January 24th, 2016


Guests: 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Carl Paladino and State Senator John DeFrancisco

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2010 GOP Gubernatorial Nominee Carl Paladino

Paladino, a Trump supporter, responds to Rep. Chris Gibson’s criticism of Donald Trump a recent episode of Effective Radio that “I have concerns about giving that guy an army”:

CP: “Chris is a great guy, but unfortunately he’s spent a couple terms, I think it’s been two terms, maybe three terms, down in Washington and he has ‘Washington-itis.’ He’s caught this dreadful disease that is, without question—we can call it many other names like ‘establishment’ or ‘RINO.’ It’s the inability, it’s the paralyzing factor in the lives of these people to have to really deal with reality once they’re down there for one term or two terms. They get into that Washington syndrome. They sorta lose track of things.”

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Paladino on Preet Bharara, Andrew Cuomo and the Buffalo Billion:

CP: “Preet Bharara has shown the public and New York that he—and I don’t think he has a political bone in his body—I think the man is very earnestly trying to do the right thing for the people. And every step along the way he’s been totally candid and open. Fine, we don’t have what amounts to criminality in the case of the Moreland Commission disbanding or creation or whatever. But that doesn’t mean that these other issues aren’t important. In the case of the ‘Buffalo Billion’ and the building of Solar City, we have ridiculous contractual relationships that were illegally concocted by Cuomo with a guy named Lou Ciminelli. LP Ciminelli construction is building the project on open book with a guarantee of four percent profit on the total cost of the project and they cut a deal with labor unions where laborers get paid time and a half from the first hour. In other words, you don’t work forty hours and then get time and a half. You work from the first hour at time and a half rates. There’s corruption every place.”

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CP: “I think Joe Percoco is chirping like a canary right now to the U.S. Attorney. He’s a thug that doesn’t have a backbone and he doesn’t want to go to jail. He’s got a family to raise and so he’s chirping like a canary.”

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Paladino on corruption in Albany and the reluctance by the Legislature to pass campaign finance reform and additional ethics reforms in the wake of the Silver and Skelos convictions:

CP: “You have a corrupt legislature. They still can’t get out of their own way. With the indictment of both of their leaders, these people still push back on doing some kind of campaign finance reform. They are clueless. Talk about ‘Washington-itis,’ the Albany cesspool. It’s probably the quality of the people we send there. We send weak people, weak people who want to be led. They’re not leaders. They’re weak. They follow. Most of them are followers. And they’re connivers. They start playing the game and they start with this self-love thing. All of a sudden they become impenetrable and believe that they have some kind of immunity from getting themselves in trouble. And that’s what happened to Sheldon Silver. He was in office too long. Talk about a poster-child for term limits! This guy, he served in a capacity as a leader and built so much power that it was just unquestioned that anybody challenge him.”

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“Samuels/Paladino”— Bill Samuels runs through a series of reforms he favors to see if he and Paladino can built a left/right coalition supporting them.

BS: “A little exercise let’s do. While you and I may, and probably do, disagree on certain issues, I think there are certain areas where a Samuels/Paladino march on Albany by 2018 may change things.”

CP: “Get on the bus.”

MP: “Maybe you guys could run as a ticket, Bill.”

BS: “Absolutely.”

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Surprisingly, Samuels and Paladino agree on every proposed reform, including term limits for statewide office holder and the Legislature, pay increases for lawmakers in exchange for them going full-time and eliminating outside income, voting in favor of the Constitutional Convention in 2017, and Albany paying the local share of the Medicaid bill it currently foists upon the counties.

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Paladino says he is in favor of a “yes” vote in 2017 on the Constitutional Convention:

CP: “Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, on that issue, the Albany cesspool the last time this came up made it sound like ‘Oh, the politicians,’ meaning themselves, were going to be able to control it. But the way it’s designed, it shouldn’t happen.”

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State Senator John DeFrancisco

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DeFrancisco on John Flanagan’s leadership of the State Senate and how the chamber has changed in the wake of the Skelos conviction:

“The fact of the matter is in every profession there’s people that don’t do things right and people that are charged with crimes and people that are taken off the main chair on national news like one of the national newscasters who is now being rehabilitated. So every profession has their particular problems. John Flanagan, I can say unequivocally—I’ve served with him for many years—is a class guy. He’s of great integrity and he’s somebody that is going to do the right thing and will be a good leader. I think I can say the same thing about me and I think it’s the individuals you have to look at, as opposed to a crime that affects every senator or the brush is painted for every senator and every Assembly person. So, I think obviously people are going to be much, much more careful on what they do and making sure there’s never another instance … in the future that replicates the past that’s been not too good.”

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DeFrancisco argues that there isn’t need for additional ethics reforms, particularly the elimination of outside income:

“You’ve framed the question perfectly because the question really is what’s on the books right now and whether it’s effective enough to root out individuals who are doing wrong. Number one, we have been changing the ethics rules for years. Just about every year someone has new and much better ethics reform to make people act appropriately in the legislature.

However, the two most powerful people in the Legislature have been convicted of felonies and are facing serious jail time. Now that doesn’t happen just because there’s weak ethics bills or there’s weak criminal laws. The fact of the matter is that there’s laws on the books that effectively helped those convictions. For example, with Silver, one of the main proofs of intent of what he had in mind as far as getting legal fees is that he didn’t report that in the financial disclosure statements that have been modified over the years that require almost the blood test of your first-born child—I mean, you gotta disclose everything—the disclosure laws were violated and that showed pretty good intent to violate the laws concerning kickbacks.

So there’s plenty of laws on the books that have been effective. The ones that are being talked about, for example, elimination of outside income. The most important thing for me, I haven’t practiced law for about four years, but my whole political career I practiced law except up to four years ago. I had financial independence. My vote would never depend upon whether I have to win the election two years down the road. It gave me the flexibility to serve the public without being dependent on it. Whoever the genius is who has decided that if you eliminate outside income, you’re gonna reduce the likelihood of some type of misconduct, is really on the wrong end of this issue. And the reason is, if I stopped practicing law to serve the public, and I have to depend upon politics as my main occupation and profession, and I have a chance every two years of losing that position, I think I would be more motivated to do whatever I had to do get elected.

And if people thought through the issue, a lot of people would never run. I never would have ran if I had to give up my law practice. There’s people in the Senate, one’s a chiropractor, a contractor, a real estate agent, all these people that have other sources of income that would have to decide ‘Do I just stop my business and run every two years and hope I’m gonna win every time I run?’

I think it’s a very, very bad bill and I would never support that and I think a majority of people in the Senate wouldn’t. And I can go through all of them one at a time. So I think there’s got to be an understanding as to what caused these convictions and that is the ethics laws in effect right now and whether you want to extend it and end up losing good people that might otherwise not be members of the Legislature.”

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DeFrancisco notes that the LLC loophole should likely be closed:

Morgan Pehme: “So, Senator, just to be clear, you think that there’s enough ethics laws on the books right now and that we don’t need to have passed additional ethics legislation this session?”

JD: “I can’t say that blanket. You know, the LLC loophole is something that should be looked at very closely.”

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DeFrancisco says good government groups like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters should have to disclose their donors:

JD: “There’s all the other loopholes the more liberal people in politics take advantage of. There’s one that really kind of interests me mostly. We have the people primarily pushing for, and have been for years, reforms—Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and so forth. You know they don’t have disclose where their money comes from, who supports them … and they take stands on everything … and I think we would be surprised as to who is supporting all of these so-called good government groups. So if there’s going to be more disclosure, it should be the people that are criticizing what the legislators are disclosing. Maybe they should have some disclosure as well.”

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DeFrancisco says that despite Flanagan’s apparent support of paid family leave that the Senate Republicans are likely to oppose Gov. Cuomo’s plan for 12 weeks of paid family leave:

JD: “I think (Leader Flanagan’s) feeling is the same as mine and a majority of the Republicans that, if you look at the big picture without going through all the press releases that everybody says about how great the economy is coming, every ten years we have a (U.S.0 Census and that Census determines how many Congress members we have from the State of New York. And for the last several Censuses, including last year, we lost two Congressmen. And the way things are going we’re going to lose more because after the next Census because, in relation to other states, we’re losing more people.

Now we lose people for many reasons, but I think one of the main reasons is that we’re 49th or 50th in economic climate throughout the country. And so it’s nice to provide everything for all people, but as a practical matter, whether it’s paid family leave, whether it’s a $15 minimum wage for people that are in the food industry—primarily the fast food restaurants—every time you impose another burden on business, especially small business, we lose jobs.

We lose people and you don’t get the mail that I get. I get a heck of a lot more mail that ‘We can’t make it anymore and we’re going to close our facility.’ Carrier was one of our main manufacturers here. It just announced that they’re going to be cutting back on more jobs. Magna was a huge automobile manufacturer who had a strong union and a great relationship between union and management. They’re gone and it’s one thing after the other. It’s nice that we want to do things for people, but as a practical matter, my feeling is you’re just extending the burden and creating more possibilities for a loss of jobs and that doesn’t help anybody. That’s my feeling and I feel most Republicans feel the same way.”

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