Blood is Thicker than Whitewater

The Joe Bruno story is rapidly oozing outward. Capitol Confidential picks up and runs with an AP item that says lobbyist James Featherstonhaugh recently turned over to investigators documents related to a 1990s real estate project in which Bruno was an investor. The lobbyist says there was nothing untoward about the deal, and that the real estate development was a financial boondoggle. (As Hillary Clinton could tell Bruno, that may not make the questions go away.) Among the other people involved in the deal: Bruno’s brother Peter, Jared Abbruzzese, and Abbruzzese’s wife. Bruno’s son Ken and some of his friends also bought plots of land from the venture. Ken, of course, quit his own job as a high-priced lobbyist about a year ago, amid many questions about his activities.

The most unlikely wrinkle: Featherstonhaugh’s partner on the deal was Douglas Rutnik, another Albany lobbyist and the father of newly elected Democratic Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand. The incumbent Gillibrand defeated, Republican John Sweeney, made an issue of her father’s background during the last election, saying she could hardly call him a tool of special interests when her old man was a lobbyist himself. You think Sweeney wishes this story came out before the election?

Andrew Rice

Blood is Thicker than Whitewater