Lovett: Eric Schneiderman benefits from campaign finance loophole that he opposes
Kenneth Lovett, NY Daily News
July 20, 2015
ALBANY — State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations over the past six months — through a loophole he has said should be closed.
Since January, Schneiderman has received a combined $267,850 from more than 40 different limited-liability companies, his latest campaign disclosure filings show.
The LLC money was a hefty 13% of the $2 million Schneiderman raised in the first half of 2015.
The attorney general, who has been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2018, has been highly critical in recent months of the failure of Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature to enact a comprehensive campaign finance reform package.
Schneiderman also in April wrote a letter to the state Board of Elections calling on the body to close what is known as the LLC loophole, which allows wealthy campaign donors to skirt contribution limits by creating an unlimited amount of subsidiaries that have substantially higher donation limits than regular businesses.
“The so-called ‘LLC Loophole’ has made a mockery of the campaign finance rules enforced by the Board of Elections,” he wrote.
“We always wish that our reform-minded officials lead by example by starting to not take money that they’re pushing to end,” said Citizens Union’s executive director, Dick Dadey.
Team Schneiderman said he is not about to put himself at a competitive disadvantage by turning down LLC donations as long as they’re legal.
“Nothing would make enemies of reform happier than for Eric Schneiderman to unilaterally disarm,” a spokesman said. “He has no intention of doing so, just as he has no intention of letting up in his fight for the dramatic change necessary.”
State Controller Thomas DiNapoli has never been known as a fund-raising powerhouse, but the $264,372 he received the past six months was particularly paltry.
It was his lowest July filing since 2008, when he had taken over the scandal-scarred office just months earlier and did virtually no fund-raising.
DiNapoli, who actually was the leading vote-getter in last year’s state elections, has just $350,036 on hand. He’ll need a lot more than that if he really wants to run for governor in 2018, a possibility some have raised.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) will kick off his maiden upstate tour Tuesday by meeting with one of Cuomo’s harshest Democratic critics — Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner.
“She’s the mayor of a major city and it’s a good chance to learn about the needs of the city,” said Heastie spokesman Michael Whyland.
Miner, who was Cuomo’s hand-picked party co-chairwoman, had a falling-out with the governor after she repeatedly publicly criticized one of his policies.
Jennifer Rainville, a one-time city TV reporter who once made headlines as the mistress of disgraced news anchor Rob Morrison, is out as communications director for the Senate Independent Democratic Conference.
Rainville, who was on the public payroll since April 2014 and was making more than $150,000 a year, fell out of favor with conference leader Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx), sources said.
In a statement, spokeswoman Candice Giove said the conference “decided to go in a different direction with their press operation.”
Rainville took the high road, calling Klein “a good man, one of the last true public servants who cares deeply about his constituents.”