Money and Politics This Week


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1. Former State Congressman Mike Arcuri expressed his strong support this week for a state system of public campaign financing. Arcuri, a member of the NY LEAD coalition, wrote that such a system would put regular voters back “in the driver’s seat.” Arcuri also decried Albany’s “culture of dependence on large campaign contributions,” describing it as a corrosive and expensive practice that reduces public faith in state government.

2. Opening arguments began this week in the federal corruption trial of Pedro Espada, Jr., and his son Pedro Gautier Espada, who are accused of using the Soundview Healthcare Network as “their own taxpayer-funded piggy bank” by funneling more than $500,000 from the organization and spending it on cars, spa treatments, and other personal luxuries. The former state Senate Majority Leader and his son are charged with theft, embezzlement, and misapplication of federal funds, as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

3. Evidence introduced in the ongoing corruption and bribery trial of former Yonkers Councilwoman Sandy Annabi has cast the spotlight on another public official: state Senator Tom Libous, who, according to witness testimony, pushed a law firm to hire his son—and inflate his starting salary—in exchange for steering government business toward the firm’s practice.