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‘Tis the season! For six-figure Albany fundraisers

Christmas is the season for giving – a time to show how much we care for others. A time to reflect upon what matters in our lives. A time for New York elected officials to raise outrageous sums of money.

When the balance of power switched after last year’s elections, some held out hope that Albany’s habits would change – that the six-figure fundraisers might die a quick death, and elected officials would live like Pope Francis, spending their time among common people. But a great report in the Buffalo Newsshows that if fundraising is any indication, Albany hasn’t changed one bit.

Want to lobby the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee? Donate $1,000 and you can earn the title of “Friend.” $25,000 will make you a “Chair.” Since the legislature has done absolutely nothing to touch party donations, you are still free to contribute up to $117,300, which invitations make sure to note.

And parties aren’t the only ones doing high-dollar fundraising – candidates are at it as well. Governor Cuomo is holding two major fundraisers in December, to which one can still donate nearly $70,000. If any thing is certain about Albany, it’s that NYPIRG’s annual list of budget-season fundraisers is sure to be as depressing as ever.

As always, there’s only one solution in any of this: Organize! And RepresentUs NYC and our partners will have plenty of opportunities in 2020.

In other news…

  • When ethics bodies permit bad ethics: The New York City Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) allowed a newspaper publishing articles that promote Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to be mailed with taxpayer funds. The mailings were allowed after COIB decided that the newspaper promotes “the office” rather than Adams, meaning that they are for the good of Brooklyn – only there’s one problem. Nearly every other article features Adams. And Adams is running for mayor. It reminds us of that line from Breaking Bad: “You don’t need a criminal lawyer. You need a criminal lawyer.” In New York City, you don’t need a Conflicts of Interest Board. You need a Conflicts of Interest Board.
  • The plot thickens in the JCOPE scandal. Shortly after a confidential vote was taken on whether or not to investigate one of Cuomo’s top staffers, Joseph Percoco, Heastie called one of his JCOPE appointees, Jim Yates. As we all know now, one of the commissioners claims that her own vote was leaked. Heastie claims nothing was discussed about the vote, which is difficult to believe when Heastie says Yates is a close friend. Regardless of what happened, it’s clearer than ever that New York’s ethics bodies are in need of an overhaul, and that New York’s investigators need to actually need do some investigating, but as of now, there’s no indication that anything is going to change.

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