

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Rangel Found Guilty of 11 Ethics Violations

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Rep. Charlie Rangel was found guilty of 11 ethical violations by a bipartisan Congressional panel who will now determine what punishment to recommend to the full House for an up or down vote.

Comments [2]

Panel: Rangel Guilty of 11 Ethics Violations

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A House ethics panel has found Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel guilty on 11 counts of breaking House ethics rules. The eight-member ethics panel sat as judge and jury on Rangel's co...

Comments [1]

Rangel Walks as Ethics Hearing Proceeds

Monday, November 15, 2010

After spending more than $1 million on legal bills, Rep. Charles Rangel told members of the House Ethics committee looking into charges that he violated Congressional ethics rules th...

Comments [7]