Politics

Rep. Garrett’s Statement about the Obama Administration's Deal with Iran

altArticle sponsored by Ramapo Times Career Search

WASHINGTON, DC -- Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), a Member who served on the Iran sanctions conference committee, issued the following statement about the Obama administration’s deal with Iran:

 

"This 'deal' is no deal for the United States or our allies.  Rather, it continues this administration's pattern of negotiation, where the United States gives but receives nothing in return.

 

alt

 

"I am deeply dismayed that we are so quick to free up billions of dollars in assets and revenue streams that Iran can use to further finance international terror or restart its nuclear program.  If, months from now, Iran wants to renege on this 'deal' and resume its pursuit of nuclear weapons, it won't be any further from developing a bomb than it is today.

 

"Once again, President Obama's foreign policy 'win' weakens America, her allies, and our position in the world."

Article sponsored by Ramapo Times Career Search

Lowey Cosponsors Bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act

altBill Makes Ending Violence Against Women and Girls Around World a Priority of U.S. Foreign Policy

Fellow New Yorkers Congressmen Engel, Hanna, and Gibson Also Cosponsors

Lowey: “We must pass IVAWA to take real and meaningful steps toward protecting women, reducing poverty, and promoting economic development and stability around the world.”  

Article sponsored by Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation

Washington, D.C.  – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, and a bipartisan group of House lawmakers today introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), which makes ending violence against women and girls a priority of American foreign policy.

Also cosponsoring the legislation were bill author Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and New York members Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY),  Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY), and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

alt

 

Violence against women and girls remains prevalent worldwide; one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused over the course of her lifetime, and in some countries up to 70% of women and girls are affected by violence. According to a 2006 UN report, at least 102 countries around the world have no specific laws on domestic violence, and those countries with laws in place often fail to implement or enforce them. According to Amnesty International, the toll of gender-based violence on women's health surpasses that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.

To address this, IVAWA makes ending violence against women and girls around the world a priority of American foreign policy by requiring the State Department, in consultation with USAID, to develop and implement a comprehensive international strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls internationally; updating humanitarian aid and mechanisms for responding to emergency outbreaks of violence against women and girls abroad; and making permanent the Office for Global Women’s Issues in the State Department, led by the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. 

“Every day and in every nation, women are victims of violence. Today we say no more,” said Congresswoman Lowey.“Violence not only makes it harder for women to lead a healthy, safe, and productive life, this shameful scourge reverberates through every level of society and erodes stability, prosperity, and democracy.  That is why addressing violence against women and girls must be a priority of the United States. We must pass IVAWA to take real and meaningful steps toward protecting women, reducing poverty, and promoting economic development and stability around the world.”

 

alt

 

"Gender-based violence hurts women every day around the world,” said Congressman Richard Hanna (R-NY). “Today, we send a message to people everywhere that it is unacceptable. One in three women currently suffer gender-based violence, and we cannot be silent in the fight to end such abuse and repression. I commend the work and accomplishments that have been achieved to date by the Department of State and USAID and I look forward to such work continuing as a permanent fixture of our nation’s diplomacy. There is still much work to be done, and as a beacon of freedom and opportunity for all people, the United States must continue to play a leading role in this effort."

“Violence against women is a humanitarian tragedy, a vicious crime, a global health catastrophe, a roadblock to social and economic development and a threat to national security,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).  “When I traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I learned how rape was used for over a decade as a low-cost, low-tech, and horrifically effective weapon of war.  Sexual violence has been systematically used to destroy communities and to instill a sense of despair and hopelessness within a population.  IVAWA would make ending violence against women a U.S. foreign policy priority, promote health programs and survivor services, civil and criminal legal protections, educational opportunities and promotion of economic opportunities for women and girls.  Passage of IVAWA would give us critical tools in the fight against gender-based violence around the world.” 

“Preventing violence against women and girls around the world should be an important U.S. foreign policy priority,” said Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  “We are talking about an epidemic of violence – with one in three women around the world likely to be subject to some form of abuse during her life.  It’s clear to me that we need a coherent strategy for ensuring that our diplomatic and development efforts are more focused on preventing gender-based violence.  I hope that this legislation will provide such a roadmap -- and other tools – to help empower women and girls and prevent a new generation from becoming victims of abuse.”

 

alt

 

“After several combat, peacekeeping, and humanitarian tours overseas while serving in the United States Army, including to Iraq, Kosovo, and Haiti, one of the most significant international human rights issues that I saw is the prevalence of violence and discrimination against women and girls,” said Congressman Chris Gibson (R-NY).  “I am confident that this good government bill will go a long way to streamlining and effectively coordinating all U.S. efforts to reduce violence, electoral suppression, abuse, and other discriminatory actions that disproportionately affect women and girls.”

“We know that one in three women will experience abuse in her lifetime, meaning -shockingly- that one billion women alive today have experienced abuse,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “We must fight to liberate these women and girls from the shackles of bondage—both physical and figurative—that keep them from freedom. We must acknowledge that violence perpetrated against any woman, anywhere, impacts all women, everywhere. For women to be free, we must pass the International Violence Against Women Act and work tirelessly wherever we can to support global health, education, political participation, and women’s empowerment.”

Article sponsored by Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation

 

Governor Cuomo Appoints Moreland "Commission to Investigate Public Corruption," with Attorney General Schneiderman Designating Commission Members as Deputy Attorneys General

altBipartisan Commission to Include Top Law Enforcement, Comprising Former US Attorneys, District Attorneys from Across the State & Policy Experts in Elections


Article sponsored by Hudson Valley Business Directory

Albany, NY  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the formation of the “Commission to Investigate Public Corruption” under the Moreland Act and Executive Law Section 63(8) to probe systemic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections in New York State. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he will appoint the members of the Commission as Deputy Attorneys General, giving the Commission broad-based authority to investigate all matters that “involve public peace, public safety, and public justice.” Under the Executive Order, the Commission will also have the power to subpoena and examine witnesses under oath as well as subpoena any necessary records. The Governor’s action follows several recent proven and alleged incidents of corruption and misconduct by public officials that have shown that current laws are inadequate and reforms are necessary to guard against abuses, ensure accountability in government, address the need for reform in our campaign finance laws, and restore the public’s confidence and trust in state government and state elections.

 

“We must root out corruption in politics and government,” Governor Cuomo said. “This session, I put forward the most comprehensive and aggressive legislative package Albany has seen in decades to address the corrosive influence of money in elections, strengthen prosecutors’ ability to fight corruption, increase penalties against those who violate the public trust, and give voters more access to the ballot box. From the beginning, I said I would not accept a watered-down approach to cleaning up Albany and that the Legislature must either pass this legislative package or I would empanel an investigative commission tasked with accomplishing these same goals to achieve reform. Since the Legislature has failed to act, today I am formally empanelling a Commission to Investigate Public Corruption pursuant to the Moreland Act and Section 63(8) of the Executive Law that will convene the best minds in law enforcement and public policy from across New York to address weaknesses in the State’s public corruption, election and campaign finance laws, generate transparency and accountability, and restore the public trust.”

 

alt

“New Yorkers want real reform, and expect and deserve the officials they put in office to be working to serve the public interest, not their own,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This commission will be able to conduct a top to bottom investigation of New York State’s government, and move us forward to repair our broken political process, strengthen our representative democracy and give New Yorkers the quality of leadership they deserve.”

 

“By convening this Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, Governor Cuomo is taking an aggressive and necessary step to strengthen our laws so that we can more effectively combat corruption in New York State government,” said Co-Chair William J. Fitzpatrick. “The Commission will be a powerful body to root out those who take advantage and defraud the public. I am pleased to be a part of the Governor’s efforts to return the public’s trust in government and enhance our democracy. He has put together a team of leading prosecutors and policy experts that I am proud to be a part of, and together we will work to clean up Albany once and for all.”

 

“Governor Cuomo has made it clear that corruption in New York’s government will not be tolerated,” said Co-Chair Kathleen Rice. “Over the past two and a half years, he has taken bold steps to restore integrity in state government and this past legislative session, he proposed major reforms to fight public corruption and ensure fairer and honest elections. The Moreland Commission on Public Corruption will carry out those important goals by undertaking a thorough investigation and review of existing laws so that we can find ways to improve them and protect the rights of New Yorkers. I thank the Governor for his leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with some of the best law enforcement and public policy professionals in this state.”

 

“The culture of corruption in Albany has undermined New Yorkers' faith in their government, and something must be done to create fundamental change,” said Co-Chair Milton L. Williams, Jr. “I am honored to be working with the Governor, the Attorney General and my fellow Commissioners to investigate and expose the problems and lead the charge for reform. The work of this historic commission will not be done until we have restored the public trust. Those who abuse that trust are on notice."

 

alt

The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption will have broad investigative authority under the Moreland Act and Executive Law Section 63(8). Previous commissions established by former governors, including Governors Mario Cuomo, Thomas Dewey, and Nelson Rockefeller, conducted investigations to uncover the facts involving corruption and misconduct in many different areas, including, for example, certain private industries, local governments, state agencies, political campaigns for all State offices and political parties. These past commissions provide strong precedents for the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption’s broad jurisdiction. Challenges to these Commissions’ subpoenas were filed by local officials, private individuals, and political parties, and were rejected by the courts in every instance.

 

The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption will be tasked with thoroughly reviewing the adequacy of existing state laws, regulations and procedures involving unethical and unlawful misconduct by public officials, and the electoral process and campaign finance laws. The Commission will also examine whether existing laws have been fairly and vigorously enforced, and what changes must be made to such enforcement. During the Commission’s investigation, it will also review recent instances of reported misconduct by officials to determine causes and adequacy of laws and enforcement tools to more effectively prevent and punish this kind of misconduct in the future. The Commission is directed to make recommendations to toughen and improve existing laws and procedures.

 

Areas where the Commission will focus its investigation include but are not limited to:

  • Criminal statutes for corruption and misconduct by public officials, such as bribery laws .
  • Campaign financing including but not limited to contribution limits and other restrictions; disclosure of third-party contributions and expenditures; and the effectiveness of existing campaign finance laws.
  • Compliance of outside organizations and persons with existing lobbying laws, including but not limited to organizations engaged in lobbying and other efforts to influence public policies and elections, and the effectiveness of such laws.
  • Adequacy and enforcement of the State’s election laws and electoral process including: the structure and composition of the State and County Boards of Elections, the Board of Elections’ enforcement, and the effectiveness of and compliance with existing election laws.

During its investigation, the Commission is mandated to promptly communicate any evidence of violations of existing law to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, including the Attorney General. In such cases, the State Police will make jurisdictional referrals to the Attorney General where appropriate.

The Commission will issue a preliminary report on its initial findings and recommendations by December 1, 2013.

 

alt

The Commission to Investigate Public Corruption (Moreland Commission) Includes:

Co-Chairs:

Kathleen Rice became the Nassau County District Attorney in 2006. Prior to becoming the first woman in Long Island’s history to be elected district attorney, Rice served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Philadelphia. Rice began her career as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted cases of domestic violence, sexual assault and armed robbery, and later, murder cases. D.A. Rice is a graduate of the Catholic University of America and Touro Law School.

 

William J. Fitzpatrick has served as Onondaga County's District Attorney for the past 28 years. Prior to serving as D.A., he was a defense attorney. In 2007 D.A. Fitzpatrick was appointed as the New York State representative to the National District Attorney's Association, and he was elected Secretary in 2011. In 2010, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman appointed D.A. Fitzpatrick to the New York State Permanent Sentencing Commission. He is a graduate of Syracuse University and Syracuse University Law School.

 

Milton L. Williams, Jr. joined the firm of Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard as a partner in January 2009. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Williams was a Deputy General Counsel and the Chief Compliance Officer at Time Inc. Before working at Time, Mr. Williams was in private practice, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. His last assigned unit in the United States Attorney's Office was the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Prior to becoming a federal prosecutor, Mr. Williams was an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Milt has tried over fifty cases (both civil and criminal) to verdict. He is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor.

 

alt

Commission Members:

J. Patrick Barrett has been Chief Executive Officer of CARPAT Investments since 1987. He has previously served as President of Telergy, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer of Avis, Inc. Earlier in his business career, he served as an Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Norton Simon, Inc. Mr. Barrett assumed the Norton Simon post after a long career at Carrier Corporation, where he served in various positions, starting as Assistant Treasurer in 1964 and rising to President of Carrier International Corporation in 1977. In 1989, he was elected Chairman of the New York Republican State Committee, a post he held until 1991. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board at the Olympic Regional Development Authority. Mr. Barrett is a graduate of Siena College.

 

Richard Briffault is the Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation at Columbia Law School. His primary areas of teaching, research and writing are state and local government law and the law of the political process. Prior to joining the Columbia faculty in 1983, he was an Assistant Counsel to the Governor of the State of New York. He has served as the executive director of the Special Commission on Campaign Finance Reform of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, as well as a consultant to the New York City Charter Revision Commission and the New York State Commission on Constitutional Revisions. Professor Briffault attended Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

 

Daniel J. Castleman is a senior managing director in the Forensic and Litigation Consulting practice at FTI Consulting and is based in New York. Prior to joining FTI Consulting, Mr. Castleman spent nearly 30 years at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Castleman started his career there in 1979 as an appellate and street crime prosecutor. He then became a Senior Investigative Counsel in the Rackets Bureau handling political corruption and organized crime cases. After three years, Mr. Castleman became the Chief of the Rackets Bureau in 1990. In 1993, Mr. Castleman was promoted to Chief of the Investigation Division. Mr. Castleman then became Chief Assistant District Attorney in 2008. Mr. Castleman is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia Law School.

 

Derek P. Champagne became District Attorney of Franklin County in 2002. Prior to serving as District Attorney, D.A. Champagne was a United States Customs Officer, served as the Village Attorney in Malone, New York, and was an Assistant District Attorney and later the Chief A.D.A. for Franklin County. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the New York State District Attorney's Association, as Vice-Chair of New York State Sentencing Commission, as a member of the New York State Justice Taskforce and also as a member of the Chief Judge's Advisory Committee on Criminal Procedure and Criminal Law. He previously served as the President of the New York State District Attorney's Association. D.A. Champagne is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and Franklin Pierce Law School at the University of New Hampshire.

 

Eric Corngold leads the white-collar criminal defense and investigations practice of the law firm Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman, LLP. As New York State's Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice from 2007 to 2009, Mr. Corngold was the principal advisor to the New York Attorney General on litigation and policy concerning financial markets, antitrust matters, corporate and consumer fraud and housing. Prior to his time in the AG's office, Mr. Corngold was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York for more than a decade, ultimately serving as Chief of the Criminal Division. Mr. Corngold is currently an adjunct Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law, where he teaches a course on white collar crime. Mr. Corngold is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Yale Law School.

 

Kathleen B. Hogan has served as the Warren County District Attorney since 2002 and is the first woman to hold the position. Earlier in her career, D.A. Hogan worked as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, and in private practice at Fitzgerald, Morris, Baker, and Firth, P.C. D.A. Hogan has served on Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's Justice Task Force, the Sentencing Commission and the Children's Justice Task Force. She served as president of the New York State District Attorneys Association from 2009 to 2010. D.A. Hogan attended St. Lawrence University and the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

 

Nancy Hoppock is the Executive Director of the NYU Center on the Administration of Criminal Law. Before joining NYU, Ms. Hoppock served as the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice at the New York Attorney General's Office supervising the Public Integrity Bureau, the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the Organized Crime Task Force, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Taxpayer Protection Unit, and the Investigations Division. Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Hoppock served as an Assistant United States Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey from 2001 to 2010. During her tenure at the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ms. Hoppock was promoted to supervise the Government Fraud Unit, then became a Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and later the Chief of the Criminal Division. Ms. Hoppock started her career at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she spent seven years as an Assistant District Attorney in the trial division. She received her B.A. from the University of Delaware and her law degree from Seton Hall Law School.

 

Seymour W. James, Jr., is the Attorney-in-Charge of the criminal practice of The Legal Aid Society in New York City. Mr. James recently completed his term as President of the New York State Bar Association. Active in the State Bar since 1978, Mr. James served as treasurer from 2008 to 2011. He is also a fellow of the New York Bar Foundation and a member of the board of directors of the New York State Defenders Association. Mr. James is a past president of the Queens County Bar Association. In addition to his bar association activities, Mr. James is a member of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s Justice Task Force, the New York State Permanent Sentencing Commission, the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department, the Committee on Character and Fitness for the Second Judicial Department and the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission for the Second Judicial Department. He also serves as the secretary of the Correctional Association. Mr. James is a graduate of Brown University and Boston University School of Law.

 

David Javdan is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal. Prior to joining Alvarez & Marsal, Mr. Javdan was General Counsel of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Mr. Javdan has served as a member of the Acquisition Advisory Panel, which reviews and proposes changes to federal procurement laws. He was also a member of the board of directors of the New York State Banking Department, and previously he served as Special Counsel to the New York State Senate on Holocaust and Health Care issues. Before joining the U.S. Small Business Administration, Mr. Javdan was an attorney with the law firm Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. Mr. Javdan is a graduate of Columbia University and Fordham Law School.

 

Robert Johnson has been the District Attorney of Bronx County since 1989. He is the first African-American District Attorney in the history of New York State, and, in 2005, became the longest-serving District Attorney in Bronx history. He began his career as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society, and later became a Bronx Assistant District Attorney. He has also served as a Judge of the New York City Criminal Court, and as an Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. D.A. Johnson, a United States Navy Veteran, is past President of the New York State District Attorneys Association and a present member of the Board of Directors of that organization. He graduated from the City College of New York and New York University School of Law.

 

David R. Jones is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Service Society of New York (CSS), a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that promotes economic advancement and full civic participation for low-income New Yorkers. From 1983 to 1986, he served as Executive Director of the New York City Youth Bureau, and from 1979 to 1983, was Special Advisor to Mayor Koch with responsibilities in race relations, urban development, immigration reform, and education. He has served on several boards, including serving as Chairman of the Board of the Nation Institute, Chairman of the Board of Carver Federal Savings Bank and a former Chair of the Advisory Board of New York City’s Independent Budget Office. He served for 12 years on the board of trustees of Wesleyan University and is now a Trustee Emeritus. Prior to his nonprofit and public service careers, Mr. Jones was an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and Yale Law School.

 

alt

Lance Liebman is the William S. Beinecke Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and the current Director of the American Law Institute. After serving as a Law Clerk to Justice Byron White of the United States Supreme Court, he spent two years working on transportation and community issues as an assistant to then-New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay. He joined the faculty of Harvard Law School in 1970 and remained there for 21 years, becoming a full professor in 1976 and serving as Associate Dean from 1981 to 1984. In 1991 he moved to Columbia as the dean of the law school and as the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law. Professor Liebman graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School.

 

Joanne M. Mahoney was elected in November 2007 as the first woman County Executive for Onondaga County. After spending time in private law practice early in her career, County Executive Mahoney accepted a position with the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office and spent five years there as a criminal prosecutor. In 1999, she was elected Councilor-at-Large in the City of Syracuse where she served a four year term. County Executive Mahoney lives in Dewitt. She graduated from Syracuse University's School of Management and SU's College of Law.

 

Gerald F. Mollen has served as the Broome County District Attorney since 1987, after having served as an Assistant District Attorney in Broome County since 1980. Prior to 1980, D.A. Mollen worked as an Assistant County Attorney and an Assistant Attorney General. As District Attorney, D.A. Mollen helped to establish a Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Review Team, the Broome County Gang Task Force and, in 2001, the Broome County Gang Prevention Program, and instituted protocols for start-to-finish recording of suspect interviews by police in major felony cases. D.A. Mollen attended Binghamton University and George Washington University Law School.

 

Makau W. Mutua is the Dean of SUNY Buffalo Law School, as well as a SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar at SUNY Buffalo Law School. He teaches international human rights, international business transactions and international law. Dean Mutua is a Vice President of the American Society of International Law and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2002 to 2003, Dean Mutua chaired the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission, which recommended a truth commission for Kenya. He is the author of several books, and he has conducted numerous human rights, diplomatic and rule of law missions to countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Prior to joining the faculty at SUNY Buffalo Law School, Dean Mutua worked at Human Rights First, the Harvard Law School Human Rights Program, and in private practice. Born in Kenya, Mutua attended the University of Nairobi, the University of Dar es Salaam, and Harvard Law School.

 

Benito Romano is currently a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. For twenty years, he was a partner and the leader of the white collar defense practice group at Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Mr. Romano previously served as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Prior to being named U.S. Attorney in 1989, Mr. Romano was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and served as Chief of Public Corruption and Chief Appellate Attorney. Mr. Romano has also served on the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board, including as Acting Chair, on the 1998 Charter Revision Commission, and as a member and former chair of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. He is currently chair of the New York State Interest on Lawyer Account Fund. He attended New York University and Columbia University Law School.

 

Frank A. Sedita III became District Attorney of Erie County in November 2008. Prior to becoming D.A. he served as an Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy District Attorney in Erie County. D.A. Sedita is a member of the adjunct faculty at SUNY Buffalo Law School and also teaches at the National College of District Attorneys, the New York Prosecutors Training Institute and the Erie County District Attorney's Office Continuing Legal Education Program. He is a lecturer and instructor for prosecution agencies throughout the United States. D.A. Sedita graduated from Canisius College and SUNY Buffalo Law School.

 

P. David Soares has served as the Albany County District Attorney since 2005. Prior to serving as District Attorney, he was an Assistant District Attorney in Albany County, and Albany County’s first Community Prosecutor. During his tenure, D.A. Soares has created Public Integrity and Financial Crime Units within the office. D.A. Soares is a graduate of Cornell University and Albany Law School.

 

Kristy Sprague has served as the Essex County District Attorney since 2009. Prior to serving as the D.A., she was an Assistant District Attorney in Clinton County. D.A. Sprague is a graduate of SUNY Albany, Plattsburgh State, and Albany Law School.

 

Betty Weinberg Ellerin is currently a senior counsel at the law firm Alston & Bird, LLP. Prior to joining Alston, Justice Weinberg Ellerin served for more than twenty years as a judge. During that time, she served as Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York City Courts and as Associate Justice and Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department. Justice Weinberg Ellerin attended Washington Square College and New York University School of Law.

 

Peter L. Zimroth is a partner at Arnold & Porter LLP, where he focuses on products liability, commercial, securities, and white collar crime matters. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Zimroth was Corporation Counsel of the City of New York. He was the architect of the City's law providing for the public financing of elections, a law which has become the model for local legislation around the country. Earlier in his career, Mr. Zimroth served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Securities Fraud Unit, and as the Chief Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. Mr. Zimroth was a tenured professor at the New York University School of Law and a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School.

 

Thomas P. Zugibe was elected Rockland County District Attorney in 2007, and re-elected to a four year term in 2011. Earlier in his career, D.A. Zugibe worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the New York State Deputy Attorney General for Medicaid Fraud Control and as an Assistant District Attorney and Executive Assistant District Attorney in the Rockland County D.A.’s office. He also worked for two decades in private practice, concentrating on personal injury and commercial litigation. D.A. Zugibe attended Manhattan College and St. John’s University School of Law.

 

alt

Special Advisors:

Joseph A. D'Amico is the Superintendent of the New York State Police. Prior to his confirmation as Superintendent, Superintendent D'Amico served as Chief Investigator for the Office of the New York State Attorney General, where he oversaw and coordinated the efforts of 300 criminal and civil investigators statewide. Prior to that, Superintendent D'Amico had a twenty-seven year career with the New York City Police Department, where he served in many patrol and investigative assignments in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens, ultimately rising to the rank of Deputy Chief. He is a graduate of the State University of New York.

 

Raymond W. Kelly has served as Police Commissioner of the City of New York since 2002. Commissioner Kelly was formerly Senior Managing Director of Global Corporate Security at Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. Before that, he served as Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service. From 1996 to 1998, Commissioner Kelly was Under Secretary for Enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department. In addition, Mr. Kelly served on the executive committee and was elected Vice President for the Americas of Interpol, the international police organization, from 1996 to 2000. In 1994, he was appointed to serve as Director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti. He is a forty-three year veteran of the NYPD. Commissioner Kelly graduated from Manhattan College, St. John's University School of Law and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

 

Robert M. Morgenthau will serve as Special Counsel to the Commission. Mr. Morgenthau was the District Attorney for New York County from 1975 to 2009. In his nine terms in office, his staff conducted approximately 3.5 million criminal prosecutions, and reduced homicides in Manhattan by over 90%. In addition, Mr. Morgenthau was known as a national leader in the prosecution of white collar crime. Prior to serving as D.A., Mr. Morgenthau, a United States Navy veteran, was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and worked in private practice. He attended Amherst College and Yale Law School.

 

Barbara Bartoletti has been the Legislative Director for the League of Women Voters of New York since 1988, and a member of the League of Women Voters since 1978.

 

Regina Calcaterra will serve as Executive Director; Danya Perry will serve as Chief of Investigations; Kelly Donovan will serve as Chief Counsel; and John Amodeo will serve as Legislative Director.

Article sponsored by Hudson Valley Business Directory

Dark Money Group Spent on House Race, Then Told IRS It Didn’t

altArticle sponsored by Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation

Shortly before Election Day last year, mailerswent out to Texas voters featuring pictures of a Democratic congressional candidate and a rare species of spider, whose discovery hadforced stoppage of an important highway construction project.

“The same left-wing extremists who support Pete Gallego want more burdensome regulations that put the interests of spiders above our need to create more jobs,” the flier declared, referring to discovery of the endangered Braken Bat Cave meshweaver. “The best way to stop left-wing extremists from killing jobs is to vote against their hand-picked candidate Pete Gallego.”

 

The group that put out the mailer, A Better America Now, reported to the Federal Election Commission it had spent about $65,000 for the mailer and TV advertising in the hard-fought race to represent Texas’ 23rd district.

But in a tax return recently filed with the IRS, the group claimed it did not spend any money at all on “direct or indirect political campaign activities.”

 

alt

The tax return is signed under the penalty of perjury by the group’s president, Bob Portrie, and the accounting firm LBA Group. Neither responded to requests for comment.

We first reported on A Better America Now earlier this year, showing it had told the IRS in a 2011 application for nonprofit status that it did not plan to spend any money on elections. (That document was sent to ProPublica last year by the IRS, even though the application was still pending and thus not supposed to be released.)

(San Antonio Express-News/Vianna Davila)

(San Antonio Express-News/Vianna Davila)

“This type of inaccurate reporting by electioneering nonprofit groups has a long history,” says Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, when asked about the group’s most recent filing. “It is rooted in the fact that the IRS almost never holds these groups accountable for such false declarations.”

A Better America Now was a bit player in the elections. But it’s also an example of the kind of increasingly common outside groups that inject anonymous money into political campaigns.

Such social welfare nonprofits are not supposed to have political campaign activity as their primary purpose — but the ambiguities around how the IRS measures such activity and how it screens the groups are at the center of the recent investigations of the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups.

ProPublica has documented how nonprofits that spent millions of dollars on ads in the 2010 elections failed to report or underreported that political spending to the IRS. The tax form that the groups are required to file with the IRS specifically asks for details on any campaign spending.

 

alt

One of the curious things about A Better America Now is that, though the group spent money in a congressional and a state legislative race in southwest Texas, it is based a few miles off the beach near Jacksonville, Florida

The president of A Better America Now, Portrie, is also the head of a consulting firm, theFenwick Group. The two groups are listed at the same address. Fenwick’s website says it works with “organizations across the healthcare, financial services, insurance, retail and investment sectors.”

Portrie and Fenwick were also linked to ads run by another Florida-based social welfare nonprofit, America is Not Stupid, in last year’s U.S. Senate race in Montana. Ads by America is Not Stupid featured a talking baby complaining about alleged cuts to Medicare by President Obama, and referring to the baby’s stinking diaper.

In 2010, the New York Times reported on links between the Fenwick Group and yet another politically active nonprofit, the Coalition to Protect Seniors. Ads by that group featured the same talking baby ad.

In last year’s race in Texas, which attracted a lot of outside spending on both sides, the Democrat, Gallego, prevailed over Republican incumbent Quico Canseco.

Article sponsored by Vincent Crotty Memorial Foundation

IRS Office That Targeted Tea Party Also Disclosed Confidential Docs From Conservative Groups

Article sponsored by Hudson Valley Business Directory

The same IRS office that deliberatelytargeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year.

The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.

In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

On Friday, Lois Lerner, the head of the division on tax-exempt organizations, apologized to Tea Party and other conservative groups because the IRS’ Cincinnati office had unfairly targeted them. Tea Party groups had complained in early 2012 that they were being sent overly intrusive questionnaires in response to their applications.

That scrutiny appears to have gone beyond Tea Party groups to applicants saying they wanted to educate the public to “make America a better place to live” or that criticized how the country was being run, according to a draft audit cited by many outlets. The full audit, by the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, will reportedly be released this week. (ProPublica was not contacted by the inspector general’s office.) (UPDATE May 14: The audit has been released.)  

Before the 2012 election, ProPublica devoted months to showing how dozens of social-welfare nonprofits had misled the IRS about their political activity on their applications and tax returns. Social-welfare nonprofits are allowed to spend money to influence elections, as long as their primary purpose is improving social welfare. Unlike super PACs and regular political action committees, they do not have to identify their donors.

In 2012, nonprofits that didn’t have to report their donors poured an unprecedented $322 million into the election. Much of that money — 84 percent — came from conservative groups. 

As part of its reporting, ProPublica regularly requested applications from the IRS’s Cincinnati office, which is responsible for reviewing applications from nonprofits.

Social welfare nonprofits are not required to apply to the IRS to operate. Many politically active new conservative groups apply anyway. Getting IRS approval can help with donations and help insulate groups from further scrutiny. Many politically active new liberal nonprofits have not applied.  

Applications become public only after the IRS approves a group’s tax-exempt status.

On Nov. 15, 2012, ProPublica requested the applications of 67 nonprofits, all of which had spent money on the 2012 elections. (Because no social welfare groups with Tea Party in their names spent money on the election, ProPublica did not at that point request their applications. We had requested the Tea Party applications earlier, after the groups first complained about being singled out by the IRS. In response, the IRS said it could find no record of the tax-exempt status of those groups — typically how it responds to requests for unapproved applications.)

Just 13 days after ProPublica sent in its request, the IRS responded with the documents on 31 social welfare groups.

One of the applications the IRS released to ProPublica was from Crossroads GPS, the largest social-welfare nonprofit involved in the 2012 election. The group, started in part by GOP consultant Karl Rove, promised the IRS that any effort to influence elections would be “limited.” The group spent more than $70 million from anonymous donors in 2012.

Applications were sent to ProPublica from five other social welfare groups that had told the IRS that they wouldn’t spend money to sway elections.  The other groups ended up spending more than $5 million related to the election, mainly to support Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Much of that money was spent by the Arizona group Americans for Responsible Leadership. The remaining four groups that told the IRS they wouldn’t engage in political spending were Freedom Path, Rightchange.com II, America Is Not Stupid and A Better America Now. 

The IRS also sent ProPublica the applications of three small conservative groups that told the agency that they would spend some money on politics: Citizen Awareness Project, the YG Network and SecureAmericaNow.org. (No unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.)

The IRS cover letter sent with the documents was from the Cincinnati office, and signed by Cindy Thomas, listed as the manager for Exempt Organizations Determinations, whom a biography for a Cincinnati Bar Association meeting in January says has worked for the IRS for 35 years. (Thomas often signed the cover letters of responses to ProPublica requests.) The cover letter listed an IRS employee named Sophia Brown as the person to contact for more information about the records. We tried to contact both Thomas and Brown today but were unable to reach them.

After receiving the unapproved applications, ProPublica tried to determine why they had been sent. In emails, IRS spokespeople said ProPublica shouldn’t have received them.

“It has come to our attention that you are in receipt of application materials of organizations that have not been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt,” wrote one spokeswoman, Michelle Eldridge. She cited a law saying that publishing unauthorized returns or return information was a felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

In response, ProPublica’s then-general manager and now president, Richard Tofel, said, "ProPublica believes that the information we are publishing is not barred by the statute cited by the IRS, and it is clear to us that there is a strong First Amendment interest in its publication.”

ProPublica also redacted parts of the application to omit financial information.

Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for Crossroads GPS, declined to comment today on whether he thought the IRS’s release of the group’s application could have been linked to recent news that the Cincinnati office was targeting conservative groups.

Last December, Collegio wrote in an email: “As far as we know, the Crossroads application is still pending, in which case it seems that either you obtained whatever document you have illegally, or that it has been approved.”

This year, the IRS appears to have changed the office that responds to requests for nonprofits’ applications. Previously, the IRS asked journalists to fax requests to a number with a 513 area code — which includes Cincinnati. ProPublica sent a request by fax on Feb. 5 to the Ohio area code. On March 13, that request was answered by David Fish, a director of Exempt Organizations Guidance, in Washington, D.C. 

In early April, a ProPublica reporter’s request to the Ohio fax number bounced back. An IRS spokesman said at the time the number had changed “recently.” The new fax number begins with 202, the area code for Washington, D.C. 

For more on the IRS and nonprofits active in politics, read Kim Barker's investigation, "How nonprofits spend millions on elections and call it public welfare", our Q&A on dark money, and our full coverage of the issue.  

Article sponsored by Hudson Valley Business Directory

Please Support Our Advertisers




Slideshow 

http://www.ramapotimes.com/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/676383celebration.jpg

Celebration on Ice

Suffern High School 2012 New York State Champions celebrate their win in Utica. See details

http://www.ramapotimes.com/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/472577scholer.jpg

Suffern's Steve Scholer puts S

Air Redgate takes off. Photo Album 1 Photo Album 2 --Note: Due to issues uploading with Facebook, additional photos will be available later in the day/ What started out all wrong, ended up all See details

http://www.ramapotimes.com/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/818952Welcome_to_West_Point.jpg

West Point

Welcome to West Point.  A West Point player welcomes Brown University's goaltender to the Academy. See details

http://www.ramapotimes.com/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/355231SectionChamps.jpg

Section Championship

Suffern captain John Redgate finds the back of the net during the section championship game against ETB at West Point. See details

http://www.ramapotimes.com/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/954055nygiants.jpg

NY Giants Training Facility

A huge mural that lines one of the hallways in the 2012 Super Bowl champion New York Giants training facility also known as the Timex Performance Center. See details

http://www.ramapotimes.com/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/185577bouldersboard.jpg

Boulders Scoreboard

The high tech scoreboard at Provident Bank Park, home of the Rockland Boulders. See details

http://www.ramapotimes.com/components/com_gk3_photoslide/thumbs_big/723490mollica3rd.jpg

Mollica

The Rockland Boulder's Ryan Mollica waits to make the tag at third base. See details

Headlines

Latest comments