Connect with Us Facebook Twitter
A judge has ruled that the names of eight people who spoke on wiretaps with former state Sen. Shirley Huntley can be made public tomorrow.
Huntley, who pleaded guilty to funnelling tens of thousands of dollars in public money to a bogus charity that she operated, wore a wire for federal prosecutors for several months last year.
What makes Huntley's case so interesting is that prosecutors are arguing that the names should not be released because doing so could compromise ongoing investigations. Six of the eight people Huntley spoke to while wearing a wire are elected officials.
Judge Jack Weinstein wrote in his ruling that he isn't worried that revealing these names will ruin any cases.
"Every legislator who has conversed with this defendant will necessarily assume that he or she wasrecorded under the supervision of the FBI," he wrote. "There will be no surprises to the potentially accused by the revelations of their names. Interference with ongoing investigations will be of almost no significance."
The Senate elections committee will hold hearings on corruption in the New York City public campaign finance system at 11 a.m. tomorrow. Oral testimony is by invite-only, and it just so happens that a good number of campaign finance experts from New York are not welcome to speak.
Bill Mahoney, New York Public Interest Research Group's number-cruncher extraordinare, just happens to be one of those campaign finance experts.
"Oral testimony is by invitation only," Mahoney said. "I suppose they are not interested in hearing from actual New Yorkers who have been effected by the system. They just want to hear people criticize a system that works better than ours."
Members of some of the state's largest government watchdog groups wrote the committe chairs — Sens. Thomas O'Mara and Diane Savino — to ask to be allowed to testify but they were not allowed to give oral testimony. The groups include Common Cause/NY, The Brennan Center, Citizen Action New York and Center For Working Families.
When asked about why good government groups were not allowed to give oral testimony, Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif replied:"I don't believe that is accurate. Dick Dadey, from Citizens Union, is on our confirmed speaker list."
Who is state Sen. John Sampson? This morning, everyone knows Sampson as the man who turned himself in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to face multiple charges for embezzling money he was in charge of as a lawyer to fund his ill-fated run for Brooklyn District Attorney.
But Samspon has long been a player in Albany, and rumors of corruption have swirled around him for years.
Elected to his seat in 1996, Sampson has worked as an attorney for Alter & Barbaro, Esqs., since 1994. For a while Sampson was the answer for all the Senate Democrats' problems and became one of the most powerful men in Albany.
In 2009, during the Senate coup, the Democratic conference elevated Sampson to conference leader (a position that had previously not existed) in a bid to return Sens. Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada to the fold.
Sampson's time as a leader of a majority conference was brief; Democrats lost their majority in 2010.
The 14-month wait for a new state inspector general is over.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Catherine Leahy Scott to the position today. Scott had been acting inspector general.
The vacancy at the IG's office was created when Cuomo appointed then-IG Ellen Biben as executive director of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics — a move that cause some to question whether JCOPE was actually independent of the executive branch. Biben worked for Cuomo during his time as attorney general.
It just so happens that Biben is now officially stepping down in her position at JCOPE to pursue work in the private sector. Biben's departure from JCOPE comes on the heels of the resignation of JCOPE Chair and Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore. DiFiore left to pursue her reelection bid.
JCOPE has had more than its share of troubles since coming into existence last year. Its biggest case so far has languished as its report about the Assemblyman Vito Lopez scandal has remained out of public sight thanks to a request from the Staten Island district attorney, who is reviewing whether to bring criminal charges against Lopez.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's open.gov.ny just got a major data dump. The transparency section of the site has been updated with campaign contribtuion and expenditure records dating back to 1999, lobbying and enforcement data from the Joint commission on Public Ethics, attorney registrations as far back as 1898 as well as a log of state employee phone numbers.
"Today, we have added millions of records on campaign finance, lobbying, ethics enforcement, the state budget, and other information related to public integrity," said Cuomo in a statement. "It is another example of how the State is using technology to bring the people back into government – empowering voters, strengthening our democracy and promoting transparency and accountability in the Empire State.”
Cuomo touted his new open-date tool in his State of the State Address in January of this year and officially launched it in March. The Cuomo administration has been criticized for a lack of transparency. Cuomo officials have fought to keep some records from his time as Attorney General secret and Cuomo's promise to make his schedules public has been seen as incomplete by many in the press. The administration also keeps close tabs on press calls.
But a number of open data enthusiasts trumpted the latest data push from the administration.
"Credit Governor Cuomo for using the state's powerful open data website, Open NY, to make it easier for New Yorkers to find and use the state's wealth of information. Data set by data set, Open NY is giving New Yorkers a more complete picture of how our government works," said John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, in a statement.