Paladino’s Conundrum

31 Mar

If I was a Republican in New York State, I’d be pretty ticked off, too, by the late entry of unlikely candidate Stephen Levy, the Democratic Suffolk County Executive, into the race.  Lazio has been running for governor for over a year, and if nothing else, he’s a dedicated Republican.  Levy’s a late switcher, and the whole thing reeks of desperation.

(I don’t know how the mustachioed Democrat from Long Island is meant to defeat the Cuomo juggernaut, but then I don’t make Ed Cox money).

But forget Republicans – we have a genuine tea party candidate announcing next Monday. Noted Buffalo professional loudmouth and sometime developer Carl Paladino is running as a real Republican; right down to the fact that he’s got Roger Stone’s BFF Michael Caputo as campaign manager.  They’ve gone the whole mockery route, essentially ignoring Lazio and instead running guns-a-blazing against Levy.

Don’t ignore the Cox/Stone Nixon connection.  There’s also allegations of a quid pro quo whereby Cox threw Levy the nod in exchange for his son, Chris Cox, getting support for an unlikely congressional run in Suffolk County.

Paladino would have you believe he’s a lifelong conservative Republican.  A guy so politically principled, with tea party credentials so pure, that he’s mocking Steve Levy’s recent Democratic past, and his support of Sheldon Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee. Naturally, a good tea party candidate includes Biblical language implying that Cox and Levy are not unlike Judas; 30 pieces of silver was Judas’ payoff for betraying Jesus to the Romans.

But since Paladino is blasting Levy as being a Johnny-come-lately to the Republican fold, what about his own contributions and electoral history?

As Chris Smith reports, Paladino was a registered Democrat between 1974 – 2005.  He switched in late October 2005, coincidentally just a week or so before Byron Brown won election as Mayor of the City of Buffalo.  Paladino was tight with Tony Masiello.  With Brown’s election imminent, he switched parties.

Paladino was a big Helfer backer in 2005. In fact, the Brown campaign attacked Helfer for his very close ties to Kevin Helfer, whom Paladino employed to run BCAR.

But you can’t just erase a 30-year history as a loyal Democrat and generous donor to Democratic candidates and causes.  Including the dreaded  Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee that Paladino now berates Steve Levy for having donated to.

Levy’s donations to the DACC amount to a paltry $650 since 1999.

But Paladino’s donated – and continues to donate – quite generously to Democratic candidates. From Chris’ post:

Staats Street Group, Inc. has given nearly $5,000 to local and statewide Democrats, including $150 to the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, which Paladino uses as evidence that Levy is really a Democrat.

Swan Group LP, has given nearly $27,000 to various Democrats, including Robin Schimminger, Byron Brown, Brian Higgins, the New York State Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, Erie County Democratic Party (ECDC), Len Lenihan, Jim Keane, and Dennis Gabryszak.

Mohawk Group LP, has given $9,600 to Democrats including David Paterson, Mark Poloncarz, Sam Hoyt, the ECDC and the Lackawanna Democratic Committee.

Niagara Group, LP has given $4,790 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer for Attorney General, Higgins, Dan Ward, Paul Tokasz, Hoyt and the ECDC.

Slade Group, LLC has given $10,500 to corrupt former candidate for Erie County Executive Paul Clark.

Michigan/Seneca Group, LP has given $14,750 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer for Attorney General, Paul Clark, Len Lenihan, the ECDC, Denise O’Donnell, Higgins, Paterson and Spitzer for Governor.

8246 Group, LP has given $6,600 to local and statewide Democrats including the ECDC, Spitzer, Paul Clark and Jim Keane.

2468 Group, LP has given $13,600 to local and statewide Democrats including Hoyt, Higgins, Denise O’Donnell, the ECDC, Jim Keane, Carl McCall,  Spitzer, Paul Clark, and Crystal Peoples.

Ellicott Development has given over $12,500 to local and statewide Democrats including Denise O’Donnell, Gary Parenti, Joe Nicoletti and Spitzer

Ellicott Group has given $700 to local Democrats including Hoyt and Higgins.

Ellicott Group, LLC has given $1,200 to local Democrats including the ECDC.

Ellicott Group A Partnership has given $5,600 to local Democrats including the ECDC, Hoyt, Paterson and Mickey Kearns.

JP Group has donated nearly $20,000 to local and statewide Democrats including Spitzer, Bonnie Russell, the ECDC, Paul Clark, Alan Hevesi, Lynn Marinelli and Joe Mesi.

Jefferson Utica Group, LP has given $1,200 to local Democrats.

9274 Group, LP (Who by the way have won 62 GSA contracts for a total of $738,171 in government money) has given $4,200 to local Democrats.

Paladino and his various shell companies and associations have donated over $135,000 to Democratic candidates since 2000, including several hundred dollars for Sheldon Silver’s Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee.  We’d have to consult paper records to go further back than that.

The appeal of the tea party movement is that it attracts and energizes people who believe themselves to be disenfranchised or otherwise ignored by government. Paladino is the consummate insider. He knows all the players. He donates generously to his favored candidates – to the people who will best help him and his businesses. He is not a principled player but a fundamentally transactional one.

Just look above at the various legally constituted entities he uses to donate money to candidates. He can donate far, far above the individual or corporate maximum by peppering his donations across several entities. It’s an insider’s trick, designed to maximize influence and minimize public scrutiny. (No one’s heard of “Niagara Group, LP”, for instance).

He can play conservative make-believe all he wants, but he can’t change the past. No matter how he explains the difference between “gun owners” and “sportsmen”.

And turning back again to the party switch in 2005, Paladino has been relentlessly critical of the Brown Administration. Of course, Brown has decided that Rocco Termini is his local developer of choice, thus shunting Paladino off to the side. I have no doubt that this:

…has nothing to do with a change in political belief and ideology and everything to do with the imminent Masiello exit and Brown entry, and quite likely the difference in how the Brown administration handled the downtown casino issue. (Read: stopped using Paladino to help negotiate on the city’s behalf with the Senecas). It’s no secret that Carl Paladino is the owner of all that attractive surface parking in the Cobblestone near where the permanent casino is supposed to go.

But in the end, this exchange from an interview Artvoice’s Bruce Jackson conducted with Carl Paladino is quite telling:

CP: I’m on your side on that one, Mr. Jackson. Totally. We could have protected ourselves, but they didn’t do it. And your buddy Byron Brown—

BJ: My buddy?

CP: Yeah, your buddy. He’s a liberal. He’s a liberal like you are. They’re your buddies.

BJ: Aren’t you a liberal? What are you?

CP: You tell me: How was that deal made?

BJ: What are you?

CP: I don’t know what I am. I’m a whatever. I don’t care. Any way you want to define me.

That was in 2006. Just four years later, Paladino has morphed from left-leaning transactional political player to right-leaning transactional political player. But he’s not in any position to accuse others of not passing a political purity test.

14 Responses to “Paladino’s Conundrum”

  1. Mike in WNY March 31, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    And let the smear campaign begin.  The bottom line for me is what a person thinks needs to be done and how likely that person is to carryout those beliefs.  I was a registered democrat my whole life until 2008, in the Buffalo area that is almost a necessity to have a voice in local politics.  

    Some people never come to the realization that liberal politics not only doesn’t work, but is responsible for everything that is wrong today.  Some people come to that realization later in life.  I am willing to give Carl the benefit of the doubt on that one.

    • Christopher Smith March 31, 2010 at 10:09 am #

      I fail to see how linking to factual documentation of Carl Paladino’s political donation history is a “smear campaign”. Reality tends to have a liberal bias…

      Carl made this an issue and called for a purity test on Steve Levy. Using his own standards, Carl also fails that test. Sorry if you don’t like how it works out for you.

      • Mike in WNY March 31, 2010 at 10:25 am #

        So, I can expect to see you tear apart Andrew Cuomo soon?  Lord knows he deserves it.

      • Christopher Smith March 31, 2010 at 10:30 am #

        When Cuomo makes a huge political misstep like this and/or his dishonest or purposefully misleading statements become a public issue, yes.

        For the record, I’m not supporting Cuomo for Governor. I have stated that numerous times on various outlets.

      • STEEL March 31, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

        Without Liberal Politics:
        1. Man eating animals. They become pets
        2. No illiteracy – everyone is born able to read – this has the double benefit of making the evil government funded schools obsolete
        3. You will be able to breath underwater so no more drowning
        4. No more tornadoes or hurricanes – God will no longer have the need to punish the wicked once liberalism is gone.
        5. sexual indiscretions will no longer be reported in the press since the main-stream liberal media will no longer be a bother. (this actually might be the reason that all other problems in the world are eliminated as well)

    • Alan Bedenko March 31, 2010 at 10:15 am #

      You can write “smear campaign” all you want, but you don’t factually rebut a single thing I wrote.

      You guys bought into Carl hook, line & sinker, but his anger isn’t as principled as yours might be.

  2. STEEL March 31, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    “Liberal Politics is responsible for everything that is wrong today” Wow what a sweeping statement.

    Without liberal politics:
    1. All disease is vanquished (that is the right wing health plan in a nut and from a nut)
    2. Pollution (and of course global warming) gone
    3. war – non existent
    4. poverty – non existent
    5. end of the universe – won’t happen
    6. pesky foreigners wanting to get ahead – forget that, without liberal politics they know their place in the world. and the coloreds too (bonus we get to go back to the old minority names)
    7. Anyone not happy with their life position – gone
    8. job stress – nope-not anymore!
    9. Vegetarians (and all non Christians) gone
    10. Car trouble -won’t be any
    11. Buses-won’t be any

    and the best part – everything the government now does for you will be FREE and since it is free your government services will actually get better.

  3. Jack March 31, 2010 at 5:08 pm #

    Do your research – his name is Steven, not Stephen.

    • Alan Bedenko March 31, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

      Thanks, but who gives a fuck about the Suffolk CE. Seriously.

  4. Eric Saldanha March 31, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    “…liberal politics not only doesn’t work, but is responsible for everything that is wrong today…

    Yes, because that ol’ evil liberalism, we have:
    an Interstate Highway System
    the GI Bill so that our veterans have a path forward when they return from service
    Labor and workplace safety laws, including (yes, I know you detest this, Mike) prohibitions on child labor, establishment of a 40-hour work week, collective bargaining, workplace safety (to prevent another Triangle Shirtwaist disaster, protections for women and minorities in the workplace, overtime pay, and on and on….
    the Marshall Plan
    Environmental protections, including the Clean Air Act enforcement and Earth Day, both promoted by that noted lefty, Richard Nixon
    Social Security
    Economic growth – yes, liberalism and economic prosperity go together like libertarianism and knee-jerkism. The unprecedented economic expansion of the 50’s and 60’s was achieved under whom again? Oh yeah….moderate Republican and liberal Democratic administrations.
    Innovation – from the space program to the Internet
    Civil rights – for women, minorities, LGBT communities
    Universal public education – from elementary and high schools to public universities
    Rural electrification
    Women’s right to vote
    National Weather Service
    Scientific research – from Salk’s polio vaccine to the Human Genome Project to the Hubble Space Telescope
    Consumer protections – including product labeling, regulations on food safety, mandates to post nutritional information
    Public health – the NIH and the CDC

    And this is a very short list of what liberalism has done for this nation.

  5. larry April 1, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    what’s up with this mike in wny guy and why does he seem to derail every thread off topic to being some silly rant against his personal boogeyman – liberalism? does this guy have an original thought in his brain? this guy needs ritalin he can’t focus on the thread topic.

    • Mike in WNY April 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

      Connect the dots Larry, it’s not that hard.

  6. shotgunlarry April 1, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Mike sounds like a big fat PLANT.

  7. Howard Goldman April 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Talk about the perfect storm. Now libs think Carl is secretly one of them! That could put him over the top.

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