ALBANY -– Think the Assembly Democrats are not serious about maintaining their veto-proof majority?
Consider the past eight days, during which the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee has brought in an average of $86,000 each day in political donations from a who’s who of special interest groups.
The Assembly Democrats, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver of Manhattan, have slept better in recent years knowing they have enough votes to override a gubernatorial veto without having to rely on any Republican help.
But, fearing the loss of some marginal seats that could jeopardize their powerful stance to be able to use against governors, the Democrats have been on a chase for cash to help fund the last-minute campaign activities of key candidates around the state.
Interesting that this push comes at a time when Assembly Democrats believe a fellow Democrat -– Andrew Cuomo -– will be winning the governor’s race. But Silver and his Democratic lawmakers are taking no chances -– especially when some bruising fights are expected over the next year or two on the budget and the redistricting process to redraw legislative and congressional boundaries.
Donations in excess of $1,000 to any candidate in the closing weeks of the election season in New York must be reported to the state elections board within 24 hours of the contribution.
Scroll down through the election board’s 24-hour notice donation list and the money heading to the Assembly Democrats leaps out. Since Oct. 19, the main political committee for the Assembly Democrats has raised at least $692,000.
Donors include $94,000 from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, a national party group based on K Street in Washington, and $84,400 from the influential health care union Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union. The Healthcare Association of New York State, which lobbies for hospitals and nursing homes, donated $25,000 to the Assembly Democrats in the past week, while the New York State Community Health Partnership’s political action committee gave $15,000. The PAC representing bankers tossed in $10,000. And the D.C.-based American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees donated $44,200.
Other donors to DAAC include chiropractors, bricklayers, a uniformed firefighters union from New York City, Albany lobbyists and a number of Assembly Democrats facing little or no opposition in the Nov. 2 elections.
The Assembly Democrats have also gotten at least $40,000 from four members of New York’s congressional delegation -– Democrats Jerrold Nadler, Joseph Crowley, Eliot Engel and Paul Tonko. Members of Congress, like clockwork every 10 years, turn over donations to the Assembly and Senate in advance of the redistricting process that decides the fate of congressional boundaries. New York stands to lose two seats after the current Census process is completed that will decide the boundaries of congressional lines for the next 10 years.
-- Tom Precious