Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics

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Rick Brand

Rick Brand, a Newsday reporter for nearly three decades, writes about politics and government on Long Island.

The veteran reporter has covered a variety of assignments for Newsday in Washington, Albany and around the country and was part of the Long Island staff that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800.

During his career, Brand has been the paper’s lead reporter covering Suffolk county government, and spent three years as the paper’s beat reporter covering LILCO during the height of the controversy over the Shoreham nuclear power plant. He has also headed the paper’s East End bureau and even spent a summer doing a gossip column on the Hampton’s social whirl.

Brand had also worked several stints in Newsday’s Albany Bureau during the Carey and Cuomo administrations. He covered the upset victory of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Long Island’s first woman congresswoman, and the 1997 U.S. Senate battle between Alfonse D'Amato and Chuck Schumer and part of the marathon Senate campaign that led to the election of Hillary Clinton.

Before joining Newsday, Brand, a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, worked as news editor of Suffolk Life Newspapers and as a reporter for the Long Island News and the Buffalo Courier Express.

U.S. Attorney vows to root out Albany corruption as Cuomo in hot seat

In this May 19, 2014 file photo, Preet

(Credit: AP / Richard Drew)

ALBANY -- U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara vowed that he has the “fearlessness and independence” needed to investigate Albany corruption as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is accused of interfering with his own corruption commission.

“If other people aren’t going to do it, then we’re going to do it,” Bharara said on the PBS’ program “Charlie Rose."

“Our interest above all other interests is to make...

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4th C.D.: Was Kathleen Rice's role in Cuomo's commission a boost or a burden?

One year ago this month, as he trumpeted

(Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan)

One year ago this month, as he trumpeted the formation of his Moreland Commission on Public Corruption, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice as one of its three co-chairs.

She was quoted as hailing Cuomo's "leadership on this important issue" and as looking forward "to working with some of the best law enforcement and public policy professionals in this...

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In furor over Moreland report, a theory of a potential legal problem surfaces

ALBANY -- Whether Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo improperly interfered with an anti-corruption commission may hinge on a legal maneuver early in the life of the Moreland Commission, according to a former Democratic assemblyman who is now a good-government academic.

A year ago, Cuomo created the anti-corruption panel under the Moreland Act, which restricts investigations to the executive branch. But...

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Moreland co-chairman denies interference by Cuomo

ALBANY -- A co-chairman of the state’s corruption commission denies Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo or his top aide ever stopped an investigation or improperly pressured the panel of prosecutors.

“He didn’t direct me to do anything,” said commission co-chairman William Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, in an interview with the Syracuse Post-Standard’s Syracuse.com.

The New York...

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Moreland case harkens to earlier claim over Cuomo’s involvement with ethics board

Ravi Batra, seen in an undated photo, a

(Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy )

ALBANY -- The state ethics board member who quit in protest in 2012 over what he said was the panel’s lack of independence from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sees parallels to the latest claims that Cuomo interfered with a corruption commission.

“A governor can appoint judges, but can't control them; same is true for ethics commissioners,” said Ravi Batra, a founding member of the state Joint Commission...

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Senate GOP, Haber trade jabs over 'anonymous' donations

State Senate Republicans said Wednesday that Democratic Senate candidate Adam Haber accepted “anonymous” in-kind contributions above legal limit, an allegation Haber denied.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee cited Haber’s most recent filing with the State Board of Elections, covering the first six months of the year. They show two “in-kind” contributions totaling $18,000 from an unidentified...

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County critic's kids worked for parks department

Democratic Legislator Dave Denenberg, as he announces his

(Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

Although Nassau Legis. David Denenberg complained that a Newsday review of Nassau's 2013 part-time and seasonal parks employees payroll showed “a political-insider feeding frenzy,” records show that the Merrick Democrat's own children have worked for the parks department in past years.

County comptroller records show that Amanda Denenberg worked as a seasonal parks worker in 2007 and...

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Cuomo foes call for swift action following report of interference with ethics panel

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, delivers

(Credit: AP / Mike Groll)

ALBANY — One of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s political challengers called the Democrat a crook and another said the governor may have to resign after a published report said he interfered with an anti-corruption commission.

 "Governor Cuomo is in big trouble,” said Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive.  “New Yorkers cannot afford to have a crook...

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Canceled: Di Iorio drops request for FEC ok on 'reality show' campaign

The show will not go on.

Late last night, Republican congressional candidate Nick Di Iorio and his campaign manager Joe Shippee withdrew their request for an FEC advisory ruling on whether they could turn their longshot campaign into a reality show.

That withdrawal was disclosed this morning when the Federal Election Commission members met to discuss and vote on a draft advisory opinion...

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Good-government groups say report of Cuomo’s involvement in ethics panel ‘terrible,’ ‘shocking’

ALBANY _ Good-government groups on Wednesday called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to respond, in person, to a “devastating” news report that he and his top aides interfered with a potentially powerful anti-corruption commission he ultimately shut down.

The New York Times in a lengthy story Wednesday said Cuomo and his aides dissuaded the Moreland Commission from investigating the governor’s...

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