Thursday, August 19, 2010

SD-46: Sen. "What's In My Bill?" Breslin Caught on Camera

Media Pile-On Begins as Insurance Committee Chairman Misinterprets His Own Law

Earlier this week, I reported that Autism awareness advocates were about to pile on the criticism of Senator Neil Bresln. I expected some kind of follow-up in the mainstream media, but last night, both Senator Breslin and I got more than we bargained for.

Check out this incriminating report first aired on CBS 6 News last night. It turns out the Insurance Committee chairman's big prior approval insurance bill that he's been saying covers all of us really only covers 25% of New Yorkers, and when broadcast journalist Jerry Gretzinger brought this up to him, it was news to him.

Put simply, Breslin has never looked worse on the news: Because he doesn't actually know what's in the bill he sponsored, pushed through his committee, and has been touting like WonderBread for months, he's stuck on camera having to call one of his aides for clarification. Watch for yourself:

Here's another good question: how long before this goes away with only four weeks until your primary against Luke Martland?

And the best answer will be: this isn't going away. Not only has Luke Martland's campaign already pounced, but immediately after the broadcast, CBS 6 started running promotional spots with highlights from this reel. Immediately! They've been running with it ever since, local radio stations are picking it up, and the follow-up even mentions Breslin's primary opponent. From the looks of tonight's newscast and Martland's response, this could be the spark that lights the powder keg. The story touches on nearly all the arguments Martland has been raising against Breslin.

Below the fold, Martland's full response to Breslin being caught with his pants down, and some additional video from the one television news broadcaster that has been giving this race the coverage it deserves.

(Cross Posted on The Albany Project)

Be honest...if you were running against Breslin, would you waste this opportunity to send out a release like the one below. Not only that, as I type this, CBS 6 News is following up not only by quoting the release...they've even got Fred Dicker on it! My God...and he's reminding people of everything else in addition to this new prior approval fiasco...anyway, here's what Martland had to say about it:

Confused Incumbent Neil Breslin Doesn’t Know the Contents of Prior Approval Insurance Bill He Sponsored in State Senate

(August 19, 2010. Albany) – Incumbent State Senator and Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee Neil Breslin could not explain to CBS6 News yesterday the contents of the bill he sponsored and touted to force insurance companies to seek prior approval from the state Insurance Department for rate increases.

When asked by reporter Jerry Gretzinger why he voted for this bill Breslin replied, “That’s a good question.” Gretzinger’s story appeared on CBS6 News on Wednesday, August 18, 2010.

Gretzinger reported that Breslin touted that the bill will cover everyone in New York. It turns out that only one person in four will be covered and protected from unregulated insurance rate increases. Breslin had to call an aid to respond to Gretzinger’s questions.

“Neil Breslin is out-of-touch and poorly informed about the issues that affect middle class families, seniors and small businesses in New York,” said challenger Luke Martland, who is running to defeat Breslin in the September 14th Democratic Party Primary. “He sponsors and votes for a bill he does not understand. We should not be surprised then that New York State is in the mess it’s in. Neil Breslin is part of the problem and we must change Albany’s leadership on September 14th if we are to fix our government.”

Luke Martland was raised in Albany, graduated from Albany High School and Princeton University and worked his way through Brooklyn Law School. He has served as an Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Attorney General in the New York State Attorney General’s office. He also ran the State’s sex offender registry at the Division of Criminal Justice Services in Albany.

Luke Martland has been making points about Breslin's ineptitude when he was acting president of the Senate during the 2009 coup; the possibility of his private law practice taking up too much of his time while serving as Senator; the fact that the Insurance Committee chairman takes more campaign contributions from the insurance industry lobby than any other; the list goes on...and the mainstream media last night, tonight, and probably tomorrow and well into next week, are now saying the same thing.

And if this isn't perfect timing for Martland's efforts, I don't know what is. This story is certainly giving Martland supporters cause to celebrate and kick things into high gear; in my own humble opinion, it should give Breslin's supporters serious pause, and reconsider their favorable opinion of a Senator who's been on the job for fourteen years, is a committee chairman, and Assistant Majority Leader

The media pile-on is sure to continue....the 5:30 news cast is almost over and they're still recapping. I'll update the video from last night with the follow-up broadcast. In the meantime, here's the first piece CBS 6 ran on the race just a week ago. It was the first time any local television news station ran a story featuring both Breslin and a primary opponent of his within a month of the election, and it touches on the possible split in the LGBT community:

Glad you enjoyed that bit of last week. It's 6:00 on Thursday again, and the prior-approval mixup is the freakin' lead story. Some folks want Breslin to resign over this....

Stay. Tuned.


Tyler Durden said...

Thank you for covering this issue. If this isn't proof enough that it is time for Neil Breslin to go, I don't know what is. He was so unprepared for this interview, he and all his people should be really embarassed. I hope Luke Martland's campaign can take this and really run with it.

This and the charter school issue. Taxpayers in the city of Albany should vote Neil Breslin out. He does not care about the public schoosl or the skyrocketing taxes.

Arthur Welser said...

It should be an honor to serve in the Senate or Assembly, worthy of working for the mere $80,000 first term salary. How an attorney (someone who clearly should be able to recognize their conflict of interest) can continue to practice law after taking the oath of office is beyond me. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Go Martland!

Arthur Welser said...

I think it to late in Breslin's career to pledge to discontinue practicing law while in office. The honorable thing for Breslin to do would be to announce that before leaving office he would try to end once and for all the practice of law by his colleagues while they served in office.
It truly would be a way for him to redeem himself, if he were able to end the conflict of interest that exists in so many other attorneys serving in the State Senate and Assembly