Eric Schneiderman

April 2016 – NYC purges 200,000 voters and it isn’t a mistake

(Credit: public domain)

“In anticipation of voting in the April 19, 2016, presidential primary in New York, Kathleen Menegozzi checked her registration online. The Brooklyn resident, a registered Democrat since 2008, learned three weeks before the election that she had been struck from the rolls. Another Brooklyn Democrat, Casey James Diskin, who first joined the party in 2012, discovered five days before the primary that he was not registered at all.

In Manhattan, Michael Hubbard, a Democrat since 2015, checked his status online 17 days before planning to vote, only to find that he too was no longer registered. Meanwhile, in Queens, Benjamin Leo Gersh, who also had been a registered Democrat since 2015, checked on his voter status, and saw two weeks before the primary that he too had been purged.

Then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would eventually reveal that they were among 200,000 New York City voters who had been illegally wiped off the rolls and prevented from voting in the presidential primary. But by January of 2017, when Schneiderman announced that he would intervene in a federal lawsuit against the New York City Board of Elections, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, the news fell on deaf ears.

The announcement had come just seven days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Although it was the first time the total number of purged voters had been disclosed, the media was consumed with a different statistic: the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration. At the same time, a snowballing narrative that Russia had hacked the U.S. election would overshadow the indisputable fact that a domestic government agency had committed election fraud.

The lack of media attention was in stark contrast to the recent barrage of headlines about a right-wing push to purge eligible voters from the rolls. Much of the media ignored New York’s proven case of election fraud, perhaps because it had been facilitated by Democrats, and not by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican with a national profile for championing stricter voter ID legislation.

Schneiderman’s lawsuit, which was initially launched by a coalition of three voter rights groups, never went to trial – the New York City Board of Elections didn’t even try to dispute the attorney general’s findings. “The New York City Board of Elections got caught with their hand in the cookie jar,” said Jose Perez, general counsel for one of the plaintiffs, Latino Justice PRLDEF.

In October of 2017, the city’s elections board quietly settled the lawsuit by admitting it broke federal and state election laws. It agreed to a vague list of reforms in a consent decree, including that it “overhaul its voter registration and list maintenance procedures, adequately train relevant staff, submit to regular monitoring of its voter registration and list maintenance activities, and review every registration cancelled since July, 1, 2013.” (Read more: City & State New York, 11/06/2018)

2010 – 2014: Clinton charities ignore law requiring them to disclose millions from foreign donors

Eric Schneiderman speaks during a news conference to discuss the civil rights lawsuit filed against Harvey Weinstein in New York, U.S., February 12, 2018 (Credit: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

“New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has the power to force the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative to publicly disclose the names of foreign governments and the millions they donate each year to the charities but he’s not doing it, a Scripps News investigation has found.

Schneiderman’s failure to require compliance with New York law and written instructions from his own office keeps the public in the dark about whether the foreign governments that gave money to the Clinton charities also had special access to Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state, experts in private foundation law say. New York state has long required more transparency from non-profits operating within its borders than many other regulators.

A Scripps Washington Bureau review of tax returns and regulatory filings found that year after year the Clinton charities have ignored New York law and related instructions. However, the office of Attorney General Schneiderman, a Democrat whom Hillary Clinton named to her campaign’s “leadership council” in New York, did not respond to Scripps’ questions about the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which has never publicly disclosed in New York filings the identity of its foreign government contributors or the amounts they give each year. Scripps also discovered CHAI did not report hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign government donations to the state.

However, Schneiderman’s office said it considers the Clinton Foundation, which is a separate charity, “in step” with state rules.

“He’s not doing his job in that case,” said David Nelson, an attorney and former partner at the accounting firm of Ernst & Young who served on the regulations and legislation committee of the Council On Foundations, the philanthropy industry’s equivalent of the American Bar Association.

In 2009, Secretary Clinton’s first year heading the State Department, the Clinton Foundation disclosed to New York only a lump sum of $122 million in foreign government donations, listing the amount on a required form that directs all charities to “list each government contribution (grant) separately.” The foundation continued to provide the lump sum disclosures for foreign governments in every year that followed.

Nelson said, “The Clinton Foundation cannot say they are in compliance with New York regulations.”

The Internal Revenue Service  has long required charities to disclose on their federal tax returns the total amount of contributions they receive from all governments, foreign and domestic. The federal form does not require a charity to publicly identify its government contributors. However, any charity that wishes to operate or raise funds in New York must also, according to a state law, meet more rigid transparency requirements and publicly disclose “the name of each agency” and “the amount of each contribution” received from any government agency, every year.

A partial review by Scripps of charities registered in New York found inconsistent compliance with the instructions.

The New York Attorney General’s office published a set of detailed instructions for all charities to follow. It directs them to make sure the total amount of government contributions disclosed to the state is equal to what the charities report to the IRS. From 2010-2014, for every year it has filed disclosures with the state, the Clinton Health Access Initiative has ignored this direction.” (Read more: News5Cleveland, 9/06/2016)

Schneiderman will resign on May 7, 2018 amid accusations he was physically violent with four women he was romantically involved with. (Business Insider, 5/07/2018)