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David Howard King

State Government Editor of The Gotham Gazette

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Common Cause New York and The Fair Elections For New York campaign both want Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission to follow the money when it comes to political donations from pro-hydrofracking groups.

Common Cause issued a report that found pro-hydrofracking groups have contributed over $14 million to candidates and commitees from 2007 to 2013. The group's analysis claims to show that the candidates who recieved the most money have been the most vocal on the subject of allowing hydraulic fracturing in the state.

"Powerful businesses and industries which stand to benefit from fracking use campaign contributions to gain influence with their local lawmakers, candidates, and party organizations," said Susan Lerner, director of Common Cause/NY, in a statement. "We see a wide spectrum of fracking related interests taking full advantage of New York's lax campaign finance laws in the hope of a future payday if fracking is permitted."

Citizen's Union is a member of The Fair Election For New York campaign and Gotham Gazette is published by Citizen Union's sister organization Citizens Union Foundation.

Common Cause wants the Moreland Commission to look at the following issues:

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new plan to get storm-ravaged communities to work together in planning their futures during his NY Rising: Storm Recovery Conference in Albany yesterday. The 102 communities impacted by flooding across the state will be eligible for up to $750 million in combined state and federal aid. “What does the community think is the best approach to rebuild?" asked Cuomo. "And what are the best ideas and what is the best vision and let’s fund the community’s vision rather than ask the community to fit in the template that’s established from up above.” The Cuomo administration unveiled a website designed to help communities apply for the program and to find out how much recovery funding they are eligible for. You can watch a video of the conference here.

Other Stories We're Following

Living Wage Law Beats Expectations, Backers Say (Crain's)

Bloomberg, Cuomo Taking Rafting Race Seriously (Wall Street Journal)

City Posts Biggest 6-Month Job Growth Since 2000 (Crain's)

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Firefighters Want City to Abandon New 911 System

The firefighters' union plans to go to court today to ask a judge to force the city to hault using what they call a 'deadly' 911 system. The union says the two-month old, $88 million system has caused a number of delays and other problems. The union claims 911 dispatchers waited 8 minutes before sending a call about a five-alarm Bronx house fire to the FDNY. Two children were hospitalized from the fire and nine firefighters were treated for minor injuries. The city disputes that there was a gap and says crews were on the scene 5 minutes after the call. Bloomberg called the response time "better than average." This follows Tuesday's events when it took an ambulance more than thirty minutes to respond to an emergency call after an intern collapsed at a news conference in Brooklyn. Council President Christine Quinn blasted the response time and called Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to ask him to dispatch help. The city said it didn't consider the event high priority because the intern was being treated and was aware and speaking.

Cuomo Vows to Clean up Corruption in TV Ad (NY Times)

New Yorkers Seek Empathetic Mayor (NY Times)

Spitzer Reveals Two Pages of Taxes (Wall Street Journal)

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Campaign financing might not have been the first thing Gov. Andrew Cuomo wanted to discuss today.

Cuomo debuted a campaign finance reform proposal late in the legislative session this year without much of a public push and watched the bill arrive stillborn.

Now, with the July campaign finance filiing deadline having come and gone, Cuomo's cash and how he raises it is a major topic of discussion.

What stood out to many reporters and insiders was that much of Cuomo's cash comes from large donors who control limited liability corporations. The donors give as individuals and through their LLCs and to organizations that support him. This allows major donors to skirt the state's already-lax limits on individual donations.

Today on The Capitol Press Room, Susan Arbetter asked Cuomo about using "loopholes" in the campaign finance law. "Those aren’t loopholes,” Cuomo said. “Those are the laws that are written.”

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Moreland Commission will hold three public meetings in September.

Cuomo called together the group of district attorneys and law enforcement officials to investigate corruption and dysfunction in Albany. The commission's first meeting took place in private witout any public notice. The move was roundly criticized.

The commission is next scheduled to meet Sept. 17 at Pace Univesity in the city; Sept. 18 at the state office building in Buffalo; and Sept. 24 at The Crossings in Colonie (near Albany).

Moreland Press Release 7-16

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