Carlina Rivera collects petition signatures to get on the ballot as she runs for City Council. (Photo via Twitter).

It’s time for petitioning!

It’s an exciting time of year: petitioning time!

Huh, what’s that?

As New Yorkers, we’re used to people approaching us on the street asking for something. But if you’ve been confronted recently by clipboard-carriers asking you to sign a petition to get someone on the ballot, that’s because it’s petition time, the semi-official beginning of campaign season in New York.

So what’s the deal with the petitions?

In order to run in a New York election, candidates need to collect signatures from people who can vote in that election. That means if someone is running as a Democrat for Mayor of New York City, they need to collect signatures from Democrats in New York City. If a candidate is running as an independent, they can collect signatures from anyone who is registered to vote in the general election.

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Elections Coming Up

*|FNAME|*, did you know that Jim Comey was born in Yonkers? His testimony yesterday set the stage for the 2018 midterm elections and Gov. Cuomo is going to be involved, in his own way. But first: New York City has elections this year and one of them saw a sudden twist.

Read on for all of that and more in this week’s ShakingNewsletter!

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Quote of the Week: “It’s like a Mafia turf war,”  Darrin Giglio, a private investigator for Mister Softee, about the competition between ice cream trucks. Mister Softee still holds more than half of the street-vendor permits in NYC but rival New York Ice Cream is catching up.

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Rep. Chris Collins

Is a Trump Ally Profiting Off Congress?

The Hill reports that Buffalo Congressman Chris Collins told colleagues to buy stock in a biotech company where he’s on the board. He also reportedly has brought the company up in official business.

“If you get in early, you’ll make a big profit,” Collins reportedly told another group of House Republicans last summer, according to a second GOP lawmaker who was part of the same 2012 class as Collins.

Half a dozen Republican lawmakers interviewed for this story said they have heard Collins talking up Innate Immunotherapeutics at official meetings and in informal settings on the Hill.

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Andrew Cuomo at the New York Fights Back rally. Is he using it to lay the groundwork to run for President?

Cuomo Takes on Republicans (or at least some of them)

Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a campaign to go after Republicans. Standing beside House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Cuomo declared that New York would fight back to take back Congress district-by-district.

Yet this “New York Fights Back” is an interesting campaign.

Why now?

For one, Cuomo has not previously expressed much interest in Congress. In 2011, his first year as Governor, he promised to veto gerrymandered districts; instead he settled for a half-measure that won’t take effect until 2022. When the State Senate and Assembly deadlocked over how to gerrymander the districts, he allowed a court to draw the Congressional lines for New York without offering any input. In 2014, former Rep. Steve Israel (Long Island), then-chair of the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, panned Cuomo’s efforts in an interview with the New York Times: “We had conversations several months ago with the governor’s staff about helping to organize and coordinate a campaign and I didn’t see the fruition to those conversations.”

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Chris Collins under investigation

Conflict of Interests for Buffalo Republican?

Republican Chris Collins is already under investigation for insider trading after reporters overheard him bragging about “how many millionaires I’ve made.”

Now, the Daily Beast discovered that a medical device company Collins founded, Audubon Machinery, stands to gain millions if Trumpcare becomes law. He’s also the director of another company, ZeptoMetrix, which would benefit from lower taxes and fees thanks to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In total, Collins has $6.5 million in stock between the two companies.

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Rep. Chris Collins didn't read Trumpcare. He's now in trouble for other reasons, too.

Did a Buffalo Congressman Break the Law with Insider Trading?

The Office of Congressional Ethics is looking into Republican Chris Collins. He was involved in passing a law to speed up drug trials. That benefitted a biotech company that he invested in. Collins also told others including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to buy stock. Collins then bragged in front of reporters about “how many millionaires I’ve made.”

Chris Collins is the Congressman who voted for Trumpcare, the American Healthcare Act, without reading it. Guess that’s where his priorities are.

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Senate lulu payments are stoking controversy. Are they legal?

Who in the Senate Broke the Law?

Last week, we mentioned that the Independent Democrats in the State Senate are earning more money thanks to their alliance giving Republicans control. Turns out, there’s a lot more to the story of the Senate lulu payments.

Catch me up:

Even though there is a 32-31 majority of Democrats in the State Senate, nine of those Democrats support the Republican leadership, giving them control of the chamber. Those nine Democrats (eight members of the Independent Democratic Conference or the IDC and Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder) got leadership positions as the chairs or vice-chairs of committees.

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It's from the Simpsons but this seemingly describes the attitude of Republicans. Unfortunately for them, the consequences of Trumpcare threaten New York Republicans.

Repeal & Replace Republicans: How Trumpcare Threatens New York Republicans

In a prescient moment from an episode of The Simpsons years ago, there’s a scene of celebration taking place at the Republican National Convention. Above the meeting’s jubilant attendees are two signs – one that reads, “We Want What’s Worst For Everyone” and another that says, “We’re Just Plain Evil.”

These banners capture the spirit of today’s GOP with surprising accuracy.

How else can one explain the heartless mendacity of the House’s Trumpcare bill, the American Healthcare Act, which strips away health security for millions of people in exchange for billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthiest few?

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Steve Pigeon is in trouble for a donation he got for Gov. Cuomo.

Corruption Watch: Pigeon and Crowley Sibling Relations

Buffalo Fixer Steered Illegal Donation to Cuomo
Legendary Buffalo political operative Steve Pigeon was already headed to trial for violating election laws. Now, he faces one more charge: helping a Canadian online gambling company make an illegal $25,000 contribution to Gov. Cuomo’s 2014 re-election campaign. Doesn’t look like Pigeon will be able to fly the coop.

Queens Congressman Pays His Brother for an Office Outside the District
The New York Post reports that Congressman Joe Crowley is using campaign funds to pay his brother, Sean Crowley. Crowley’s campaign rented an office from his brother’s company, Killean Enterprises LLC, even though the office isn’t even in his district. Crowley, a top Congressional Democrat and leader of the Queens Democratic Party, spent $69,700 in donated funds for the space.

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