Typically during the end of session crush, Gov. Cuomo, the Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats link many of their major priority issues in hopes of reaching compromise deals.
But in the wake of the recent federal corruption arrests of Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County) and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan)—both of whom subsequently gave up their leadership posts—and with Bharara openly criticizing how Albany does business, many Senate Republicans are in no mood to take chances, two GOP senators said.
One noted that much of the Republican conference received campaign contributions from influential real estate developers, including Leonard Litwin, who has been linked to the cases Bharara brought against Skelos and Silver.
“The members are worried, will he try to make connections between campaign contributions to whatever gets done?,” the senator said. “It’s getting in the way of the normal political horsetrading. People are asking what would be considered by Preet Bharara a quid pro quo and who you are doing favors for.”
Fear of Preet doesn't just haunt the legislature - Cuomo's worried too, so much so that he's unwilling to make any changes to the 421-a tax giveaway to real estate developers:
Legislative insiders say even Cuomo, who has accepted big donations from many of the developers who benefit from the program, is leery of making changes.
“He doesn’t want to touch it,” one said.
Cuomo during a recent speech indicated he doesn’t see much more than straight extenders of the rent regulation law and the 421a program because of the turmoil stemming from Bharara’s investigations.
If you think Bharara's not screwing with these people in Albany, think again.
The timing of the arrests of Skelos and Silver were deliberate attempts to stick a shiv into "business as usual" in Albany.
Silver got arrested the day after Cuomo's combined state of the state/budget address, effectively taking away Cuomo's headlines the next day and putting a serious crimp into Cuomo's push for his agenda.
He got some of it - the poison pill education agenda, for example - but there were a lot of other items that got left behind, including mayoral control in NYC, the charter cap, rent regulation, tax giveaways to real estate developers, etc.
The left behind items still need to get done, but Preet put a shiv into "business as usual" there too:
One Senate Republican questioned the timing of Bharara's arrest of Skelos just weeks before the end of the legislative session. The senator said Bharara could have waited for the remaineder of the session to play out to allow for some type of orderly conclusion rather than throw everything into turmoil.
"Everyone is scratching their heads over the timing of Preet's action against Dean," the senator said. "It's not like he was a physical or flight risk. Why couldn't he wait until after the session ended.
"Rent control is set to expire June 15. We're due to be out on June 17. They could have made the move on Skelos June 18 and then have all that time for things to calm down."
And Bharara may not be completely done yet.
As NT2 blog wrote back on May 13:
Here’s the bottom line: If he could make cases against Silver and Skelos, he surely can make one against Cuomo. Think about it – Cuomo raised more than $60 million over the last six years. Nobody raises that much without having, at a minimum, appearance problems. And then there’s the way Cuomo and his top people have conducted themselves. No, none of them personally profited, but did they make dubious deals to get things done? Did they look the other way on things when it had utility to do so? Did they employ all manner of leverage on lawmakers? Of course they did. These are people for whom the ends (many times very good ends) justify the means.
Preet, most likely, will make a case against the Governor. And it won’t matter one bit that the Governor recently lost his father and that his woman has cancer. Preet simply doesn’t care.
Preet apparently believes that the only way things will really change in Albany is if all the leaders are taken out and there’s a fresh start. Ironically, just like Cuomo, the means don’t seem to matter to him. Personal costs don’t matter. Nor does the fact there’ll be disruption. The only thing that matters is the outcome. And maybe Preet is right. Maybe this has to happen to finally clean up state government.
Can the case be made against Cuomo?
If you haven't read the list of Quid Pro Cuomos I put together back on May 9, read it through and ask yourself again, can the case be made against Cuomo?
This doesn't mean the case will be made against Cuomo - there are a whole host of political and practical realities for why it probably won't happen (not least of which is, it's unprecedented for a US attorney to take out the top three men in NY government in one legislative session!)
But that doesn't mean it won't happen either - remember, we're dealing with an ambitious prosecutor with a huge ego out of the Schumer shop who loves nothing more than to steal the headlines from Albany.
If anybody would take out all three amigos in the same legislative session, it's this guy.
And if you think Wall Street is worried about losing their shill in the governor's office, think again about that too.
Kathy Hochul, a former bank lobbyist, is lieutenant governor and would become governor if something happened to Cuomo.
You better believe Wall Street isn't worried about anything happening to Cuomo because the fix is in for them no matter what.