Capitol Watch: Business council forum, Percoco politics
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In New York state government news, candidates for statewide office are taking their message to the state’s leading business advocacy organization.
The Business Council of New York State has invited Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Republican Marc Molinaro as well as contenders for attorney general and comptroller to address its annual conference on Lake George this week.
Meanwhile, Cuomo’s opponents are seizing on the recent sentencing of former top aide Joseph Percoco, saying it shows Cuomo isn’t up to the task of tackling Albany corruption.
A look at stories making news:
BUSINESS POLITICS: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his Republican rival, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, are the top invitees to the Business Council of New York State’s annual conference in Lake George.
Several candidates for state attorney general and state comptroller are expected to speak Monday or Tuesday at the event as well.
The influential organization meets each year at the Sagamore Resort at Bolton Landing. The event takes on a special importance in election years as candidates for legislative and statewide office seek support from state business leaders.
Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, Congressman John Faso and former Congressman Chris Gibson, all Republicans, are also scheduled to speak.
“No other event in the state offers this caliber of programming,” said Heather Bricetti, president and chief executive of the Business Council.
HOT PERCOCO: Joseph Percoco isn’t running for anything but you can expect to hear his name plenty of times before November.
The former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo — whom the governor once likened to a brother — was sentenced to six years in federal prison on Thursday for a bribery scheme related to state economic development funding.
Cuomo’s general election opponents, including Republican Marc Molinaro and independent former Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, are seizing on the case and Cuomo’s defense that he didn’t know about the misdeeds as evidence that the governor has failed to deliver on promises to address Albany’s chronic corruption problem.
Cuomo tried to turn the tables with a new campaign ad released the same day as Percoco’s sentencing. The spot accuses Molinaro of doing favors for a local architecture firm that donated to his campaign and briefly hired his wife. The total of the contributions? Just over $5,500 over several years.
Cuomo, meanwhile, took in more than $500,000 from executives and companies linked to a bid-rigging case involving state economic development funding. The governor has now given away more than $400,000 of the contributions to charity.
BACKUP LIBERAL? Howie Hawkins, Green Party candidate for governor, is wooing voters who cast a ballot for Cynthia Nixon in the recent Democratic primary, saying he can be their “plan B.”
Hawkins says he is the natural choice for liberals who had hoped the longtime activist and former “Sex and the City” star would oust Cuomo.
Hawkins placed third in the 2014 gubernatorial election against Cuomo and Republican Rob Astorino. He formally kicked off his 2018 run last week in Syracuse.
Hawkins said he’s an “eco-socialist” who will push for single-payer health care, higher taxes on the wealthy, more funding for subways and transit and a “Green New Deal” that does more to encourage renewable energy and eliminate fossil fuel demand.
“The good news is that we largely know how to move to 100 percent clean energy while creating millions of jobs, eliminating needless deaths from air pollution, and lowering energy costs,” he said. “All we need is the political will to act and the Greens have that in abundance.”