Tag Archives: NY Gov. David Paterson

NY Gov. Confirms Staffer Leaked Caroline Dirt — And Gets To Keep Her Job!

PATERSON: “I’M NOT THROWING ANYBODY UNDER THE BUS”

* This just in from the Hey-I-Know-The-Economy’s-Tough-But-This-Is-Ridiculous Dept.:

Judy Smith, the former BUSH WHITE HOUSE STAFFER and paid PR flack for Gov. David Paterson, is not only responsible for leaking those nasty rumors about Caroline Kennedy, the governor now says Smith gets to keep her job! For reasons that still mystify, it seems Gov. Patterson doesn’t plan to take any disciplinary action against the Guv’s now-infamous “leaker.”

If there’s any good news in this story, it is that Paterson may now be facing an investigation by the Public Integrity Committee over the leaking incident, on the grounds that Mrs. Kennedy’s privacy rights were violated. We’ll take it a step further and ask Albany to investigate whether or not some kind of pay-to-play scheme was a factor in the Governor’s choice for Hillary Clinton’s senate seat.

Dammit, where’s Patrick Fitzgerald and a wiretap when you really need one?

Story from the Associated Press below:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Gov. David Paterson’s revelation that he is responsible for a campaign staffer who leaked unproven personal accusations about Caroline Kennedy after she withdrew from Senate consideration could lead to a state privacy investigation, experts said Wednesday.

The Democratic governor wouldn’t name the staffer. He said he’ll keep the consultant on his campaign payroll.

The claims surfaced just after Kennedy abruptly withdrew from Paterson’s secretive selection process to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton’s New York Senate seat. The anonymous leaker said Kennedy “wasn’t ready for prime time” and faced possible tax, nanny and marital problems.

Asked if the campaign staffer, identified a week ago by The Daily News as consultant Judith Smith, acted alone or as part of a broader effort to discredit Kennedy, Paterson said: “I’m not going to go into those kinds of conversations. Any involvement with what my staff does is my fault because to do something like that, people working for you should know better. … I’m just going to tell you the responsibility is ultimately mine.”

Smith is still on the campaign payroll.

“She’s still retained,” Paterson said to questions about the fate of Smith, a top communications strategist. “I’m not throwing anybody under the bus.”

He wouldn’t confirm or deny whether Smith directed the leak of unsubstantiated claims.

If the person who leaked the unsubstantiated claims on Jan. 22 got the information from confidential questionnaires Paterson asked every Senate hopeful to complete, then it could violate the state personal privacy protection law, said Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government.

The state Public Integrity Commission has jurisdiction over a similar measure in the state Public Officers Law that bars state employees from disclosing confidential information. Commission spokesman Walter Ayres wouldn’t comment on whether an investigation into the Kennedy leak has been requested or started by the commission.

“I think the issue is worthy of review by the Commission on Public Integrity,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group, a government watchdog.

Paterson has refused to release the candidates’ questionnaires, or even a blank one, which good-government experts have said is an apparent violation of the state Freedom of Information Law. Paterson has maintained the leaked information wasn’t taken from the confidential questionnaire.

After more than a week of denying he was involved in the leak, Paterson told reporters Tuesday that he is responsible for the actions of his employees.

Republican state Sen. Martin Golden said the case should be investigated.

“At the very least, (the staffer) should resign,” he said Wednesday.

Golden said he’s unsure there is any “criminality” to warrant an investigation like the one launched by Republicans in 2007 when aides to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer were accused of misusing state police to provide and recreate travel records to embarrass then-Senate Republican leader, Joseph Bruno.

Republicans lost control of the majority and the Senate Investigations Committee in the November elections. The Democrat-controlled Senate Investigations Committee has no plans to investigate, a spokesman said.

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Kennedy Unlikely to Seek EPA Post

STRIKE TWO!

Looks like Mr. Kennedy won't be going to Washington anytime soon

Looks like Mr. Kennedy won't be going to Washington

Less than a month ago, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told the Huffington Post in response to rumors that he might be tapped to run President Obama’s EPA or Interior Department, “if asked, I will serve.”

Well, it seems that something has changed since then. Either he wasn’t asked, or was asked and after weighing the various options and potential consequences, decided that a cabinet post is not in his future.

Today, the NY Daily News is reporting that if asked, Kennedy most likely will not serve after all:

- Robert Kennedy Jr. sounds like he’s definitely taking himself out of the running for head of the Environmental Protection Agency. “I have six mouths to feed,” the eco-crusader told us at Monday’s Waterkeeper Alliance/Conde Nast soiree, where James Blunt performed. “But I’d love to be involved with anything the Obama administration does.”

Kennedy told the crowd he’s now “driving a Lexus hybrid. My daughters said it’s the first grown-up car I’ve had.”

So that, apparently, settles that! Looks like Mr. Kennedy won’t be going to Washington this year. Or next.

But what about that senate seat? Ever since President-elect Obama announced Hillary Clinton as his nominee for secretary of state on Monday, speculation has run rampant as to whether or not Kennedy would be appointed to fill out her term of office in the senate. But no, it appears he doesn’t want that gig, either. 

JUST SAY NO

Yesterday, RFK Jr. telephoned New York governor David Paterson and asked that his name be removed from the list of potential appointees. Considering that he has often expressed a strong desire to reclaim the senate seat once held by his father, the reaction to Kennedy’s announcement has been a mix of surprise and disappointment among his many faithful supporters.

The push for Kennedy as Clinton’s replacement was strong; there was even a short-lived Facebook group organized to promote RFK Jr. for the Senate (Kennedy was the only contender to have such support).

But Kennedy isn’t alone in his mad dash for the sidelines. He’s got good company on the bench. On Monday, Nita Lowey (D-Westchester), once considered a prime choice, withdrew her name from consideration. And on Tuesday, former president Bill Clinton announced that he was “not interested” in occupying his wife’s senate seat when/if it becomes available. So that’s three down, hundreds more hopefuls to go.

New York governor Paterson says he will wait to name Clinton’s replacement until after she leaves the U.S. senate, which would be next January if Hillary’s cabinet nomination is confirmed by her senate colleagues. 

Kennedy supporters shouldn’t despair too much. There’s still Caroline! While the martyred president’s daughter has always wisely eschewed a political career, the possibility that she might be under serious consideration to fill Clinton’s senate seat appears to be more than just talk. Even RFK Jr. sang her praises yesterday (while at the same time, withdrawing his own name) as a worthy contender for the job.

Earlier, it was suggested that Caroline might be named as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, but that idea was squelched a few days ago when Obama announced his foreign policy advisor, Susan Rice, as the nominee.

So that frees up Caroline Kennedy to do something else. Her appointment to Clinton’s senate seat would certainly present an interesting dynamic and plenty of drama. After many years of having a close relationship with the Clintons, Caroline shocked the world when she switched teams to support Senator Obama during the 2008 primary election season. I rather doubt that has been forgotten by the Clintons.

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