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Jerry Zremski's Week in Washington, April 9, 2012


DiNapoli to donors: attest that your money is clean

ALBANY -- State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is having a fundraiser this week on Long Island for his 2014 re-election campaign account. You can be an "entry level'' donor for $100 or, at the top, get the title of "philanthropist'' for dropping $2,500 on the comptroller's campaign.

All that's the usual Albany money donor game, but what is a bit interesting -- OK, you have to be really into this stuff -- is the level of detail DiNapoli provides as a disclaimer to avoid taking bad, as in illegal, checks from donors. Let's just say it is a tad more information than provided by many politicians to would-be donors.

Here is how the DiNapoli 2014 committee ends its solicitation for the April 11 event:

Contributor’s Confirmation – DiNapoli 2014 does not accept contributions from: (1) any person employed by the Office of State Comptroller; or (2) any person or entity who responds to a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for legal business on behalf of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (the “Fund”) (this restriction applies from the date the RFP is issued until the contractor is selected, and continues for the person or entity selected for such contract with the Fund through the ninetieth day after such contract goes into effect). I hereby confirm that this contribution was made from the contributor’s own funds, is not being reimbursed in any manner, and is not in either of the two prohibited categories (1) and (2) listed above.

Signature Required__________________________________

Print Name______________________________________

Contributions to DiNapoli 2014 are not deductible for federal income tax purposes. The maximum permissible contribution is $60,800. Partnerships that make contributions exceeding $2,500 will be required to specifically identify the partners responsible for the contribution, and that amount will be counted against each partner’s individual contribution limit. Total contributions from a corporation may not exceed $5,000 per calendar year to all New York state and local political committees. Corporations, other entities and individuals are strictly prohibited from reimbursing another person or entity for making a contribution. All contributors must be US citizens or permanent resident aliens (green card holder). Pursuant to SEC Rule 206(4)-5, contributions by investment advisors and covered associates are regulated; the Rule should be consulted.


--Tom Precious

Five Questions with Lynn Marinelli

Every Sunday, we'll publish a quick Q&A with someone from the local political world. Instead of touching on the latest in policy issues and proposed legislation, the intent is to catch a glimpse of the person behind the title. The interviews are done via email.

Erie County Legislator Lynn Marinelli speaks on election night in 2009. (Harry Scull Jr. / Buffalo News)

Lynn Marinelli

The Basics:
Age: 49 currently... 50 on August 4th!
Party: Democrat
Job Title: Erie County Legislator, 3rd district (North Buffalo, Parkside, Black Rock-Riverside, Kenmore and the southeast corner of Town of Tonawanda).
Family: Madden's on my dad's side; Golonka's on my mother's. Blessed with a daughter, Jessica, 29, and a stepdaughter, Bridget, 16, along with 3 cats!
Town: Tonawanda
Education: Mount St. Mary Academy; bachelor of arts in English from Daemen College
Salary: $42,588

Continue reading "Five Questions with Lynn Marinelli" »

The Read: Political chatter from elsewhere

Each Saturday on the Politics Now blog you will find a list of stories that caught the eyes of The News' political reporters. Over the last week, here is a sampling of what they were reading:

--"Redrawn Districts Present a Hurdle for Democrats" by Raymond Hernandez, New York Times. Reps. Kathy Hochul and Louise Slaughter top a list of New York Democrats that the NYT points out have suddenly found themselves on the defensive in districts "once considered safe for the party." A story that appeared in the Times on Monday pegged Hochul as "considered among the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in New York."

--"Gov. Cuomo could be on collision course with Clintons in 2016 race for White House" by Kenneth Lovett, New York Daily News. It’s been whispered about for months: the political steamroller who could make Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2016 White House ambitions just a tad more difficult. And then former President Bill Clinton –- Cuomo’s onetime boss -– dropped the bomb the other day: He’d be “happy’’ if his wife, Hillary, ran for president in four years. A couple days after the former president’s shot-heard-around-Albany interview on Good Morning America, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told a television interviewer that she would “love’’ to see Hillary Clinton run in 2016. [It’s noteworthy that Pelosi was a big booster of former Gov. Mario Cuomo during his past White House rumination days.]

--Check out Texts from Hillary, a Tumblr that juxtaposes pictures of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Here's some insight on it from MSNBC's Helen A.S. Popkin.

--"Romney team in New York looks to deliver knockout primary blow to Rick Santorum" by Jason Horowitz, Washington Post. Horowitz writes that if Romney's wins in primaries earlier this week "served as a death sentence for Santorum’s campaign, New York promises to be the executioner."

Video: McCarthy, Meyer on Bellavia's GOP congress bid

News political reporter Bob McCarthy talks with Brian Meyer about growing support in some arenas for David Bellavia's push to defeat Chris Collins in a GOP congressional contest:

Mayors make friendly wager over USA-Canada hockey game

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and Fort Erie, Ont., Mayor Doug Martin have a little extra at stake in an on-ice battle this weekend.

Teams from both countries will play Saturday night in a game sponsored by the Fort Erie 1812 Bicentennial Committee. The teams will be made up of college and junior players.

What's in play -- the losing team's mayor will wear the winning team's jersey at a future public event.

Bullet News Niagara had the story Wednesday.

--Aaron Besecker
Follow me on Twitter: @BeseckerBN

NYPIRG crunches lobbying numbers

ALBANY –- The New York Public Interest Research Group is out this morning with some new data crunching to shine a little light on New York’s flourishing lobbying industry.

NYPIRG’s own Excel Wizard, Bill Mahoney, takes apart financial filing information provided by the firms to a state ethics agency to show such things as who is growing and who is not in the vibrant economy that is Albany's lobbying industry.

No. 1 on the growth list is the business-funded Committee to Save New York, a group whose members are about as pro-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as you can get; many of the group’s leadership have a financial stake, not surprisingly, in what goes on in Albany.

The group’s spending raced from zero in 2010 to just under $12 million last year during Cuomo’s first year in office. It spends much of its money on television ads promoting Cuomo’s agenda.

In the money-to-burn category, the group ran television ads near the end of March urging viewers to call legislators to support Cuomo’s budget -- even after legislative leaders already agreed on a fiscal deal with Cuomo.

See the full NYPIRG report to get a flavor of how much groups –- from casino operators and WalMart to opponents and backers of gay marriage –- spent in 2011 compared to a year earlier.

--Tom Precious

Politics Now chat with City Hall reporter Aaron Besecker

The News features a live politics chat weekly at 1 p.m. Thursdays. Today's is hosted by City Hall Reporter Aaron Besecker, with the focus on politicsm, policies and issues in the City of Buffalo.

Poll shows support for minimum wage hike

ALBANY -– Even with lawmakers away on vacation for two weeks, minimum wage wars are starting to heat up as the various sides try to settle on their legislative priorities for the final couple months of the session.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pointed to a new poll out today showing overwhelming support for a minimum wage hike as ammunition for his Democratic conference’s plan to raise the level from $7.25 per hour now to $8.50 per hour later this year.

"We should be listening to the people," Silver said after Quinnipiac University released a poll showing New Yorkers back a wage hike by a four-to-one margin. Broken down by proposed wage levels, 29 percent of registered voters responding to the poll said they support New York going to the $8.50 level, while 41 percent said it should increase even higher than Silver has proposed. Twenty percent oppose any mandatory minimum wage hike.

In Syracuse this afternoon, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo continued his stance of not committing either way. Senate Republicans say Silver’s plan would cause businesses to lay off workers.

"I’ve supported minimum wage increases in the past," Cuomo said.

--Tom Precious

Audio from Albany: Assemblyman Jack McEneny on Capitol building

As part of a regular weekly feature on the Politics Now blog, Tom Precious of The News' Albany Bureau posts an audio interview with a newsmaker from the Capitol.


ALBANY -– Today we put aside talk of the state budget, redistricting, pensions, teacher evaluations, and all the other chores that make up the work at the Capitol. Instead, we talk about the Capitol -- as in the magnificent edifice rising from a hilltop overlooking downtown Albany. (Learn more here:

Giving us a brief, inside glimpse to a building whose occupants have helped shaped the direction of the state, and in some cases, the nation, is Assemblyman Jack McEneny, an Albany Democrat who is retiring at the end of the year.

A former Albany County historian, McEneny is a walking encyclopedia about the Capitol and its sometimes colorful occupants over the years and its unique and highly politicized form of architectures. First elected to the Assembly in 1992, McEneny is a fierce promoter of a political palace dubbed in books as the "Chateau on a Hill."

Listen to the conversation here:

Download audio

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |