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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 7:00am

    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...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 7:58am

    Streissand Him

    Hopefully this will cause people to vote for him en-mass, and one of the first actions Teachout takes is to have him arrested and charged for his downright criminal abuse of power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    David, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:01am

    Re:

    You mean, he is doing a Berlusconi? Tap dance around accountability until he can call for clemency on his old age?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:03am

    Why does he feel the need to bully them with frivolous lawsuits?

    Because he can , and there's no one to stop him, That's how bully's operate and the direction our Police State Government has been heading in , Now off with their Heads.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:06am

    Name Recognition

    A name like 'Zephyr Teachout' has more cool factor than 'Andrew Cuomo'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    kP (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    $25

    I just made a donation to Zephyr Teachout & Tim Wu so we can have a state house that works for everyone in NY. Join me

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:57am

    Frivolous?

    I can't count this lawsuit as frivolous since she admits she used a Vermont address in a 2012 campaign contribution to Obama, and in 2013 when giving her address to a policeman during a traffic stop.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    mac insand (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:59am

    Popehat Signal?

    Would this be appropriate for Ken White's Popehat signal. If they're basically trying to just kill the campaign with legal bills, and if campaigning is a form of speech...?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 9:06am

    Re: Frivolous?

    Someone in the comments in one of the articles also claimed that Zephyr filed an amended tax return a few weeks ago - and the thing that was amended was the line that originally said she lived in New York for 0 months in a particular year. For what it's worth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 9:28am

    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!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 10:49am

    I didn't know that Nixon was reincarnated...

    Sounds just like his campaign for Congress in 1946.

    All we need now is a mafia tie-in...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 11:44am

    Update

    Don't know the details, but apparently the judge just ruled against Cuomo and will allow her campaign to continue...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 11:45am

    Re: Frivolous?

    I can't count this lawsuit as frivolous since she admits she used a Vermont address in a 2012 campaign contribution to Obama, and in 2013 when giving her address to a policeman during a traffic stop.

    Judge just sided with her, so, yeah, frivolous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Yeah but No, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 12:12pm

    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....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    relghuar, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 11:17pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    David, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 12:10am

    Re: Re: Frivolous?

    Judge just sided with her, so, yeah, frivolous.

    That looks to me like those mathematicians who consider "provable" synonymous with "trivial".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 12th, 2014 @ 10:07am

    Re: Streissand Him

    Hopefully this will cause people to vote for him en-mass, and one of the first actions Teachout takes is to have him arrested and charged for his downright criminal abuse of power.

    Hopefully the governor doesn't have the power to "have him arrested".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 12th, 2014 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Frivolous?


    Judge just sided with her, so, yeah, frivolous.


    So every lawsuit that loses is frivolous?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Aug 13th, 2014 @ 6:17am

    Maybe they think the people are not from NY because their names are so unknown? A more charitable interpretation to be sure but possible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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