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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Filed Under: andrew cuomo, frivolous litigation, governor, new york, politics, residency, tim wu, zephyr teachout

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  1. icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 13 Aug 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.

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