<![CDATA[NBC New York - Politics]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Wed, 27 May 2015 22:16:17 -0400 Wed, 27 May 2015 22:16:17 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mayor de Blasio Announces Expansion of Teaching Program]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 18:46:23 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/de+blasio+schools2.jpg Mayor de Blasio announced the expansion of an experimental teaching program. It's called "Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence" or PROSE. Melissa Russo reports.]]> <![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Visits NH Brewery]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 18:21:40 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/228*120/Hillary+Clinton+smuttynose+2.jpg

Hillary Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on US Diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that has now been classified.

It's new information that came to light about the former Secretary of State as she campaigned at the Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, New Hampshire, her second visit to the state as a presidential candidate.

Clinton says she wants people to be able to see all of the nearly 300 emails that have been released

"I'm aware that the FBI has asked that portion of one email be held back - that happens in the process of FOI responses," she said. "But that doesn't change the fact that all of the information i the emails was handled appropriately."

No laws were violated. But Friday's redaction shows that Clinton received information considered sensitive on her unsecured personal server, which came to light just as she was beginning her presidential campaign.

Clinton also seemed to give a more definitive answer when asked about her views on the future of US Policy in Iraq.

"This has to be fought by and won by Iraqis," said Clinton. "There is no role whatsoever for American soldiers on the ground to go back other than as trainers and advisers."

The candidate got an earful from small business as she spoke in defense of the Export Import Bank which guarantees loans to help U.S. exporters - opposed by some Republicans.

On the subject of the controversial Trans Pacific Trade Partnership, Clinton says she is still deciding her position.

"I do have concerns," she said. "I have concerns that the standards will not be tough enough. They will not be enforceable."

The Clinton Campaign has announced that her official announcement rally will be June 13. The location has not yet been announced.



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Jim Kenney Wins Philly Mayoral Bid]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 00:15:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/AP142050022358.jpg

Jim Kenney is poised to become Mayor of Philadelphia after winning the Democratic Party's nomination in Tuesday's primary.

"I am honored and forever humbled by the coalition of support that made me the Democratic nominee for mayor of the City of Philadelphia," the 57-year-old former at large city councilman proclaimed during his victory speech surrounded by family, former council members and key supporters.

Kenney was declared the winner at 9:03 p.m. with 62 percent of the vote. Only 24 percent of precincts had reported when the race was decided. The numbers narrowed as more votes were recorded, but he still carried the vote 2-1 or 56 percent.

Kenney bested five other opponents — Anthony Hardy Williams; Lynne Abraham; Nelson Diaz; Doug Oliver; and Milton Street — but his victory is far from a surprise. Heading into May, a poll of 600 likely voters showed Kenney had a huge 42 percent lead over his opponents. The survey was the only independent poll of the primary race and was conducted for NBC10/Telemundo 62, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com.

Williams and Abraham each had 15 percent of pie while the others had 5 percent or less.

Kenney had the most endorsements including vital support from former colleagues on city council and several unions including the electricians, FOP and teachers. Some of the most important backing came from prominent African-American politicians from Northwest Philadelphia including Councilwomen Cindy Bass and Marian Tasco and state representative Dwight Evans.

"Our campaign was a broad and unprecedented coalition of diverse groups many of whom came together for the first time to support me," Kenney said.

Known for his big personality and sometimes brash comments in person and on Twitter, the South Philadelphia-native said he'd like to provide universal prekindergarten education, raise minimum wage to $15 an hour and banish stop-and-frisk. They're all topics that were of top importance to voters, our polling showed.

Kenney spent 23 years in council and was seen for being progressive on issues like the environment, ethics and marijuana decriminalization. He's long supported the LGBT community, police and firefighters as well.

But he has walked back on comments about police's use of force, which some likened to brutality, and, years ago, distanced himself from former state senator Vince Fumo, who was convicted of corruption.

Kenney will now face lone Republican challenger Melissa Murray Baily in the November general election, but he's expected to win as Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-1 in the city. He said he'll be spending the next six months earning every vote.

"We need this coalition to grow even larger," he said "Together I know we can achieve even greater things, so let’s get to work."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Should College Be Free? Bernie Sanders Says So]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 19:35:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/471658670.jpg

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, announced a proposal Tuesday that would make undergraduate tuition at four-year public colleges and universities free to students. The idea would be largely funded through new fees on Wall Street.

“It'll strengthen our economy and give us a better-educated workforce,” said Sen. Sanders, who is also running to the left of Hillary Clinton in seeking the Democratic nomination for the White House.

The Wall Street speculation fee would be levied on investment houses, hedge funds, and other speculators, according to a summary of the legislation posted on the website of Sen. Sanders. The fees would amount to $.50 on every $100 of stock. A .1 percent fee would be tacked onto bonds and a .005 percent charge would be levied on derivatives.

It is estimated that the fees could raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year, Sanders said. Through that, the federal government would cover two-thirds of the free college tuition, with states responsible for the remaining third, according to the legislation summary.

Nationally, total tuition at public colleges and universities amounts to about $70-billion a year, according to the office of Sen. Sanders.

The Independent, who is a self-described Democratic Socialist and admirer of how several European nations provide free higher education, also wants lower interest rates on student loans. The legislation Sanders introduced would give borrowers the ability to refinance student loans at lower interest rates, as homeowners can currently do with their mortgages.

“It is totally absurd that in America today, we have hundreds of thousands of bright young people who can no longer afford to go to college,” Sanders told necn.

Other reforms the College for All Act would implement include expanding the federal work study program, which offers part-time employment to students, and simplifying the student aid application process, Sanders added.

As for Sanders' proposal to tax Wall Street to make college free, many observers believe the GOP-controlled Congress will pay little or no attention. Still, Sanders said Washington has to do a better job of listening to families struggling to pay for education.

Separately, education leaders in Vermont announced Tuesday that high schoolers can continue taking up to two college courses free.

“This is really quite a big deal,” said Jeb Spaulding, the chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges. “It’s really a major economic advancement tool for many students who wouldn’t otherwise get to post-secondary education.”

A state law was about to make towns kick in half the costs, possibly stifling participation in the so-called “dual enrollment” program which more than 1,000 Vermont students took part in in the past year, according to Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

A new fix means the state education fund will now cover the costs of that coursework, Shumlin announced, noting he would like to see more students apply to dual enrollment programs before upcoming deadlines.

Kenyan-born Lule Aden, 18, a senior at Burlington High School, said she enjoyed taking University of Vermont classes well before she even graduated high school. She said she will be the first in her family to go to college when she heads to UVM in the fall, planning to study communication sciences and disorders.

“Taking these courses, getting a feel of how college feels, and how the courses are, and how long classes are, I feel more prepared for it,” Aden said, describing how her dual enrollment experience left her more ready for college. “And I'm going to be able to do it and hopefully be successful.” 

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<![CDATA["Hello, Twitter!" President Obama Gets His Own Account]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 12:43:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/obama-blackberry-459365998.jpg

President Barack Obama has joined the Twitterverse. 

With his second term more than halfway through, the president sent his inaugural tweet from a new @POTUS Twitter account on Monday. 

The verified account, which attracted more than 146,000 followers within 30 minutes of posting the first tweet, carries the bio "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States."

The official @WhiteHouse account retweeted the message and posted confirmation of its own.

The tweet wasn't the first 140-character missive sent from the 44th president. The White House's existing practice was to sign tweets from the president on the @BarackObama handle with his initials, "-bo." That @BarackObama account, launched in March 2007, is run by the staff of Obama's non-profit Organizing for Action group. 

The new account followed all major Chicago sports teams except one — the Cubs. 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA["SNL" Heralds the Summer of Hillary Clinton]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 06:37:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Hillary-Clinton-SNL-Louis-CK-16-May-2015-2.jpg

Summer is only a calendar page away. But nevermind the sunny skies and balmy breezes: the season of straw polls and caucuses has arrived, and Hillary Clinton was in campaign mode on "Saturday Night Live."

In the musical opening sketch, the former senator and secretary of state (portrayed in her latest "SNL" incarnation by a manic, delighftully unhinged Kate McKinnon) took to beaches and sand castles to introduce herself to a younger generation.

"May I have just a moment of your summer? I'm Hillary Clinton and I'm running for president of these United States," said Clinton, clawing at the air, her hands like pincers.

"But that's not for a long time," one (Kenan Thompson) said. "Now it's summer vacation."

"My last vacation was in 1953," she replied. "I played one round of hopscotch with a friend. I found it tedious. Why hop when you can march — straight to the White House."

She then issued her percussive laugh — something like "ah HA HA haaaaaa" — as her mouth curled into a snarling rictus.

She spoke with some kids (Aidy Bryant and Pete Davidson), whose parents remained resolutely against her political aspirations.

"I like your sand castle," she said.

"Thanks," Bryant's character replied. "It's our dream house."

"That's nice. This is my dream house," Clinton said, embracing a massive, sandy model of the White House.

Also on the campaign trail were a few surfers (Kyle Mooney, Jay Pharoah and Beck Bennett).

“Hey there, 18-to-25-year-olds," she said, stiffly hula-twisting up to a surfboard. "How does it hang?”

Blank stares.

"You know what's cool? In two years I'll be 69," Clinton said. (More blank stares). "You like that? Bill told me to tell that to young males."

The former president made a brief appearance himself (in the person of longtime "SNL" impersonator Darrell Hammond), if only to help a young woman (Sasheer Zamata) apply sunscreen.

"Billary Rodham Clinton, what are you doing?" the former first lady hissed at her husband.

"Sorry," Mr. Clinton told Zamata's character. "It's my mom."

The Clintons weren't the only political dynasty to take some flak on Saturday night. On "Weekend Update," co-host Colin Jost skewered Jeb Bush for his fumbled responses to questions related to his brother's record in Iraq.

"Jeb Bush said in an interview this week that, like his brother, he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq," Jost said. "But he wouldn't have done it for the same George did: to capture the genie from Aladdin."

Jost also noted that Jeb Bush faced criticism during a Nevada town hall meeting, where a college student said George W. Bush "created ISIS."

"But that's really not fair," Jost said. "It's more like he co-created it," as a photo of Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared.



Photo Credit: Broadway Video
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<![CDATA[GROSS: Rand Paul Staffer Licks Super PAC's Camera]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 19:47:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP759153459907.jpg

A New Hampshire staffer for Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul's campaign licked the camera of a Democratic super PAC trying to videotape the candidate on Monday.

A YouTube video posted by the group American Bridge, which is tracking GOP candidate on the trail, shows David Chesley, Paul's New Hampshire political director, staring into the video camera for several seconds before giving the lens a big lick.

Boston Globe political reporter James Pindell was at the event - a Town Hall in Londonderry - and asked Chesley afterward what the lick was all about, but said he got no answer.

Necn has an email in to the Paul campaign seeking comment.



Photo Credit: FILE
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<![CDATA["SNL" Skewers GOP Presidential Candidates]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 07:33:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Ted-Cruz-Bobby-Moynihan-SNL-9-May-2015.jpg

The 2016 presidential election cycle has officially begun — and in the comedy world, that means it's open season on the high-profile politicians clamoring for a shot at the Oval Office.

"Saturday Night Live" skewered Republicans running for the presidential nomination in a skit featuring the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, but Hillary Clinton didn't exactly escape unscathed.

In the cold open sketch, GOP leaders emerged onstage at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference accompanied by over-the-top shoutouts from a DJ (Cecily Strong).

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (Beck Bennett) promised to shred the Obamacare and the IRS like his basslines, while Dr. Ben Carson (Kenan Thompson) likewise promised to do the same.

"Put this guy in prison, because he's about to steal your vote!" the DJ said. "But be careful, because if sexuality works the way he says it does, he might turn gay in there." (For the record, Carson apologized for saying that being gay is a choice.)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (Bobby Moynihan) entered and ripped off his suit jacket, revealing a fluorescent shirt. Former HP executive Carly Fiorina (a loony Kate McKinnon) one-upped that, riding in on a motorcycle flanked by pyrotechnics.

"Her maiden name is Snead, and she's just got what you need — unless it's foreign policy experience," the DJ said over the blaring hip-hop.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (Kyle Mooney) rode in a skateboard as the DJ explained his stance on pro-marijuana legalization: "He's a small man who loves small government and fat blunts."

And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (Taran Killam), who apparently eschewed an undershirt in favor of tanning oil, entered with a bevy of dancers to a background track from Miami rapper Pitbull.

"Won't it be fun to watch all these guys lose to Jeb Bush?!" the DJ says as the candidates gather onstage.

But Weekend Update co-hosts took a few jabs at Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton, too.

"A new poll shows that Hillary Clinton's poll points have dropped two points since she made her campaign official," Michael Che said. "Because for some reason, once a woman tries to make it official, we suddenly lose interest."

And then there was this, also from Che: "Hillary Clinton reportedly met with potential donors for her presidential super PAC, three weeks after she criticized that practice. The super PAC's name is Hillary's Political Action Committee for Democracy, or HiPACracy."



Photo Credit: Broadway Video
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<![CDATA[D.A. Donovan Wins Special Election for Grimm Seat: AP]]> Tue, 05 May 2015 22:57:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NY-DA-Daniel-Donovan.jpg

 

A district attorney connected to the case of an unarmed black man who died after a white police officer's chokehold was elected Tuesday to fill a congressional seat left vacant when the incumbent pleaded guilty to tax fraud.

 

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, who empaneled the grand jury that declined to indict the officer who placed Eric Garner in the fatal chokehold, will keep the congressional seat in Republican hands. He defeated Democratic City Councilman Vincent Gentile in a low-turnout special election to succeed Michael Grimm.

The race occurred in the shadow of the Garner decision, which helped fuel the national debate on the relationship between police and communities of color.

With more than 96 percent of the vote counted in unofficial results, Donovan led Gentile 60 percent to 38 percent. More than 37,000 votes had been counted.

Donovan becomes the lone Republican to represent the city in Congress. His victory also will put an end to the tally on the front page of the Staten Island Advance, the local newspaper, which noted the number of days — well more than 100 — the area was without congressional representation.

Donovan came to national attention last year after a cellphone video showed Garner being placed in a chokehold during a street confrontation with police. The grand jury decision in December led to protests, and Garner's name was cited on social media by a gunman who killed two New York Police Department police officers weeks later.

It also was a perpetual presence as Donovan campaigned, even as he took pains to avoid the subject. At a debate between Donovan and Gentile, a former state senator, someone in the audience yelled, "I can't breathe!" a reference to Garner's last words.

In an interview, Donovan said that he had people ask him how the grand jury's decision could have happened but that it was a misconception that he could have determined the outcome.

"I always try to correct people when they say, 'You failed to get an indictment,'" he said. "That means that our goal should have been to get one. And our goal is to present fair and impartial evidence to 23 members of our community."

But the specter of the Garner decision didn't hurt Donovan on Staten Island, home to a significant number of police officers, firefighters and working-class white people, and the outcome of the race was never truly in doubt.

The 11th Congressional District is considerably more conservative than other districts in the city as it includes Republican-heavy Staten Island along with a small part of southern Brooklyn.

Grimm had won re-election last November even under federal indictment, handily defeating another City Councilman, Domenic Recchia, the beneficiary of a significant investment by the national Democratic Party.

This time, the national Democrats largely stayed away, and local powerbrokers including Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo did little more than offer perfunctory endorsements. And, for the second straight race, the Democrats picked a candidate from Brooklyn, who inherently faced an uphill climb in a district largely drawn from Staten Island.

Democratic officials have suggested they will mount a fiercer challenge in 2016, when a presidential election could bolster turnout. Grimm will be sentenced next month and could face more than two years in prison.

Also on the ballot in Tuesday's special election was a quirky race for the 43rd state Assembly District seat.

The district, in heavily Democratic Brooklyn, did not feature a candidate on the Democratic line since the candidate who was chosen by the local party didn't file the required paperwork on time. Instead, three Democrats ran on other party lines in an effort to represent Crown Heights and East Flatbush neighborhoods.

With 98 percent of the vote counted in unofficial results, Diana Richardson, who was on the Working Families line, had 50 percent of the vote, ahead of Shirley Patterson on the Independence Party line, Republican Menachem Raitport and Geoffrey Davis on the Love Yourself party line.

Democratic state Assemblyman Karim Camara left the position after he became the executive director of the governor's Office of Faith-Based Community Development.

___

Associated Press writer Eileen AJ Connelly contributed reporting.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Christie Aides Plead Not Guilty]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 18:56:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kelly-Baroni.jpg

Two former political allies of Gov. Christie entered not guilty pleas Monday after they were charged for their alleged involvement in politically motivated lane closures of the George Washington Bridge in 2013.

Christie's former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and his former top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Bill Baroni, entered the pleas through their attorneys in the nine-count indictment unsealed Friday after a yearlong investigation.

"I would never risk my career, my job and my reputation for something like this," Baroni said after the brief court hearing. "I am an innocent man."

Kelly didn't talk to reporters Monday, but said she was also innocent at a news conference on Friday.

Bail for both was set at $150,000 and U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton set a tentative trial date of July 7.

David Wildstein, who went to high school with Christie and later became a top official in the Port Authority, pleaded guilty Friday to two criminal counts. He admitted that he helped plot lane closures in Fort Lee on an approach to the world's busiest bridge as political payback against that community's Democratic mayor for failing to support Christie's re-election campaign.

"If David Wildstein was willing to repeatedly lie to settle a petty political grudge, nobody should be surprised at his eagerness to concoct any story that he thinks will help him stay out of federal prison," said Baroni's lawyer Michael Baldassarre. "We're confident that everyone will see this desperate ploy for exactly what this is."

Kelly's attorney, Michael Critchley, said that the case was built solely on information from Wildstein. He said that her brief appearance with Baroni in court Monday was the longest Kelly and Baroni have ever spent together.

Christie has not been implicated in the criminal case.

The charges provide mixed news for Christie as he tries to regain momentum in support of an expected presidential bid.

Christie appears to have been cleared of any allegations that he personally participated in the scheme, but the charges brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey still hit close to home.

A Monmouth University poll of 500 New Jersey residents conducted from Friday through Sunday and released on Monday found that half believe Christie was personally involved in the decision to close the toll lanes. Sixty-nine percent don't believe he's been completely honest about what he knew.

Less than one in 10 believe the three individuals who've been charged in the scheme were the only ones involved. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Several recent polls have found Christie's job approval rating in the state has also sunk to an all-time low.

Christie's aides and backers hope the developments will allow the governor to put this chapter behind him less than a year before the first presidential primaries, even as legal proceedings have just begun. In many ways, the outcome was the best he could have hoped for — little new information and no names mentioned beyond those Christie had already cut ties to.

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<![CDATA[NY Senate Leader Dean Skelos, Son Arrested on Corruption Charges]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 22:35:06 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Skelos-Corruption-Arrest.jpg

New York State Senate leader Dean Skelos and his son were arrested Monday on federal corruption charges, about three months after NBC 4 New York first reported on the investigation into state government’s most powerful Republican.

The pair were seen turning themselves in at the FBI offices in lower Manhattan Monday morning. The men face six counts including conspiracy, extortion and soliciting bribes, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court Monday.

In a statement Monday, Dean Skelos said he expects to be exonerated of the charges.

“I am innocent of the charges leveled against me," he said. "I am not saying I am just not guilty, I am saying that I am innocent. I fully expect to be exonerated by a public jury trial.”

The complaint alleges that the pair began soliciting bribes from stormwater treatment firm AbTech and a real estate developer in 2010. Under the scheme, the pair told the developer to pay Adam Skelos hundreds of thousands of dollars in order for Dean Skelos to take action on legislation that would help the company's business.

During the scheme, the complaint says, Dean Skelos allegedly threatened to block a contract between AbTech and Nassau County unless monthly payments to Adam Skelos were increased from $4,000 to $10,000.

After the firm increased the payments, Dean Skelos allegedly pressured Nassau County officials to award the $12 miillion contract to the firm, which wasn't the lowest bidder, the New York Times first reported.

AbTech says it's cooperating with authorities and is not considered a target in the probe.

"The process through which local authorities selected AbTech was comprehensive and diligent, involving several levels of Nassau County government," the company said. "AbTech is proud ... to have earned this contract after a thorough and fair review process conducted by Nassau County."

Adam Skelos collected about $198,000 over the course of the scheme.

NBC 4 New York first reported on the investigation into Dean Skelos’ in January. After the investigation was revealed, a spokeswoman for the legislator called it “thinly sourced” and “irresponsible,” adding that it “does not meet the standards of serious journalism.

Still, the father and son began trying to cover their tracks after NBC 4 New York’s report, the complaint alleges. It’s when Adam Skelos allegedly began using a “burner” phone and began communicating with certain people via his iPhone’s video chat app, because he allegedly said it doesn’t appear as a phone call on cell phone bills.

In one conversation recorded during the investigation, Adam Skelos allegedly told his father, "You can't talk normally because it's like...Preet Bharara is listening to every... call. It's just...frustrating."

Dean Skelos allegedly replied "It is."

The elder Skelos has said he would not resign his post because of the investigation.

Prosecutors said a news conference would be held at noon to speak about the charges brought against the father and son. Dean Skelos has represented a portion of Nassau County on Long Island in the state Senate since he was elected in 1984. He has been majority leader since January 2011.

Skelos’ arrest comes less than three months after Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested and charged for allegedly taking $4 million in bribes.

Silver denies the charges.

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<![CDATA[NY Senate Leader Could Be Charged This Week: Sources]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 09:55:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dean-skelos.jpg

New York State Senate leader Dean G. Skelos and his son could be charged as soon as Monday in connection with a federal corruption investigation, sources familiar with the case tell NBC 4 New York. 

Last month, federal prosecutors started presenting evidence to a grand jury in an investigation of the Long Island Republican, an investigation first reported in January by NBC 4 New York.

Subpoenas have already been served to a number of people close to Skelos -- among them, several state senators on Long Island, according to sources familiar with the investigation. 

Federal investigators have been looking into Skelos' sources of income. Skelos denies any wrongdoing and has called reports that he is under federal investigation "irresponsible."  

A spokesman for Skelos has not returned requests for comment.

The senator's 32-year-old son, Adam Skelos, is also a focus of the investigation, sources familiar with the probe said. He was hired by an Arizona-based stormwater treatment company, AbTech, which was awarded a contract in his father's district despite the fact it wasn't the low bidder, the New York Times first reported. 

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is also looking at Skelos' ties to the real estate industry, among other areas of inquiry, sources said. A spokesman for Bharara and an FBI spokesman declined comment.

Skelos, the highest ranking Republican in state government, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Skelos said in a second statement last month, "I have and will continue to cooperate with any inquiry."

The revelation that Skelos is under investigation comes less than three months after Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested and charged for allegedly taking $4 million in bribes.

Silver denies the charges.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sen. Sanders Announces White House Bid]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 12:21:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sanders-announce.jpg U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses his plans to run for the White House in 2016.]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Obama Jokes at Correspondents' Dinner]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 05:09:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Obama-White-House-Correspondents-Dinner-1.jpg President Obama poked fun at politicians, government officials and himself at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Has Qualms on Trade Deal]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:16:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/l_apclintonburritox1200.jpg

The second day of her first 2016 campaign visit to New Hampshire found Hillary Clinton at another roundtable, this one at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.

Clinton says community colleges need to reinvent themselves and better market what they offer.

"It's one of the reasons why I really support President Obama's efforts to try to raise the visibility of Community Colleges and make it even more affordable for even more people to go," said Clinton.

Obama's proposal calls for community college to be free.

In contrast, Clinton expressed qualms over the trade deal the Obama administration is negotiating with Pacific nations.

Clinton's campaign previously said she would be closely watching efforts by the administration to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Her comments Tuesday were her first on the subject on the campaign trail.

"We need to build things, too," she said. "We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and skills to be competitive," while getting back to "a much more focused effort, in my opinion, to try to produce those capacities here at home."

Even so, she stopped short of rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership - an agreement opposed by many manufacturing unions.

The next stop for Clinton is the Concord home of 94-year-old Mary Louise Hancock, a New Hampshire Democratic Party stalwart who has hosted dozens of Presidential candidates in her living room over the years.

In keeping with Clinton's no media strategy, reporters were held at bay. And it's not just reporters frustrated by the lack of access.

"She is being insulated to the degree that she should not be as a candidate," said independent voter Brian Blackden. "We don't run campaigns in New Hampshire, never have, with one candidate from the party, and it's wrong."

The Clinton campaign doesn't disclose most of her stops - but Hillary Clinton is not difficult to find. Just look for the crowd of people, motorcade of cars and secret service.

Another stop, not on the public schedule, a visit with Democrats at party headquarters where Clinton is warmly supported - though the progressive wing of the party is listening closely and Clinton is responding.

Political analyst Dean Spiliotes says, "She's sounding much more populist, much more progressive. Wall Street supporters for now seem to be kind of okay with that . They see it as a strategic choice that she has to make."

Besides free community college, Clinton now supports same sex marriage as a constitutional right and she is talking about limiting "unaccountable money" in politics.

 

Content from the Associated Press was used in this report.



Photo Credit: AP | Charlie Neibergall]]>