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Kirsten Gillibrand ‘star attraction’ at closed-door DNC event

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand attends a news conference on

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand attends a news conference on Capitol Hill June 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. Credit: Getty Images / Mark Wilson

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to be a “star attraction” at a closed-door reception that her leadership PAC Off the Sidelines and the Women’s Leadership Forum are holding at the Democratic National Convention, leaked DNC emails revealed.

The appearance of Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) at the women’s event, which sponsors said is not a fundraiser but is closed to the news media, is one of the tidbits about New York politicians and donors found among internal DNC posted Friday on the WikiLeaks website.

Most of the DNC emails that mention Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Reps. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — and even GOP Reps. Peter King of Seaford and Lee Zeldin of Shirley — were written by DNC staff passing along news clips quoting those politicians.

Others show Long Island’s Democratic national committeeman Robert Zimmerman of Great Neck sent an email praising a DNC spokesman, and Jay Jacobs, the Nassau County Democratic chairman, asked for White House tours for his family and, separately, for about 60 middle-school kids and staff at his camp.

According to one string of DNC emails, Gillibrand agreed to headline the women’s event at the invitation of Cynthia Friedman, a New York and Florida real estate executive, philanthropist and Democratic donor who co-founded the Women’s Leadership Forum in 1993.

Friedman also invited George Clooney and his wife, Amal, to attend the event that emails said would compete with others sponsored by two other groups aiding women in politics, Emily’s List and Emerge.

But the Clooneys declined. The actor drew criticism and Republican attacks following reports that Clinton’s joint fundraising committee charged $353,400 to sit at the head table with the Clooneys and Clinton at a California event in April.

“The Clooneys are not attending the convention. Kirsten G. will be there,” Friedman wrote in response to a Newsday email query. Gillibrand spokesman Marc Brumer said, “No comment.”

Friedman and Carol Pensky, the co-founder of the Women’s Leadership Forum, initiated the idea for the event in a May 21 email to Jordon Kaplan, the DNC national finance director, with a cc: to Claire Olszewski, director of Women’s Leadership Foundation at the DNC.

Olszewski appeared to be put off by her cc: status.

“Did you reply to this? This cracks me up,” Olszewski wrote Jordan. He wrote back, “also, can you just respond.” She replied, “It sounds like she really wants to talk to YOU.” Kaplan replied, “Claire.” She emailed, “Oh calm dowwwnnnnn. I just sent something!”

Neither Jordan nor Olszewski responded to email queries.

Friedman and Pensky directly emailed Gillibrand about “a festive reception to be underwritten by a women’s magazine or other sponsor” on Tuesday afternoon.

The email added, “We would focus on you as the special star attraction of the event” because she had done so much to encourage women to get involved in politics.

Gillibrand agreed, but said she wouldn’t arrive in Philadelphia until Tuesday night, and that her aides were handling details. Emails suggested it could be held as a brunch Wednesday between 10:30 a.m. and noon, but neither Friedman nor Brumer would confirm.

“Thanks for the great idea,” Gillibrand emailed. “Can’t wait!”

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