WEEK IN REVIEW : Krueger mum about reported state probe into IDC Initiative that may involve her own election law attorney

By LOUIS FLORES

The office of State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Upper East Side) is mum following a published report indicating that her campaign committee’s election attorney, Martin Connor, also worked for another campaign committee that is a reported target of a state campaign finance regulatory authority probe.

In the 2014 state election cycle, Mr. Connor worked on the ballot petitioning process on behalf of Tony Avella for New York, the individual campaign committee of State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens).  For his work, Mr. Connor was paid over $10,000.  Mr. Connor has also worked for the IDC Initiative.  The IDC Initiative is the campaign finance committee of the Independent Democratic Conference in the State Senate, of which State Sen. Avella is a member.

Former New York City Comptroller John Liu (D-New York) challenged State Sen. Avella in the 2014 Democratic Party primary for State Sen. Avella’s seat.  Former Comptroller Liu has alleged that the campaign of State Sen. Avella received contributions that exceeded regulatory limits and that Mr. Connor, by virtue of his work for each of State Sen. Avella’s campaign committee and the IDC Initiative suggested the possibility of coordination between an individual campaign committee and an outside campaign committee in violation of campaign finance laws. 

A report filed last Wednesday by Chris Bragg for Times Union reported that the campaign finances of the IDC Initiative are under investigation by the New York State Board of Elections

State Sen. Krueger’s campaign committee, Friends of Liz Krueger, also retained Mr. Connor in 2014, paying him $1,200 for election legal services. 

Mr. Connor is a former State Senator, who, in the 2013 municipal cycle, represented former Comptroller Liu before proceedings in the New York City Campaign Finance Board.  In 2014, Mr. Connor also represented Gov. Cuomo's unsuccessful effort to knock off Zephyr Teachout from the gubernatorial Democratic Party primary.

State Sen. Krueger has been a vocal proponent of ethics reforms in the state legislature.  After the conviction of then State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Thomas Libous (R-Broome County), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) rejected requests to call for a special legislative session to deal with ethics reforms.  At that time then, State Sen. Krueger was critical of failed efforts to enact ethics reforms, according to a report filed by Kenneth Lovett for The New York Daily News.

In a 2009 video interview for a New York State Senate-produced Legislative Report, State Sen. Krueger said, “The real test of ethics is to make sure you elect ethical people.  So, my job as a legislator is to uphold the law and to try, I would argue, to behold myself to higher standards than the general public, because I ask them to vote for me to allow me to make their laws.”

That State Sen. Krueger would hire an election attorney who was involved in electioneering work that is now reportedly the subject of a state campaign finance regulatory authority probe is in contravention to her stated position on ethics reforms.

A communications officer in State Sen. Krueger’s office did not answer a request for an interview made by Progress Queens for this report.