Congress members Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke today endorsed Ken Thompson in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s race, lending two big names to Mr. Thompson’s challenge against the long-time incumbent, Charles Hynes.
“We need new leadership in the Brooklyn DA’s office that will take on tough cases and not run the other way,” Mr. Thompson, an attorney, said at a Brooklyn Borough Hall press conference this afternoon.
“We clearly need new leadership that’s based on a DA that is tough but fair, that will fight for justice,” he added, likely referencing various controversies Mr. Hynes’s office has faced handling certain criminal cases. “As Brooklyn DA, I will not only fight against crime or corruption, wherever it exists, I will make sure that every case is investigated and prosecuted with integrity so that justice prevails.”
After a policy-heavy press conference this morning, Anthony Weiner did what mayoral candidates in this race rarely do: signed an autograph.
Mr. Weiner had wrapped up an event in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn–where he stood outside a kosher supermarket touting his plan to allow small business owners to contest fines on their blocks using mobile vans–when a woman, bashful at first, approached the former congressman to ask for an autograph.
The influential 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers Union weighed in on two City Council races today, boosting Brooklyn’s Carlos Menchaca and the Bronx’s Ritchie Torres, in their bid for office this year.
“Carlos Menchaca has the background, experience, and judgment working people need in the City Council,” Kevin Finnegan, 1199′s political director, said in a statement. “A product of Bronx public housing and Bronx public schools, Ritchie Torres reflects the community he is running to represent in City Hall,” he said in another
As he contemplates a run for City Council, scandal-scarred Vito Lopez isn’t getting any more popular just because he resigned from the State Assembly on Monday.
That was made abundantly clear at a City Hall rally yesterday, where a bevy of women legislators and candidates, including Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and Councilwoman Diana Reyna, again denounced Mr. Lopez’s candidacy and endorsed the disgraced pol’s would-be rival, Antonio Reynoso.
The week before Vito Lopez resigned, the state ethics commission released a scathing 68-page report that detailed a lurid pattern of abuse in his district office.
According to the allegations, the former assemblyman once lamented the existence of statutory rape laws in the presence of a 14-year-old intern. Mr. Lopez demanded massages from female staffers, including one who cried and expressed her discomfort as a former rape victim. At a bar one evening, he grabbed an employee’s hands from across the table. When she tried to pull away, he tightened his grip. When she began to cry, Mr. Lopez said he’d release her only after she counted to 60. When she did, he stared at her for the full minute.
After resigning from his Assembly seat on Monday morning, Mr. Lopez is said to be contemplating a seemingly unfathomable second act: running for City Council. Given the accusations against him, what’s more surprising is that even his detractors acknowledge that Mr. Lopez actually has a viable path to victory.
City Comptroller John Liu will announce the endorsement of a slew of Democratic officials from across Brooklyn Friday in another effort by his mayoral campaign to show he’s gaining steam, despite the recent guilty verdicts against his former campaign treasurer and a fund-raiser.
The supporters include Assemblywoman Inez Barron, City Council candidate Ari Kagan, and Democratic district leaders Melba Brown, Betty Ann Canizio, Jeanette Givant, Christopher Olechowski, Chris Owens, Corey Provost and Charles Ragusa.
As indictments of minority elected officials continue to pile up, some leaders have openly suggested, while offering scant evidence, that a conspiracy exists to remove blacks and Latinos from power. But U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, one of two federal prosecutors responsible for bringing many of the recent corruption charges, outright rejected any conspiracy theories last night.
Although Assemblyman Vito Lopez was cleared of criminal charges today, the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics still found plenty to to dislike about him in a revealing report that concluded that Mr. Lopez fostered a shockingly sordid work environment in clear violation of official standards of conduct.
In the scathing 68-page report, Mr. Lopez–who was stripped of his powerful committee chairmanship and his position atop the Brooklyn Democratic Party after sexual harassment allegations first surfaced last year—engaged in such acts as hanging mistletoe in his district office and forcibly kissing a staffer, shoving his hand “all the way up” the inner thigh of another staffer and more.
Months into his first term, his short time in Washington D.C. has Congressman Hakeem Jeffries convinced the Tea Party is out of control.
Another Shoe Drops
State Senator John Sampson, who up until recently led his chamber’s Democratic conference, is set to turn himself into federal authorities today after being ensared in a bribery scandal, according to The New York Times and New York Post.
It’s unclear to what extent Mr. Sampson may have been cooperating with federal prosecutors prior to this point. His involvement in an alleged scheme with then-State Senator Shirley Huntley, who already pleaded guilty to her own charges, was revealed last week when a sentencing letter made public Ms. Huntley’s own cooperation. The Times reports Mr. Sampson be charged with obstruction of justice.