Power Brokers of the Week
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY24): Tenney, who’s new district includes all or part of twelve counties, has become a force of nature. In the past week she passed a bipartisan resolution expressing support for the Iranian protesters, called for an audit of Covid relief funds, pushed Governor Hochul to lift the healthcare worker Covid vaccine mandate and introduced a resolution denouncing New York’s latest gun control measure. Meanwhile, she joined forces with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and held the Biden Administration’s feet to the fire on the impact illegal immigration is having on small upstate towns. Earlier this month, she was named to the powerful Ways and Means Committee, one of only three New Yorkers on the 43 member committee.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA20): McCarthy got off to a rough start when it took more than a dozen votes to win the gavel. But the ordeal appears to have stiffened his spine and made him into more of a fighter. This week he booted Representatives Schiff, Swalwell and Omar off the House Intelligence Committee. McCarthy’s reasoning is sound. He notes that Schiff used the Intel Committee to leak while Swalwell was compromised by dating a Chinese spy. In Omar’s case, she was denied a seat on Intel because of anti-Semitic statements and hostility to American ally Israel. McCarthy’s stand won praise from frequent critics on the right like Dan Bongino of Fox News and Greg Kelly of Newsmax.
Mondaire Jones: When the new Congressional districts were finalized last year, Jones found himself in a district with fellow incumbent Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee. Maloney was quicker to the punch and announced for the new district right away. Jones opted to run for a New York City House seat. He lost in a crowded Democrat primary for the 10th Congressional District which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. This week it was announced that Jones would be an on-air political analyst on CNN. Jones has an impressive pedigree with a BA from Stanford and a JD from Harvard Law School. Rumors persist that Jones may run against Freshman Congressman Mike Lawler (R-NY17) in 2024.
Jokers of the Week
George Santos (R-NY3): What can you say about George? Another day another bizarre revelation followed by a comical response from the freshman Congressman. Specifically more allegations of Santos the Drag Queen surfaced this week along with a decade old anti-Semitic social media comment. But the real problem for Santos is going to be campaign fundraising irregularities. Even Speaker McCarthy came out said Santos will be removed from Congress if the House Ethics Committee determines he broke the law. A Twitter account with the handle @TheMoonofNY summed up Santos’ first month in Congress perfectly, tweeting Santos’ official portrait and remarking, “If you can’t be the best, be the worst.” Ouch!
(Note: HudsonPowerBroker.com updates our “George Santos Debacle” daily)
Governor Kathy Hochul: Somehow Hochul is still polling well. Siena this week has her with a best ever 56-36% job approval number. However, after her pick for the State’s highest court was blocked by Senate Dems last week, a Covid-related pay-to-pay scandal came into sharper focus this week. There is no dispute that Hochul used emergency authority to give a no bid $637 million Covid test contract to a company owned by major donors. Hochul had that she had no direct involvement with the contract award. But a thirteen-month-old email found this week reveals she spoke with the company's owner, Charlie Tebele, about the contract at a fundraiser he threw for her. The last three governors have left office amid varying degrees of scandal. Is Hochul next? Too soon to tell. But at a minimum it weakens her ability to negotiate the budget with the legislature.
James Dolan: By virtue of inheritance, the cartoonish James Dolan owns the Knicks, Rangers and Madison Square Garden. He was caught this week using facial recognition to ban lawyers involved in litigation against him. He defended what many have called a gross overreach stating, “If you’re being sued, you don’t have to welcome the person into your home. … We’re just asking you, please don’t come until you’re done with your argument with us. And, yes, we’re using facial recognition to enforce that.” Because of a sweetheart tax abatement that dates back four decades, Dolan hasn’t had to pay taxes on the prime MSG real estate saving him $43 million a year. Maybe this will be the impetus to get the state legislature to act on the city’s request to end Dolan’s tax breaks.