TELL CUOMO TO DENOUNCE BRIBERY, LULUS AND THE IDC!
On May 9, The New York Times reported that Republican New York State senators and members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a breakaway group of Democrats who align with the Senate GOP, have quietly received thousands of dollars in extra stipends for committee chair positions that they DO NOT ACTUALLY HOLD.
Legislative stipends, commonly known as "lulus," are bonuses for senators who are chairs of committees. In theory, lulus are intended to reward the additional workload of these positions; in practice, lulus have become a means of legalized bribery in the state Senate and the process is so corrupt that it is already BANNED in 49 other states.
The Republican Senate Majority Leader, John Flanagan (R- Suffolk County), controls the assignment of 46 (out of 87) committee leadership positions, so he controls each senator’s lulu. Not surprisingly, the biggest payout has gone to Sen. Jeff Klein, who is the leader of the IDC and who received a $34,000 raise thanks to a committee promotion by Sen. Flanagan.
To make matters worse, we now know that Sen. Flanagan has been redirecting stipends that are meant for committee chairs to lower-ranking committee members. To get the stipends approved, Flanagan’s Republican leadership has been submittingpaperwork to the state comptroller’s office FALSELY listing senators as chairs of committees since 2015.
Not only that, but some of these senators didn’t even attend ONE meeting of the committee for which they fraudulently received the committee chair stipend.
The act of presenting false documents to a public agency with the intent to defraud the government is a FELONY and the lulu giveaways are now rightly under investigation by the state Attorney General.
These bonuses are further proof of the corruption at the heart of the alliance between the IDC and Senate Republicans, which has enabled the GOP to maintain control of the Senate despite the Democrats holding a nominal majority. First of all, Sen. Flanagan is only able to lead the Senate and distribute lulus thanks to the cooperation between Senate Republicans, the IDC, and Senator Simcha Felder. Second, in the midst of increasing pressure on the IDC Senators to return to the Democratic Party, the allocation of lulus allows Sen. Flanagan to pay IDC members for their political support- also known as BRIBERY.
We need to take a stand.
Call GOVERNOR CUOMO and tell him to denounce Senator Flanagan, the IDC, and LULUS
Governor Andrew Cuomo : (518) 474-8390
Script: Hi, my name is….. and I am a concerned citizen from..... I’m calling to ask Governor Cuomo to publicly denounce Senator Flanagan for fraudulently using taxpayer money to issue stipends to senators for jobs they don’t actually do. Lulus are so blatantly corrupt that they are banned in 49 other state capitals. I’m calling for the governor to ban lulus in the State of New York and to condemn the state senators who have benefited from this process at the expense of taxpayers like me.
Call your state senator and ask them their position on Lulus.
Script: Hi, my name is….. and I am a concerned citizen from..... I’m calling to ask for the senator's position on lulus. Will Sen. [ ] publicly denounce Senator Flanagan for fraudulently using taxpayer money to issue stipends to senators for jobs they don’t actually do?
If your state senator has accepted these payments, demand that they return your hard-earned tax dollars!
State senators who have accepted these payments:
~ Sen. Jose Peralta (IDC - Elmhurst)
District(718) 205-3881 / Albany (518) 455-2529
~ Sen. David Valesky (IDC - Oneida)
District (315) 478-8745 / Albany (518) 455-2838
~ Sen. Diane Savino (IDC- Staten Island/Brooklyn)
District (718) 727-9406 / Albany (518) 455-2437
~ Sen. Thomas O’Mara (R-Big Flats)
District(607 735-9671 / Albany (518) 455-2091
~ Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R-Elmira)
District (716) 656-8544 / Albany (518) 455-3471
~ Sen. Patty Ritchie (R- Oswegatchi)
District (315) 342-2057 / Albany (518) 455-3438
Script: Hi, my name is….. and I am a concerned citizen from..... I’m calling to demand that Senator [ ] return the stipends for committees he/ she didn’t lead and to publicly denounce the use of lulus in the Senate. These de-facto bonuses are a form of legalized bribery adding up to hundreds of thousands of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. I’ll be looking out for the senator’s statements on this issue, and will be keeping this in mind during his/ her next election
THINK NEW YORK IS A BLUE STATE? THINK AGAIN!
CALL Governor Cuomo and tell him to be a REAL progressive leader!
Think New York should be a sanctuary state?
Think women deserve access to reproductive health care in NYS?
Think the state should fully fund public schools?
Think our criminal justice system should be reformed?
Think corporations and special interests should be regulated and fairly taxed?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, then YOU SHOULD BE FIRED UP about the IDC.
There are 32 Democrats in the New York State Senate and 31 Republicans. So Democrats SHOULD hold the majority and should be able to take action on all of these issues.
But they can’t. Because of the IDC and Brooklyn State Senator Simcha Felder.
The IDC (Independent Democratic Conference) is a group of eight breakaway Democrats in the New York State Senate who conference separately and elect their own leader apart from the mainline Democrats. Senator Simcha Felder, who runs unopposed on both the Democratic and Republican lines in Borough Park, is not part of the IDC, but he currently caucuses with the Republicans. Senator Felder has said that he will rejoin the Democrats if the IDC does, but so far, the IDC refuses. The result is a 32-31 Republican majority in the Senate, which means the progressive legislation consistently passed by the State Assembly often dies in the Senate -- usually because it doesn’t make it to the floor for a vote, a prerogative of the Majority Leader.
Why would nine supposed Democrats do this?
MONEY and POWER.
Thanks to their membership in an independent conference and to the fundraising prowess of their elected leader Senator Jeff Klein, the biggest recipient of real estate money in Albany, IDC members enjoy additional funds for their operations and for their campaigns. In addition, they get committee chairmanships and the associated salary increases that they otherwise would not receive, and Sen. Klein gets a seat at the budget negotiating table as one of four “men in a room.”
To get the most for his district and to have the most influence, Sen. Felder has made it clear that he will caucus with whomever is in the majority. If there were no IDC, he says, he would caucus with a Democratic majority.
The IDC claims it has a progressive agenda, but its very existence means countless bills that would help New York’s immigrants, women, people of color, and the environment never even make it to the Senate floor for a vote.
Why call Governor Cuomo?
Thanks to the IDC and Sen. Felder, Governor Cuomo avoids having to sign or veto any truly progressive legislation. That is, he never is forced to take on powerful special interests -- Wall Street, the real estate lobby, charter schools, and corporate lobbyists. Meanwhile, he can talk the talk about protecting New Yorkers from Trump’s agenda without having to actually do anything.
This is unacceptable!
Governor Cuomo is the leader of the Democratic Party in New York, and we need him to LEAD. Only he can bring the warring factions of the DEMOCRATIC Senate majority back together, to choose a DEMOCRATIC leader and control the floor agenda and budget process.
With New York’s immigrant communities under attack, with imminent cuts to public education, healthcare, and environmental regulation coming our way, we need Democrats in Albany to get their act together and fight FOR US, not amongst themselves.
CALL Governor Cuomo TODAY at (518) 474-8390!
Tell him to be a real leader. He must use his power to pressure the IDC senators and Senator Felder to rejoin the Democrats so that we can start passing legislation that will truly help New Yorkers.
Script: Hi, my name is… and I’m a constituent from… I am calling because I am concerned about the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference). By breaking away from the rest of the New York State Senate Democrats and providing cover for Senator Felder’s defection, they have enabled the Republicans to maintain the majority. This means that progressive legislation on issues like women’s health, education, the environment, immigration, and housing never even comes to a vote because the Republicans are able to kill the bills in committee. This is outrageous. Governor Cuomo needs to step in and demand that the IDC to rejoin the Democratic Caucus and help protect New York State from a hostile federal government.
For more info on the IDC: http://www.noidcny.org/