Mo' Money Mo' Problems
“That’s politics in New York,” the New York Post‘s cover blared in stark black-and-white ink this morning. “It’s all about the f–king money.”
The quote, allegedly made from Councilman Dan Halloran to a cooperating witness, was revealed yesterday as U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara unsealed charges not only against Mr. Halloran, but State Sen. Malcolm Smith and a small slew of other political figures in what Mr. Bharara called “a corridor of corruption stretching from Queens and the Bronx to Rockland County and all the way up to Albany itself.”
Specifically, Mr. Halloran is accused of “essentially quarterbacking” a scheme to secure Republican establishment support for Mr. Smith’s mayoral bid. Mr. Smith, a Democrat, would need the blessing of three of the five county Republican organizations to run on the GOP line, and he allegedly arranged for cash bribes in his attempt to do so. But, looking more broadly, the strange scandal also shines light on these county organizations and their few remaining powers in city politics.
John Catsimatidis, a prominent Republican fundraiser and supermarket mogul who’s exploring a run for mayor, went on Inside City Hall last night. In the course of his interview, the billionaire expressed a few rather interesting opinions including that the recession never hit New York, that many moderate Democrats loved Mitt Romney and that taxing the wealthy involves Nazi-style logic.
Former New York governor, Slate writer and Current TV host Eliot Spitzer is adding another media job to his resumé–contributor on NY1′s nightly chat fest Inside City Hall. Starting July 10, Mr. Spitzer will join former Mayor Ed Koch and ex-Senator Al D’Amato as one of the show’s “Wiseguys” who weigh in on hot political topics.
“I am delighted to be joining two of New York’s sharpest political minds to discuss the important issues of the day,” Mr. Spitzer said in a statement distributed by the local cable news network.
Councilman Charles Barron and Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, both candidates for an open congressional seat in Brooklyn, don’t really like each other very much. At least, that’s the most obvious impression from a debate between the two Democrats on Inside City Hall last night.
It started off with Mr. Barron calling Mr. Jeffries ”negative and immature” and a “sore loser” over his dismissal of retiring Congressman Ed Towns’ endorsement.
New York Congressman Steve Israel, who heads up the House Democrats’ campaign efforts, made an interesting pitch to NY1′s Errol Louis on Inside City Hall last Friday. He argued the most New York is now in play with the judge’s new congressional redistricting plan.
“Right in New York, as a result of the map the courts have approved, we have races all over the state that will be competitive,” he said, before ticking down a laundry list of newly competitive seats.
Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm, who The New York Times‘ sources allege took illegal bribes, continued his efforts to push back against the allegations last night, appearing on NY1′s “Inside City Hall.” The host, Errol Louis, pressed him the specifics of the case that centered on an Israeli mystic, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto, and one of his top aides, Ofer Biton.
Disputing he raised anywhere close to the $500,000 the Times reported he raised from Rabbi Pinto’s followers, Mr. Grimm aggressively defended his relationship with Rabbi Pinto.
“The Rabbi introduced me to many important businessmen, very successful business people, and that’s how I raised money,” he said, adding later that the businessmen supported him because he was “pro-Israel, lower taxes, strong for business, that’s what they were looking for and that’s why they supported me.”