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NRA sues Cuomo over what it calls blacklisting campaign



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The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit Friday against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s financial regulatory agency for what it says is a blacklisting campaign aimed at preventing firms from doing business with the gun owners’ group.

The lawsuit filed in federal court for the northern district of New York names the Democratic governor along with the state Department of Financial Services and its superintendent, Maria Vullo, as defendants.

It accuses Cuomo of directing a campaign of “selective prosecution, backroom exhortations, and public threats” aimed at depriving the NRA and its members of their First Amendment rights “to speak freely about gun-related issues.”

The lawsuit comes after New York state fined insurance broker Lockton Cos. LLC $7 million for underwriting an NRA-branded insurance program called Carry Guard.

In a May 2 news release about the enforcement action, the state financial services department said Carry Guard unlawfully improperly provided insurance coverage for criminal defense for gun owners charged with a crime involving a firearm.

Vullo called the firm’s marketing of the Carry Guard policies “an egregious violation of public policy designed to protect all citizens.”

Additionally, the department announced Monday that insurance firm Chubb Ltd. and its subsidiary Illinois Union Insurance Company would pay a $1.3 million fine for underwriting the Carry Guard program through Lockton Affinity.

A Lockton representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chubb said in a statement that settling with the state financial services department was the best way to resolve the coverage questions raised by the department.

The company said it provided notice in October 2017 that it was voluntarily terminating its participation nationally in the Carry Guard program.

Cuomo has made gun safety one of his signature issues. He signed a package of gun restrictions after the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, making New York the first state to enact new gun laws after the shootings.

The NRA said in its lawsuit that Cuomo “bears distinct animus toward the NRA.”

The lawsuit says Cuomo and the other defendants “have abused their authority in an effort to stifle the NRA’s political advocacy and to retaliate against the NRA for the effectiveness of that advocacy.”

Cuomo called the lawsuit “a futile and desperate attempt to advance its dangerous agenda to sell more guns.”

“In New York, we won’t be intimidated by frivolous court actions from a group of lobbyists bent on chipping away at common sense gun safety laws that many responsible gun owners actually support,” he said in a statement.


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Hillary Clinton to address New York Democrats




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Hillary Clinton plans to deliver the keynote address at a gathering of Democrats in New York state on Wednesday that comes at an especially tumultuous time for a party torn apart by scandal and challenges from its left wing.

The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and Democratic presidential nominee will speak on the first day of the two-day gathering at Hofstra University.

Ahead of her remarks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily won his party’s nomination for a third term, winning more than 95 percent of the votes cast by delegates. “Sex and the City” star and liberal activist Cynthia Nixon received a smattering of votes in the convention process, largely controlled by Cuomo supporters. She can still secure a place on September’s Democratic primary ballot by collecting voter signatures.

Cuomo plans to address the convention Thursday, when former Vice President Joe Biden is also scheduled to speak. Cuomo was nominated by a group of convention speakers that included his mother Matilda Cuomo; a survivor of the Parkland, Florida school shooting; and Stuart Appelbaum, president of the powerful Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The speakers cited Cuomo’s work to pass same-sex marriage, increase the minimum wage to $15 and enact tougher gun control rules.

“Andrew Cuomo has proven himself to be a national progressive leader and a friend of working people,” Appelbaum said.

Nixon attended Wednesday’s convention events and told reporters that she believes the voters will make up their own minds this fall. Nixon has faulted Cuomo for not doing enough to address education inequalities, corruption or the lack of funding for New York City’s subways.

“The fact of the matter is people are going to be voting on his record, which is not very progressive,” she said.

The party will also nominate its candidate to succeed ex-Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned earlier this month amid allegations that he assaulted four women he dated. Two Democrats have so far formally announced their intention to run: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and Leecia Eve, a Buffalo attorney and former adviser to Clinton and Cuomo.

James has emerged as the front runner, securing endorsements from Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat.


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Working Families Party formally endorses Cynthia Nixon




cynthia nixon governor

New York’s progressive Working Families Party formally endorsed “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon on Saturday as its gubernatorial candidate — challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The small, progressive party held its annual convention at Harlem’s First Corinthian Baptist Church, where the 52-year-old Emmy award-winning activist accepted the nomination.

“After eight years of Andrew Cuomo and with Donald Trump in the White House, I cannot imagine not running,” Nixon said.
Also formally endorsed was New York City Council member Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor.

In an unusual move, the party’s state committee voted to back two hopefuls for attorney general: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, whom Cuomo supports, and law professor Zephyr Teachout.

“There are two incredible progressive women in the race and New Yorkers would be lucky to have either as attorney general,” said Bill Lipton, director of the New York Working Families Party, which he said gave James and Teachout their start running for office.

Teachout, a professor at Fordham University, ran against Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014, winning 34 percent of the vote to his 62 percent.

“Gov. Cuomo would like nothing more than to have progressives fighting each other,” Lipton told The Associated Press. “But we’re committed to staying united.”

Nixon, who has never run for office, will face Cuomo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary on Sept. 13.

If she loses, her name could still appear on the Working Families Party ballot line in the November general election. She has not said whether she would opt for that.
Polls show the two-time incumbent governor with a commanding lead over the novice candidate. A Quinnipiac University poll released May 2 found 50 percent of registered Democratic voters favor Cuomo compared to 28 percent for Nixon. The poll of 1,076 New York state voters conducted April 26 to May 1 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

The party first announced in April that it would embrace Cuomo’s challenger over the governor.

Cuomo said he would not seek the backing of the party that had endorsed him in the past. Instead, the governor has gained the support of two major unions that pulled out of the Working Families Party over its support for Nixon.

The party was first organized in 1998 by a coalition of labor unions, plus a variety of community and advocacy groups aiming to represent middle- and working-class New Yorkers.

Abbey Fashouer, a spokeswoman for Cuomo’s re-election campaign, has said the governor’s progressive record is “unmatched,” including helping to raise New York’s minimum wage, and pushing for gun-safety legislation and the legalization of same-sex marriage.


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Cuomo’s MTA will “review” Cynthia Nixon’s NYC subway T-shirst for trademark misuse




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Cynthia Nixon touts many pressing issues in her Democratic gubernatorial campaign, and the condition of the New York City subway is certainly one of them. The city’s train system–hampered with delays and infrastructural disrepair for years–has been a cornerstone of her campaign ever since she announced her candidacy two months ago.

Today, she held a rally from–where else?–the subway. At Williamsburg’s Lorimer station (which I can attest is frequently overcrowded), Nixon told the crowd that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rehabilitation needed to be better and fast. She also unveiled a series of tweets, Instagram posts, and even apparel aimed at calling out her opponent, Andrew Cuomo, and his inability to fix the subway system.
One issue that may arise, however, is Nixon’s use of the MTA’s trademarks. A shirt that Nixon is now selling on her campaign website, for instance, asks “What the F?” The “F” uses the known New York City subway image.
This could very well enrage the transportation authority. The MTA has been known to crack down on unauthorized use of its trademarks–including its subway lettering images. A New York Times article from 2013 describes small designers and big companies alike being legally threatened by the MTA for infringing its trademarks. These included sports teams using subway imagery, designers with MTA map images, and even bakeries that sell MTA-object-lookalike pastries.

With this history of enforcement, the shirt currently being sold could very well be considered an IP infringement. Indeed, an MTA spokesperson tells Fast Company, “As we would with any case involving the potential misuse of our trademark, we will review the matter and proceed accordingly.”

Reached for comment, a Nixon campaign spokesperson offered the following statement: “Governor Cuomo’s MTA should be focused on infrastructure issues, not copyright issues. What we did was a parody of the MTA, but for millions of New Yorkers, the daily disaster on the subway is no laughing matter.”

For now, you can still buy the shirt. The campaign says on its website that the purchase is “a donation to the Cynthia for New York campaign.” Maybe it’s best to get it now before the cease-and-desist letters come.


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