Maloney asks local employers to “ban the box”

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney recently sent a letter to employers in his district urging them to eliminate the customary question on job applications that asks prospective workers if they have criminal records.

His letter, part of a national “Ban the Box” movement, argues that asking job seekers that question at the outset clouds the employment prospects for people with criminal convictions by causing them to get screened out, even if they are otherwise qualified for the work they are seeking. “Our criminal justice system is broken from start to finish,” Maloney wrote in the letter. “We say we want folks who serve their time to get a job when they leave the system, but all too often the job applications they fill out make it impossible for them to get a fair shot. ”

Maloney, a Cold Spring Democrat representing New York’s 18th Congressional District, is also a sponsor of the “Fair Chance Act,” a bill that would drop the criminal-record question from job applications at federal agencies and contractors.

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Team Heaney objects to all of Bishop’s 1,897 petition signatures in NY-19 race

Supporters of GOP congressional candidate Andrew Heaney filed paperwork Monday accusing his primary opponent, Bob Bishop, of filing fraudulent, false and invalid designating petitions.

In order to get on the June primary ballot candidates need to file 1,250 valid signatures with the state Board of Elections. Bishop filed 1,897.

The objections against Bishop were filed with the state BOE by Jason Page, Darin Page and Lorrie Morse, from Hyde Park, Rhinebeck and Port Ewen, respectively.

Morse is an event manager for Heaney’s campaign while Darin and Jason Page have both donated to Heaney’s campaign. In the 245-page filing, the three say “each and every signature on each and every page” of the petitions is invalid.

“Each and every signature collected by the following subscribing witnesses are challenged on the basis of permeating fraud, including the falsification of signatures, entry of material false statements in the witness statement, maintaining, entering and  or conspiring to enter a false voter registration, and other fraudulent acts which should invalidate the entire petition,” the filing says.

Bishop, a Delaware County hay executive; Heaney, a Dutchess County heating oil executive; and John Faso, a Columbia County lawyer and former state assemblyman, are all vying for the GOP nomination in June for the 19th Congressional District. The district includes Ulster and Sullivan counties.

In general, challenging petition signatures are par for the course in trying to knock opponents of election ballots, though Bishop has accused Heaney of employing “Gestapo tactics to silence voters” and citing a quote from Heaney in a Poughkeepsie Journal story where he said the objections are just procedural.

Most of the objections are technical in nature, including illegible signatures, not signing in ink or not having page numbers. Others claim that the witnesses made false statements. Heaney’s campaign manager, David O’Connell, has said that while the rules are “rigged by and for insider-lobbyists” they’re following the law.

Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, isn’t running for another term in the district.

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Bishop says Heaney using “Gestapo tactics” over primary petitions

Bob Bishop said Monday that his GOP primary opponent, Andrew Heaney, is using “Gestapo tactics” in an effort to kick him off the June primary ballot.

Bishop, the Hamden hay executive looking to clinch the Republican nomination in the 19th Congressional District, said Heaney’s supporters went door to door “harassing” Republicans who signed Bishop’s petitions over the weekend.

Bishop’s campaign quotes a Walton man who says he was visited and questioned about signing a petition for Bishop.

Bishop says that Heaney’s previous statements that he was happy to have Bishop in the race are disingenuous in light of the objections. Heaney is a heating oil executive from Dutchess County.

Three general objections have been filed with the state Board of Elections against Bishop’s petitions. The objections are filed byJason Page, Darin Page and Lorrie Morse, from Hyde Park, Rhinebeck and Port Ewen, respectively. Morse is an event manager for Heaney’s campaign while Darin and Jason Page have both contributed donations to Heaney’s campaign.

“Andrew Heaney can no longer be taken at his word,” Bishop said in a release. “He tells the voters one thing and then works in secrecy in direct conflict of his previous statements. The new tactics he has employed show just how far he will go to have my name removed from the ballot. Political games like these are the reason voters lack trust in their elected officials and Andrew Heaney is showing that he will be no different than the political elite in Washington.”

When asked for comment Heaney’s campaign manager, David O’Connell, pivoted their response into an attack of the third GOP primary opponent, John Faso, a former state assemblyman.

“The rules are the rules, rigged by and for insider-lobbyists like John Faso, but it’s the law and if you are running for public office you follow the law,” O’Connell said.

The 19th district includes all of Ulster and Sullivan counties. Two Democrats, Will Yandik and Zephyr Teachout, are also facing a primary in June.

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Del Vecchio touts Trump romp in Orange County

Ken Del Vecchio, a vocal Donald Trump supporter since launching his campaign for New York’s 18th Congressional District seat in December, feels he deserves some credit for The Donald winning 70 percent in Orange County and 67 percent overall in the 18th District in Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary in New York.

Trump did well throughout the state, of course, winning 60 percent of the statwide vote and clearing the critical 50 percent mark in almost all of the 27 congressional district. But Del Vecchio, who was Trump’s campaign chairman for Orange and the 18th District, argues his stumping for Trump on radio and TV shows and in door-to-door campaigning for his own race helped give Trump some of his strongest percentages in New York’s primary.

“Certainly, I’m more responsible than anybody involved in politics,” he said.

Del Vecchio, a Warwick resident and filmmaker who runs the annual film festival at Middletown’s Paramount Theatre, will face Phil Oliva of Somers – an aide to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and the party’s endorsed candidate – in a June 28 primary for the Republican nomination for the 18th District.  Each is vying to challenge Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who’s running for a third term in November.

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Tkaczyk gives “no comment” over alleged investigation into de Blasio fundraising operation

Former Democratic State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk had no comment Wednesday when asked if she has been subpoenaed by federal authorities as part of an expanding probe into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising efforts back in 2014.

On Wednesday The New York Times reported that a federal probe of de Blasio’s campaign fundraising had expanded to focus on the mayor’s 2014 efforts to help win a Democratic majority in the state Senate. The article cites unnamed sources who knew about grand jury subpoenas issued this week in the inquiry.

Tkaczyk, reached by phone Wednesday, had no comment as to whether she’s received a subpoena from federal authorities or been contacted by them.

According to the Times article prosecutors are trying to see whether there was an effort to circumvent state campaign contribution limits because county committees have no limits in doling out contributions from people, groups or companies. The article says there’s no indication that de Blasio is a target of the inquiry.

Back in 2014 Tkaczyk, from Duanesburg, was locked in a heated battle to keep her seat in the 46th Senate District from George Amedore, a Republican and former state assemblyman. Tkaczyk ended up losing. The 46th District includes the City of Kingston and eight Ulster County towns.

In the October before the crucial 2014 election the Ulster County Democratic Committee received huge donations of cash stemming from New York City, according to state Board of Elections records. According to a report filed 11 days before the election, 71-85 Lewis Avenue LLC threw $100,000 at the Ulster County Democratic Committee on Oct. 14, 2014.

The person or people behind the LLC are elusive. Its mailing address is 266 Broadway in Brooklyn and registered as a foreign limited liability company out of Delaware.

New York City property records show that a Mike Kohn, CEO of Alliance Property Capital Group, has signed off on documents in the name of the LLC as an authorized signatory on a lease. The Brooklyn-based group is a real estate intermediary group that helps set up real estate financing, according to its website. A call to Kohn was not immediately returned.

New York City lobbying records also show that the LLC hired the firm Slater & Beckerman, P.C., to lobby on its behalf last year. It paid out $22,505 in 2015 to target city regulatory boards regarding real property decisions.

The name of the LLC also shares a similar address to 71 Lewis Ave. in Brooklyn, a Bed-Stuy community facility that Kohn was looking to convert into a housing complex, according to a DNAinfo New York article last year.

The Ulster County Democratic Committee also received donations from three labor-backed New York City organizations on the same day. Those included $102,300 from the CWA District One PAC, $102,300 from 32BJ United ADF and $60,000 from the NYSNA Political Action Committee. The CWA in generally associated with the Communication Workers of America, 32BJ with the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, and the NYSNA with the New York State Nurses Association.

That’s $364,600 going to the committee on one day.

About a week later money from the Ulster County Democratic Committee started flowing to Tkaczyk’s campaign. On Oct. 17 the committee transferred $60,000 to her campaign and $100,000 on Oct. 20. Then on Oct. 21 it transferred $170,000.

On Oct. 21 and Oct. 22 the committee transferred two more checks into her campaign account, one for $100,000 and the other for $170,000, respectively, according to state Board of Election records.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Ulster County Democratic Committee Chair Frank Cardinale said he has received no subpoena nor been contacted by federal authorities. He had no comment as to the origins of the LLC cash or if de Blasio had a role in orchestrating the donations.

At the time Crain’s New York wrote, as well as other outlets, that the money was tied to de Blasio’s fundraising efforts.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Manhattan had no comment and said they could not confirm if there is an investigation. The FBI’s New York Field Office said the same.

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New Maloney bill aims to deter painkiller abuse

A new bill by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney would attempt to curb the rampant abuse of prescription painkillers by creating an incentive for drug makers to use extended-release capsules and other “abuse-deterrent technologies” when formulating new medicines.

The incentive is approval speed – or at least the absence of delay. Maloney’s bill, co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Leonard Lance of New Jersey, would require the Food and Drug Administration to create an advisory committee to review and solicit public comments on any new drugs that omit abuse deterrents. Drug makers that include those safeguards could bypass the committee – and the added delay it would bring.

The bill also would establish a suggested curriculum to teach doctors about the risks of opioid abuse.

“No single strategy can solve this problem,” Maloney, D-Cold Spring, said in a press release. “We need a comprehensive approach that builds on proven methods and innovative solutions to end the overprescribing of opioids, get drugs off our streets, and expand prevention and treatment efforts.”

Maloney introduced a different bill last month that would help police send low-level drug abusers to treatment programs instead of charging them with crimes. He also held a “telephone town hall” with around 21,000 constituents this year on combating the growing heroin and painkiller epidemic.





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Upstate Sanders support mirrors 2014 Cuomo primary

Two years ago, a little-known law professor and anti-corruption crusader waged an aggressive Democratic primary challenge against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and came away with one surprising upside in the governor’s otherwise lopsided victory: a majority of votes in 30 of the state’s 62 counties, including large swaths of upstate.

On Tuesday, there were echoes of Zephyr Teachout’s upstate success in New York’s Democratic presidential primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. As in that 2014 race, the centrist, establishment candidate cleaned up in New York City and the surburbs and scored a jumbo victory statewide, while the more liberal insurgent walked away with much of the remainder of the state.

Locally, Clinton won Orange County by 2 percentage points, just as Cuomo had scored a slender victory in that county in September 2014. And just as Teachout trounced the incumbent by 2-to-1 vote ratios in Ulster and Sullivan counties, so did Sanders beat Clinton by 26 points and 12 points, respectively, in those two counties in Tuesday’s primary.

More overlap: Teachout is currently making her second foray into politics by running for the congressional seat that Republican Rep. Chris Gibson will vacate at the end of this year. And not only has Sanders endorsed her in her primary race against fellow Democrat Will Yandik for New York’s 19th Congressional District, but he has helped her and two other congressional candidates from other states raise campaign money through an email to his supporters. Ulster and Sullivan are among 11 counties in the 19th District.

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Negative campaign flyers circulating in NY-19

Negative campaign flyers attacking Republicans Andrew Heaney and John Faso have been circulating within the 19th Congressional District.

A resident from southern Rensselaer County sent me copies of two mailers he received on the same day.

Faso, a Columbia County Republican, is in a race to replace Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who won’t run again this year. He’s a former state assembly minority leader, lawyer and lobbyist. He and Heaney, a heating oil executive who lives in Dutchess County, are battling for the GOP nomination in the June primary.

One mailer, paid for by the New York Jobs Council super PAC, attacks Faso over his past stances on gun control.

The anti-Faso mailer makes reference to a March 2000 New York Times article, that quotes him saying he supported then-Gov. George Pataki’s gun control laws despite not thinking it would have much impact on preventing gun crime, according to the article.

The mailer accuses Faso of lying about his NRA record, calls him an “insider lobbyist” and has a illustration of a revolver with the barrel twisted like a pretzel.

The other mailer, paid for by Faso’s campaign, accuses Heaney of falsely attack Faso. It calls Heaney a New York City millionaire, a carpetbagger and points out his past campaign contributions to President Barack Obama.

The mailer also says Heaney was “rejected” by the Republican and Conservative parties and before he lived in Dutchess County he lived “alongside celebrities and socialites at one of the most exclusive addresses in Manhattan” before selling his apartment for $6.65 million and moving upstate.  The claim is paired with a headshot of Heaney in a tuxedo.

Heaney is currently fighting off a Federal Elections Commission complaint made by the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit in Washington D.C. formed in May 2015.

The group is requesting an investigation into what it says is illegal coordination between Heaney’s campaign and the New York Jobs Council, claiming the super PAC and Heaney are both using the same consultants, that Heaney established and help fund the super PAC.

Heaney’s campaign has previously said that Heaney did give money to the PAC but that was before he was a candidate and has nothing to do with it now. They call the complaint baseless and a politically motivated tactic by Faso.

According to FEC filings the New York Jobs Council has spent about $71,000 so far in negative campaign mailers and commercials against Faso.

If you see more mailers in the 19th please send them my way at I’ve attached photos of the flyers below.

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Brabenec rips Democrats for quashing tax bill

Assemblyman Karl Brabenec teed off on the Assembly’s ruling Democrats this week when they again blocked a longstanding Republican bill that would enable school districts and local governments to freeze property taxes for senior citizens and disabled homeowners earning less than $40,000 a year.

The bill, A2733, originated 10 years ago and has never made it out of the Assembly’s Aging Committee. Brabenec, a Republican freshman from Deerpark who was made a co-sponsor of the bill after joining the Assembly last year, said in a press release, “We have some of the highest property taxes in the nation right here in the Hudson Valley. When Social Security and savings are not enough to escape financial instability during retirement, those who have paid into the system for decades and helped make our nation great deserve a break.”

Brabenec blamed “New York City liberals” for blocking the legislation, arguing they “have little concern about property taxes because many of them rent.”

“Their myopic policies are ruining our community, and I will continue to fight for policies that benefit us all,” Brabenec said.

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Skoufis bill would lift LLC “shroud of secrecy”

A state bill introduced this week by Assemblyman James Skoufis would require the creators of limited-liability companies to identify themselves in public documents, eliminating the secrecy with which campaign donors and property buyers can operate in New York under the veil of LLCs.

Under the bill, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski of Rockland County, anyone forming one of these shell companies would be required to list the names and home addresses of their owners when filing the incorporation papers with the Department of State, and must subsequently report any ownership change within 90 days. Violators could be fined up to $5,000 or sent to prison for as much as three years.

“Deep-pocketed individuals shouldn’t be able to hide behind the mask of an LLC,” Skoufis, a Woodbury Democrat, said in a press release. “Requiring these organizations to publicly disclose who their beneficiaries are will help law enforcement agencies better combat fraud as well as shine a light on developers seeking to buy up property under a shroud of secrecy.”

Skoufis mentioned as one example a flurry of recent homes sales in South Blooming Grove in which the buyers are identified only as LLCs, without any actual person’s name. South Blooming Grove Mayor Rob Jeroloman, quoted in the bill announcement, said, “Our local families deserve to know the identity of the investors and developers purchasing property on their blocks. By increasing transparency and letting the public know who’s really behind real estate transactions, Assemblyman Skoufis’ proposal will shed light on what is currently a shroud of secrecy.”

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