Tuesday, September 28, 2010

'Does the Average Member of the Public Have Those Connections and Access?'

Of course the average member of the public doesn't have the same connections as the beautiful people. And if you're in New York, having the last name of Cuomo apparently goes a long way.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's cousin tried to help a client cash in on state pension fund business last year - a move made amid the attorney general's probe of a pay-to-play scandal.

Matthew Cuomo set up a June 23, 2009, meeting for Advanced Recovery - an upstate electronic-equipment recycling firm seeking a $5 million pension fund investment - with state Controller Thomas DiNapoli.

His face-to-face meeting marked one of the rare times last year that DiNapoli met with an investment-seeking company, a copy of his 2009 schedule shows.

Andrew Cuomo, who is running for governor, has for three years been investigating pension fund shenanigans under disgraced former Controller Alan Hevesi.

Firms wanting to do business with the fund were often forced to fork over campaign donations or kickbacks to Hevesi's political consultant, Hank Morris.

Andrew Cuomo is also targeting unlicensed politically connected middlemen who were paid big bucks by companies to help them get pension fund business.

Political hotshots being eyed for shepherding clients to the controller's office include former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, former Bronx Democratic Chairman Roberto Ramirez and lobbyist Patricia Lynch, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
In case you're wondering, all the aforementioned are Democrats.
Matthew Cuomo, a lawyer, said he was "outside counsel" for the upstate Port Jervis company. He was hired despite having no background or certification in the securities industry.

Asked why an outside counsel with no securities background was needed to pitch a multimillion-dollar investment deal, Matthew Cuomo said, "I think I know how to get in touch with people and contact people and make a pitch and that's all I was able to do - get to the right people and make the pitch for the client."
Of course if his name were Matthew Smith, you suppose he'd get this meeting scheduled?
He said he's known DiNapoli through Democratic circles since the 1990s.

"This is what gives politicians in Albany a bad name, that it is an insider club," said Susan Lerner of the watchdog group Common Cause. "Does the average member of the public have those connections and access?"

John Milgram, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said, "Under current law, there is nothing that bans a single meeting. However, the attorney general believes the law should be changed and has advocated as such."

Matthew Cuomo vehemently denied trying to profit from his family name.

"I don't work for my cousin and he doesn't work for me," he said.
Let's hope his cousin is no longer working for New Yorkers come 2011.

Meanwhile Cuomo, the ultimate insider, is calling tea partiers extremists.
"Maybe they have had some kind of success in some parts of the country, but there's no place in New York for Tea Party politics," Cuomo said yesterday in Harlem. Using "extremist" and "Tea Party" interchangeably, Cuomo stressed his opponent's links to the nationwide movement. "Carl Paladino's Tea Party . . . is a party that has extremist views," Cuomo said.
If New York has no room for supposed extremists, then why is Cuomo in bed with the far-left ACORN-led Working Families Party, as radical and extremist a group as can be found in America today?

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