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Campbell - Docs Sent - 7.20.12

Campbell - Docs Sent - 7.20.12

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Published by Jon Campbell

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Published by: Jon Campbell on Jul 20, 2012
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07/19/2013

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 June 4, 2012Danny HakimAlbany Bureau Chief The New York TimesThe Capitol, Third Floor Albany, New York 12224Dear Danny:From your questions and Nick Confessore’s comments to people, we understand the story youare trying to construct. We have seen this play before. Your scenario suggests unethical, if notillegal, conduct on the administration’s part, or in the alternative, a malicious or recklessdisregard for the facts on your part. We therefore believe it is best to respond in writing. Your questions suggest, and the theory Confessore espouses essentially suggests, that gaming interestscontributed to CSNY, a purported political entity for the Governor, and that monetary support prompted the Governor’s support for casinos in New York. The suggestion is obviouslyinsulting and sensational but more, is also dead wrong. Your theory is factually animpossibility: the Governor came out for casinos first, and then the gaming interests joined withCSNY to support the legislation’s passage.Here are the facts:
x
 
July, 2010: While campaigning for Governor, Cuomo came out in support of commercialcasinos, stating: "I support casino gambling. We have to make this (Sullivan) county adestination.” (Middletown Times Herald Record)
x
 
May 2011: Massachusetts begins hearings on casino gaming bill.
x
 
June 2011: Governor appoints Ben Liebman as Deputy Secretary for Gaming andRacing, noting that he is an expert in casino gambling and legalized gaming, and chargeshim with developing a statewide gaming plan.
x
 
August 2011: Massachusetts Governor and leaders agree on casino gaming package.
x
 
August 9, 2011: Governor Cuomo says he is open to legalization of full scale casinogambling – NEW YORK TIMES, August 9
th
, Thomas Kaplan.
 
2
x
 
August 10, 2011: New York may yet have commercial, non-Indian casinos as part of acomprehensive gambling plan, Gov. Andrew Cuomo – ASSOCIATED PRESS, August10
th
, Michael Gormley.
x
 
August 10, 2011: Gov. Cuomo said yesterday it may be time for the state to go all in oncasinos – NY Daily News, August 10
th
, Glenn Blain.
x
 
September 2011: Quinnipiac Poll shows majority of New Yorkers support casino gamingin NY.
x
 
September 2011: Published reports say that Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Skeloswill support legalized gaming in NY.
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 November 2011: Massachusetts statehouse passes and Governor signs into law casinogaming bill.
x
 
December 2011: The time when Confessore says gaming interests contributed to CSNY.Thus, the Governor’s position on casino gaming was established and articulated prior even to theexistence of CSNY, let alone Genting’s association with them. So, as a factual matter your theory is impossible. There can be no cause and effect because the Governor’s position camefirst. In truth, the gaming interests joined with CSNY to get the legislature to pass the law thatthe Governor initiated. Also, and most important, and as your reporters fully know, theGovernor OPPOSES the central position of the gaming interests. The racino interests wantcasinos to be located exclusively at their racing tracks. The Governor insists on an opencompetition which would allow casinos to be located anywhere in the state. The gamingcompanies in question are diametrically opposed to the Governor’s interests and will be hisgreatest obstacle in getting the casino legislation passed next year. The administration told track owners that we will never support casinos at racino sites exclusively and we should all cooperateto get the law passed by the legislature this year and reserve our controversy for next year. Wesuspect that is what you mean by “encouraging them to work with CSNY” (whatever thatmeans). Your reporters also know that the main gaming company, Genting, was in talks with theadministration for 6 months and never consummated an agreement for a racino/conventioncenter. To try to suggest an improper relationship between the Governor and gaming interests isto distort the facts in a malicious or reckless manner.To address other points broached by you or Confessore:First, you have suggested that CSNY has improperly “coordinated” with the Governor’s staff.This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the law. CSNY is a lobbying organization; it is not anelection committee. The prohibition against coordination or more precisely the need for “independence” only applies to election committees. Under both federal and New York electionlaws, activities by a purportedly independent group cannot be "in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of" a candidate, candidate's campaign committee or any agent of the candidate, or else it is not independent and may be treated as a direct
 
3contribution. 2 USC 441A(a)(7)(B)(i); see NY Elec. L. 14-100(9)(3). Such rules regardingcoordination are applicable to PACs and super PACs in the context of an electioncampaign. They are inapplicable here.By contrast, for an issue advocacy and lobbying organization such as CSNY -- a 501(c)(4) non- profit corporation and not a PAC or "political committee" -- such coordination with electedofficials is wholly proper, common and necessary. Groups and individuals advocating for changes to laws or spending priorities work with legislators and electeds every day to enact or to block such changes. Lobbying organizations by law and by definition must work in concert withelected officials to support or oppose.You suggest that CSNY’s purpose is to help Governor Cuomo politically. Your analysis seemsto confuse two issues. The first is the effect of political organizations, directed by or coordinatedwith the candidate, such as super PACs, without financial limits and without adequatedisclosure. The second is the effect of lobbying organizations in Albany, now subject todisclosure, and CSNY as a major new lobbying force. They are wholly unrelated and differentsituations. The first is, in our opinion, a real issue to be resolved. The second is a welcomeaddition to the debate and dialogue in Albany too long manipulated and controlled by a smallhandful of multimillion-dollar vested interests. Of course lobbying groups can help or hurtelected officials by their activity but that political effect is coincidental to their lobbyingeffort. When the marriage equality (c)(4)s ran ads saying in essence, “Cuomo is great because heis for fairness,” that had a positive political effect. However, the political effect was not their  purpose. Likewise when the AFL-CIO, Teachers and PEF this year spent approximately 7million dollars advertising in essence “Cuomo is against working men and women because of Tier VI” their goal was to lobby against Tier VI but it had a negative political effect. If andwhen the campaign finance C4s will advertise “Cuomo is great, he is for clean elections” thegoal will be to lobby for campaign finance. But it will have a positive political effect for theGovernor. You know this distinction because for many years unions spent tens of millionslobbying against Governors and unions spent millions against Governor Cuomo this year. Theymay have a political effect, positive or negative, but the purpose is to lobby.Such coordination by elected officials with issue advocacy organizations is and not new or novel. In fact, 501(c)(4) organizations like CSNY have been a major part of efforts to lobbyAlbany for decades. For example, Mayor Bloomberg's administration formed and coordinatedwith Education Reform Now in 2010 to run TV ads and conduct in-person lobbying in an effortto raise the cap on charter schools in New York State. NYPIRG, American Cancer Society,Labor Unions, Citizens Union, Education Advocacy groups, all work with or against electedofficials. Similar organizations were formed and coordinated with this administration in thecampaign to pass same-sex marriage last year. Lobbying organizations must be wary of their innear proximity to political elections and some policy makers and courts restricted ads supportingor opposing candidates 60 days prior to an election. This administration works closely with501(c)(4) organizations on mental health, campaign finance reform, and many other issues to tryto achieve changes to the laws.

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