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Cuomo, Skelos Choice For Senate Leader Caught In Pay To Play Scheme?

John Flanagan, the Long Island liberal Republican who is being openly forced on the GOP as a replacement for the recently arrested Dean Skelos (R), and who is being supported behind the scenes by Governor Cuomo himself, apparently shares another similarity with the pair – a penchant for developing public policy that is favorable to companies that pay him.

Flanagan now has SAFE Act, Common Core, and pay to play support to add to his resume for corrupt lawmaker.  And if that’s the criteria, then I suppose he’d be a logical choice for Skelos’ successor.

Via the Daily News:

A veteran Long Island state senator voted on a host of bills that benefited clients of a law firm for which he works, the Daily News has learned.

In addition to being a longtime state lawmaker who chairs the Senate Education Committee, John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) is “of counsel” at Forchelli, Curto, Deegan, Schwartz, Mineo & Terrana in Uniondale, where he reported making between $100,000 and $150,000 in 2013.

A number of the clients listed on the law firm’s website have business before the state, including Cablevision, Chase Bank, and Citibank.

The firm also lists as clients different colleges, governments and other groups with matters before the state.

Government reform advocates have said Flanagan’s actions appear to be a conflict of interest.

Numerous times, Flanagan voted in favor of bills that benefited clients at the law firm in which he was serving “of counsel.”  Skelos is currently under investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for his actions while serving “of counsel” for a law firm – something that netted him as much as a quarter of a million dollars.

Recently, the Mental Recession exclusively reported on Senate insiders who claim “Cuomo is pushing behind the scenes for Flanagan.”  The Daily News reports that Skelos is threatening his Republican colleagues to force their hand on Flanagan, saying he’ll resign outright (and eliminate the fragile Republican majority) unless Flanagan is selected.

Cooperation between downstate Republicans and the Governor has been prevalent in the past, as noted with the SAFE Act legislation. Additionally, this past election, reports surfaced that Skelos and other Long Island Republicans cut a deal with Cuomo, providing their support for the governor’s re-election bid in exchange for him staying out of races on Long Island.

John DeFrancisco, an upstate conservative, has already thrown his hat in the ring for the Senate leadership position, saying he would vie for the role of Majority Leader “if and when there is a vacancy.” DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, is considered a strong social and fiscal conservative.

Flanagan meanwhile, is what New York Post’s Fred Dicker describes as “a leader of the socially liberal and often-pro-big-spending Long Island delegation,” and much like the current Leader, hails as a pro-SAFE Act, pro-Common Core candidate.

Now he’s added pay to play to his liberal bonafides.

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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