Main | Wednesday, November 26, 2008

NY GOP Tries To Bribe Renegade Dems, Offers $6M To Stop Marriage Equality

The Republican leadership in the New York Senate is trying to bribe the three renegade Democratic senators to support their choice for majority leader with promises of committee leadership positions and access to a multimillion dollar budget.
In a move that could help woo three Democrats whose votes will determine which party will control the New York State Senate next year, Republicans are planning to grant more autonomy and power to key committees, officials said on Monday.

The most striking change will involve the Senate Finance Committee, which plays a major role in budget planning and has the power to approve all of the governor’s nominations to top executive branch jobs. Under the plan, the Finance Committee would be given its own funds in the state budget, allowing it to operate almost independently from the rest of the Senate. Traditionally in the Legislature, committee leaders are effectively figureheads who defer to the Senate and Assembly leaders.

But the change would also empower Senate Republicans to offer an especially attractive post to one of the three Democrats — Senators Rubén Díaz Sr. and Carl Kruger and Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr. — who have not yet committed to supporting Malcolm A. Smith, the Senate’s top Democrat. Mr. Smith needs their votes to become majority leader when the Senate meets in January.
The dangled fund is reported to be about $6M.
Senate Republicans, who narrowly lost majority control on Election Day, are moving to create a nearly $6 million honey pot designed to encourage one of the "Gang of Three" Democrats to defect to the GOP side, The Post has learned. The highly unusual move involves the $95 million 2008-09 budget that the still GOP-controlled Senate must submit to Gov. Paterson's office by the end of next week.

For the first time in 14 years, the Senate budget, which cannot be altered by the governor, will contain a separate $5.9 million expenditure for the powerful Finance Committee, the chairman of which will be chosen in January by the next majority leader. "It's a carrot that people will take a look at," a Senate source said. "The money will be there for whoever heads the Senate Finance Committee next year, it means power and influence and a seat at the table for whoever is the chairman."
If the Democrats do not win the majority leadership position, it is highly unlikely that marriage equality will come to a vote in the New York Senate during the next session. While the GOP has many reasons to lust over the majority leadership job, this outrageous bribe can only be read as a deliberate attempt to buy their way to continued discrimination against gay New Yorkers.

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