We are under way for the latest AG debate at the Greene Space at WNYC
The five candidates greeted each other warmly on stage. They were together last night as well.
Eric Schneiderman’s dad is a major donor to WNYC, Brian Lehrer discloses prior to the start.
Then asks, “What does an AG do?”
Schneiderman: The AG has a duty to speak out for those that can’t speak out for themselves.” You defend the state but be an advoacte for people who cant advocate for themselves.
Rice: The AG levels the playing field for everyone, raises reproductive rights, reforming Albany.
Brodsky: Gives a history lesson says, “I think it needs another transformation.” Office needs to be lawyer for families across state.
Lehrer asks what they would do differently from one another
Brodsky: mortgage fraud
Rice: medicare fraud
Coffey: I am the only one here truly independent. I am in the thick of this race despite no backing from labor unions
Schneiderman: Decentralize office, whisteblowing for public corruption
Dinallo: I transformed agency into powerhouse that it is today. Mentions consumer fraud, kitchen table issues.
Henley asks Rice about how she would not defend laws she does not find ethical, like same sex marriage ban:
Rice: There are times you have to take a courageous stand. Cant defend a law that is at its core unconstitutional.
Brodsky: Rice’s idea is an extraordinarily dangerous. Can a pro-life AG choose not to defend reproductive rights?
Rice looks irritated. Coffey reiterates Brodsky. Dinallo is closer to Rice.Schneiderman says job one is defending the state, “We don’t have the ability to pick and choose,” says he would have been forced to defend Rockefeller drug laws.
Rice: AG is the guardian of everyone’s civil rights. Duty bound to stand up and say this is wrong, when a law is wrong. Calls her stand courageous.
Azi asks, the state Dem Party calls Albany “a swamp of corruption.” How would you clean it up
Coffey: New powers for the AG. Full disclosure of outside income for legislators, no loophole for trail lawyers, like Schneiderman wrote into a law under pressure from his trial lawyer leadership.
Schneiderman: That charge is ridiculous. Sometimes you get half a loaf when you are negotiating bills. Citizen’s Union endorsed me. Pledges to go after non-for-profits. Says there is lot that can be done to go after corruption even without
Coffey: Senator you have your fingerprints all over installing Pedro Espada as majority leader. The man is an embarrassment to the state
Schneiderman: Espada came back to the Democratic majority with his tail between his legs. I am the only one who has endorsed Espada’s opponent, Gustavo Rivera.
Brodsky: Tries to bring discussion back to Azi’s question. Doesn’t like the phrase Day 1, since it was Spitzer’s. Pledges to refrom MTA, tax system, utilities.
Rice: Says she would be best at reforming Albany, “Because I am not a part of Albany.”
Dinallo: The issue is outside business interests of legislators. Legislators will never pass a law giving us jurisdiction over them. Governor must give us the power
Lehrer asks Schneiderman and Rice how they can be independent when they are in the thrall of labor (ES) or Shelly Silver’s law firm (Rice)
Schneiderman: Everyone wanted those endorsements. I am proud of support of labor
Rice: Silver is supporting Brodsky. 1199 only met with Schneiderman.
Brodsky: We are in a fiscal crisis because of Wall Street. Why are we pounding on labor. I have more labor support even than Schneiderman. Schneiderman is running on fringe issues like civil incarceration of sexual predators.
Schneiderman: Freedom of choice, green groups are my coalition. They are not fringe.
Lehrer asks about Park 51
Brodsky: There is a social fabric that as political leaders that says we should be able to work things out. The views of the families of 9/11 must be included. The donors will be public. I, as AG, as would any AG, will look at that list of the donors
Coffey: Prefaces all of his remarks by saying, “This is Sean Coffey.” Smart move, since this is a radio debate.
Dinallo: I understand high emotions around this, but I believe we should stop talking about this.
Rice: The freedom to practice religion is sacrosant
Schneiderman: Prejudice is on the rise.
Brodsky: This is not about religious liberty.
Time for them to ask each other questions
Rice asks Schneiderman to release his tax returns. Says he has put nearly $500,000 into his own campaign over the past week.
Schneiderman: I will release my tax returns by the end of the week. I did make a lot of money at a private practice attorney. I have sponsored disclosure bills.
Dinallo asks how could Schneiderman investigate the Senate as a former Senator.
Schneiderman: I appreciate all the attention I have been getting as my support has grown, but says Dinallo is wrong to say he couldn’t investigate Senate as a former Senator.
Coffey says Schneiderman is getting so much attention because he is putting on clothes of a reformer “and they don’t fit.” Says he is in thrall to trial lawyers, talks talk but doesn’t walk walk. Asks to see Schneiderman’s unredacted financial disclosure
Schneiderman: I never heard a word about reform in Albany from you until you decided to run for attorney general
Henley asks a campaign finance reform question about LLC loopholes
Schneiderman: I have been sponsor of legislation to close that loophole.
Rice: The loophole should be closed. Half of my donors have given under $100.
Dinallo: The loophole should be closed. Calls the situation “horrendous.”
Coffey: Schneiderman has received over a $1 million for labor PACs and LLC’s.
Brodsky: “Everyone here is for reform and nothing happens, except authority reform which did happen.” Next AG will have to know how operate in political arena
Dinallo is asked what the best and worst thing Cuomo did. He says worst is flipping investigation of Paterson to Judith Kaye
Rice says worst thing Spitzer did as AG was be a hypocrite.
Lehrer confirms that Rice would have prosecuted Spitzer on prostitution. Brodsky asks on what basis, since crime happened in Washington D.C.
Schneiderman talks about fighting for justice. “I have never backed down…my leadership has been recognized” by Times, Observer, Times-Union
Coffey talks about his biography as the son of immigrants, in the Navy. “Taking on the dysfunction of Albany is my next assignment.” I am the only one running that doesn’t owe anyone anything.
Brodsky says the office needs to be transformed into lawyer for neighborhoods and families. Mentions Jet stadium, authority reform.
Rice talks about being the 7th of 10 children, with four older brothers, gives a look to the four men on stage beside her. I did not go to a high-price law firm.
Dinallo says “I am the only candidate who was actually at the attorney general’s office. Talk about his work investigating Wall Street, says “I wa country before country was cool.”