As Labor Day approaches and voters start paying attention, Republican candidate for Attorney General John Cahill has the key to defeating incumbent Eric Schneiderman – and the New York Times is ignoring the story, probably because they have cut a deal with the AG’s office.
In fact, the Moreland Commission scandal landed right in Schneiderman’s lap. The Attorney General, long the progressive hero of the government class and mainstream media, deputized all the members of the panel. Or maybe he didn’t – since the scandal broke, we’ve heard maybe only 22 were deputized. Or 11 – or maybe even less.
But Schneiderman isn’t answering any questions about the Moreland mess. According to Cahill, that’s because he’s up to his neck in it.
“Schneiderman had a responsibility to act independently, not as an annex of the Governor’s office,” Cahill told me. “He totally failed to exercise his independence. Instead, he’s raising money while playing with subpoenas.” And we all know how well that turned out for Eliot “Black Socks” Spitzer.
Cahill is calling it the Schneiderman Shakedown.
In fact, the attorney general has accepted $70,000 from three companies who were in the midst of being subpoenaed when Cuomo shut the Moreland Commission down – and he took $200,000 from one of the firms in 2010. Cahill has called for Schneiderman to return the dirty money.
It’s an open secret that several law firms, industry coalitions and unions have paid-to-play in Albany. The lawmakers know exactly who they are, and the Moreland Commission got dangerously close to uncovering the lawlessness. Just as they preared subpoenas for the Real Estate Board of New York, Weitz & Luxemberg and Belluck & Fox, Cuomo and his henchmen shut the blue ribbon panel down.
The former right hand man of Governor George Pataki and state environmental commissioner, Cahill knows his way around Albany. And he is telling anyone who will listen that under Executive Law 106 63(8), the deputy attorneys general serving on the commission – no matter how many there are – had a legal duty to report to the Office of the Attorney General weekly, in writing. Schneiderman won’t tell the public if his deputies followed the law. He won’t even say if he agreed, disagreed or hid in the corner while Cuomo fired his deputies at the Moreland Commission.
Schneiderman hasn’t said a word about the New York Times allegation that the Governor and his staff interfered in the panel’s work. And according to Cahill, therein lies the rub: Cuomo may have interfered, but Schneiderman bent over and took it from the executive office – and now he’s letting the governor walk away from the mess without doing his job as chief law enforcement officer of the state.
“People are starting to get it,” Cahill said. “But first, we have had to convince the press that there’s a story here. And it’s working.”
Even the liberal bastion the New York Daily News editorialized about the AG’s role. Every single newspaper the challenger has talked with has written up Schneiderman’s role in the Moreland scandal. That is, every single paper but the New York Times. And there’s a good reason why the Gray Lady is balking: they’re covering for the Attorney General.
Look at the New York Times story that revealed Cuomo’s manipulation of the corruption investigation. Cuomo enforcer Larry Schwartz is quoted, two other appointees of the governor play a role – but who isn’t quoted anywhere? Schneiderman and his appointees to the commission are nowhere to be found.
Any reporter worth their salt knows this indicates the New York Times is likely covering for Schneiderman because he and his appointees were the primary sources of their blockbuster. They cut a deal, and now they won’t write the story about the attorney general’s central role in this scandal.
No matter: the world no longer breathlessly awaits what the New York Times deigns to print. And Cahill is making a race of it, focused like a laser beam on Schneiderman’s Moreland failures.
Schneiderman has more money that Cahill and has already bought $1 million of television time beginning in October. The AG’s got another $6 million on hand. Cahill, who doesn’t need to spend nearly as much as the incumbent to win, has $1.1 million on hand and he’s already up on the air statewide with a solid TV ad highlighting his strengths and the AG’s failures.
It’s a gamble to spend big this early in the campaign, but often the tactic encourages a flow of donations if the race tightens up. And despite the money race, many expect Cahill to make this a ten-point race by the end of September.
“John is our best chance to win a statewide election this year,” Erie County GOP chairman Nick Langworthy said. Many Republican insiders are saying Cahill is exactly the kind of statewide candidate donors, activists and the party rank-and-file can get behind and rebuild around after victory in November.
And with Cahill’s top-notch campaign team working the key counties of Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, Orange, Erie, and Monroe like there’s no tomorrow, he has a solid chance to pull it off. Especially if voters realize that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is mixed up in the Moreland mess as badly – or worse – than Governor Cuomo and his henchmen.