Andrew Cuomo Trying To Bankrupt Upstart Campaign Against Him From Zephyr Teachout And Tim Wu

from the politics-is-a-dirty-game dept

There’s been some attention (especially in tech circles) to the upstart primary challenge in NY against Governor Andrew Cuomo (and his preferred Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul), coming from law professors Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. Both Teachout and Wu have been in and around a variety of tech and internet issues for years, and are pretty well-known in the community. Wu, of course, is well-known for coining the term “net neutrality” but has been deeply involved in a variety of other issues as well. Teachout has also been deeply involved in a variety of issues we frequently discuss here as well, including being national director of the Sunlight Foundation. Cuomo, on the other hand, is basically the very definition of traditional old school politics, and is currently embroiled in a big corruption scandal. Many people have noted that Cuomo is likely to win handily over Teachout just on name recognition alone, but since Lt. Governors run separately from Governors, Wu has a legitimate chance to beat Hochul.

Bizarrely, the Cuomo campaign seems to be doing everything it can to attract even more attention to the Teachout/Wu campaign, sending its own protestors to Teachout events. The campaign has also been attacking Wu.

But the most ridiculous of all is that the Cuomo campaign has filed a frivolous legal challenge against Teachout, claiming that she hasn’t really lived in New York state long enough to be on the ballot. The whole thing seems pretty clearly to be a way to force the bootstrapped campaign to spend a bunch of money on lawyers (and to spend a bunch of time and resources fighting the legal challenge, rather than campaigning). Teachout and Wu are running a crowdfunding campaign to try to raise some extra money to handle the legal challenge, so they don’t have to waste all of their campaign money just to beat back a frivolous lawsuit.

In court last week, it seemed pretty clear that this whole thing is also a way for Cuomo’s political operatives to go fishing through Teachout’s history for anything it can use against her in the campaign:

The Cuomo lawyers have asked for boxes of documents ? not only her tax filings and rental checks and voting records. They have also demanded her credit card and debit card records.

As Teachout notes, Cuomo is acting as if it’s “on the edge of illegal to even run against Governor Cuomo.”

It may be standard operating procedures to “play dirty” in politics, but this whole thing is making Cuomo look especially petty… and scared. Is he really so afraid of a couple of law school professors who happen to have some fans online? Why does he feel the need to bully them with frivolous lawsuits?

Update: The judge has ruled against Cuomo allowing Teachout to continue her campaign.

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Comments on “Andrew Cuomo Trying To Bankrupt Upstart Campaign Against Him From Zephyr Teachout And Tim Wu”

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19 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Is he really so afraid of a couple of law school professors who happen to have some fans online? Why does he feel the need to bully them with frivolous lawsuits?

Currently, the ‘anti-corruption’ investigation group is taking their marching orders from Cuomo, which means the only people who will be investigated are those he doesn’t like.

Now, if someone else was in charge, that investigation group might turn it’s attention elsewhere, like, and I just toss this out as a hypothetical example, perhaps to the actions of a former governor and his friends…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It works in Italy where the courts can be stalled for decades, the majority of media had a certain bias and the president has an almost unlimited number of cards up the sleeve. As much as Cuomo is concerned he is a lowly city-dictator. As soon as his reign gets ended by someone more brutal and extreme than himself, he will be in trouble. Welcome to Sparta!

Yeah but No says:

Re: Frivolous!

The campaign contribution doesn’t say “list your primary residence” it just says “address” meaning you can put your PO Box, your mother’s house, whatever. That holds no legal water. Same with the traffic stop, where do you want the ticket sent, not where is most of your time spent.

The most important form is voter registration and tax filings. Nothing else is legally binding. And even if it was, it can’t be quantified until the year is over, and 51% of the days are counted up.

Common sense tells ANYONE that if she worked full time on site at Fordham Law in Manhattan for 5 years, then this was knowably a frivolous lawsuit, meant only to bother, hamper, annoy and delay her, cost her campaign time and money, and hope that embarrassing details come out of it. In other words, sleazy Nixonian politics-as-usual….

relghuar says:

doesn't matter if he's afraid of THEM...

“Is he really so afraid of a couple of law school professors who happen to have some fans online? Why does he feel the need to bully them with frivolous lawsuits?”

It’s standard mob tactics. It’s not important if he has a reason to feel threatened by these challengers specifically. Even if they’re not a threat, the next ones may very well be. It’s much easier to show EVERYONE right now what they’ll be up against if they choose to annoy him, usually that’s enough to scare away most others that could actually have a chance to defeat him.

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