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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Dems vow to 'whack' Lazio for ties to Wall Street

State Democrats said Friday that they'll make GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio's ties to Wall Street a major issue in the upcoming campaign.


Charles King, the state Democratic Party's executive director, on Friday held a press conference outside the Manhattan offices of JPMorgan Chase -- where Lazio is on leave -- to lambast the Republican candidate for governor. 

"Politically, we're going to be whacking him as a Wall Street lobbyist," King said Friday in an interview. "It would be politically smart for him [Lazio] to sever his ties." 

Lazio, who won the Republican designation earlier this month against Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, still faces a potential primary challenge in September from Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino. If Lazio wins the nomination, he will face a well-funded Democratic nominee, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, in this fall's general election campaign.

On Thursday, Lazio released financial disclosure forms showing at least $2.6 million from income and assets in 2009. His spokesman Barney Keller has said Lazio, who had worked as a lobbyist and executive for JPMorgan Chase since 2004, earned a salary of $260,000 and $300,000 bonus last year before he left on a leave of absence to run for governor.

Lazio was unavailable for comment Friday but in the past has contended that Wall Street is a vital source of tax revenue for state government, and that his experience there will help generate more jobs at a time when Albany faces a $9.2 billion budget deficit.

"Charlie King sounds like he's auditioning for a part on the X-Files, because everyday his conspiracy theories are getting more bizarre and out of control," Keller said Friday.

"Andrew Cuomo has taken over seven million dollars from the special interests to protect Albany's special interest government," Keller said. "That's something he'll have to address with the voters in November."

On Friday, King said Cuomo and other Democrats plan to attack Lazio for helping to deregulate Wall Street while serving in Congress in the 1990s. 


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