Eric Schneiderman and His Playmates

Constitution Pipeline - Tom Shepstone ReportsTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

 

Eric Schneiderman, captain of the ExxonKnew ship before it hit an iceberg, tormentor of the pipelines and tiny pro-gas towns, has intriguing playmates.

The Daily Caller just revealed something very ugly about New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Their article, “Anti-Exxon NY AG Raked In $264,000 From Some Of The Company’s Biggest Rivals” lays it all out. They reported donations from the Rockefeller tribe, George Soros and family and this:

Schneiderman has [political donations] received from lawyers with the class action law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll who could have directly benefited from another state investigation into Exxon.

I was intrigued by this and decided to see who else was donating to this nasty little tyrant’s next campaign (2018). What I found explains exactly how endemic cronyism is to New York government.

According to New York State records, Eric Schneiderman has already raised over $6.4 million for a campaign two years from now. A little over $1 million of that is left over from his 2014 campaign, the rest raised from new donors. Topping the list is Roberta Schneiderman, his step-mother, who gave $100,000 in June, 2015 and another $50,000 in January of this year. The second biggest giver is  Playboy’s 2010 Playmate of the Year, Hope Dworaczyk Smith. She gave $65,100 on January 13 of this year.

Eric Schneiderman hope-dworaczyk-robert-smith

Hope and Robert F. Smith: Eric Schneiderman’s two big donors

This interesting tidbit sparked a story in the New York Post, where it was revealed she is the wife of Robert F. Smith, the founder of Vista Equity Partners. This Robert Smith had already given $60,000 to the Schneiderman campaign on December 11, 2015, meaning the big-spending couple gave the AG a total of $125,100 in 33 days. The Post story further reveals this:

Her hubby is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, which has attracted nearly $1 billion in investments from the New York Common Retirement Fund over the last seven years. He donated over $150,000 to Schneiderman during that period.

That last bit appears to be somewhat out of date given the size of the recent contributions. The part about the New York Common Retirement Fund is also now old news. Just this May the monthly report of investment transactions by the Fund reports this:

Vista Equity Partners, Vista Foundation Fund III, L. P. – $400 million commitment. Vista Foundations III will focus on enterprise software companies that provide mission-critical solutions to various end markets. The funding of capital calls will come from cash. Vista is an existing relationship with the CRF. No placement agents were involved in this transaction. This investment closed on May 19, 2016.

There was preceded by two similar announcements made in March of this year for a total of $700 million. That’s a total of $1.1 billion in new lending to Schneiderman’s playmates just since the news of Hope Smith’s donation to his campaign. Robert F. Smith is a very big player when it comes to his friends in New York. He was also feted at a conference put on in February by the Office of State Comptroller, which oversees the Fund.

Now, there’s nothing necessarily illegal about Vista Equity Partners using the New York Common Retirement Fund as its private piggy bank. But, Eric Schneiderman has the power to make some equity investors untouchables for such a public investor. When he went after other private equity funds with one of his investigations in 2012 he effectively eliminated some of the competition for that retirement fund cash. Some, including Forbes, have defended Schneiderman, but only examined the matter from the standpoint of why Vista Equity Partners was excluded from the investigation. The impact on the competition for retirement money wasn’t considered.

Another story, from the NewYorkCourtCorruption blog, did consider that angle and quoted a former Maine Attorney General and current director of Columbia University’s National State Attorneys General Program:

…there are real concerns about the appearance of conflicts of interest when hedge fund and private equity donors could benefit greatly by attorney general investigations into their competitors.

No one is saying Eric Schneiderman is violating the law here by taking so much money from the Smith’s, but it clearly stinks of cronyism that defines New York State politics. Smith is using public employee retirement money to make himself fabulously rich making private equity deals. His investment in Schneiderman may be entirely genuine but it also happens to ensure there will be fewer competitors for that public piggy bank money.

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This cronyism practiced and enabled by Schneiderman is also found in the way he has made himself the water boy for the NRDC gang. We’ve written about that many times before and don’t need to do so again here, but it’s that cronyism that is stopping Upstate New York from getting a pipeline and the Southern Tier from getting fracking to revitalize a dying economy. Meanwhile, Schneiderman’s playmates from Texas (where Hope Smith comes from) and San Francisco (which Robert Smith cites as his address) access a cool $1.1 billion of New York State public money to finance deals allowing them to have John Legend serenade the bride at their Villa Cimbrone wedding.

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6 thoughts on “Eric Schneiderman and His Playmates

  1. Eric is Khomo’s puppet as well as the judges in NY. to believe that one only has to have a discussion on why Sheldon Silver still walks the streets a free man with Preet Brahara

  2. Businesses in general and law firms in particular routinely make contributions to both political parties. It’s just a way of covering your bets no matter who wins in all states, not just NY. Many of the contributions were made in mid 2015, months before the Exxon “scandal” became anti-fossil fuel cause.

    Whether Cuomo runs for President in 2020 or gets indited before then, the AG is the next most visible politician to replace him. Schneiderman’s visibility will continue to attract money and make him a very viable candidate for governor or, at the least, discourage any republican from running against him for AG.

    A solution I’ve mentioned before here is make gas acceptable to the approximately 60% of voters who are not already solidly pro- or anti- natural gas. Make these people aware that the anti’s have painted themselves into a corner with overly ambitious deadlines and incomplete technology. Then natural gas becomes the fuel that can both improve both the environment and their standard of living.

    Trying to tie gas to a conservative or Republican political agenda the last few election cycles has been a disaster for gas development in NY. Make it an economic and environmental issue issue all by itself and you strip away the anti’s political base.

    • That is very interesting mark as natural gas use certainly has environmental benefits as many people including the current governor of ny should know. Environmentalists who opposed natural gas development in ny also used to know this as well. Certainly this is what makes me not anti natural gas and I also felt that the counties in support of natural gas development lost out on some economic opportunity with this fracking decision in ny state purportedly made objectively and scientifically by the doh and Dec. Of course there are also economic benefits to consumers as well.

      Personally I’m not a fan of the thought of shcneiderman as the next ny governor myself. His actions in the ferc document for constituion pipeline don’t even give me confidence in his skills as the attorney general.

  3. oh the naivete… there is no reasoning with antis.

    it’s been obvious to me since 2010 that in NY, the gas drilling issue was never about technology and engineering (or water) but entirely about politics. filthy corrupt NYC politics where you get only what you pay for. this state is a dictatorship only slightly removed from North Korea’s.

    whereas cuomo is a hapless sadistic thug, schneiderman is a true believer- an arrogant NIMBY on steroids on a crusade to forcibly subjugate stupid hayseeds. woe to us if he gets the baton pass…

  4. The Buffalo Billions Lawyers are the largest GREEN BOND Players in New York. EVCON / APA / DEC and the GREEN MAFIA in New York are also deeply in bed with certain MINING GIANTS like Rothschilds IMetals / NYCO, Barton Mining and yes Oh Of Course AMEX / Hochschild Mining. What is amazing is the PROSPECTING done by USGS and NYGS on the Public’s Nickle and the Mining Activities in New York of the BIG DONORS. Huh Imagine That ( Search Dukes of Albany PUKES of York , The Adirondacks Conspiracy ) Oh and another favorite is ” The Poisoning of Lake Champlain ” the New Green in New York are all those TAX EXEMPT EVCON SCAMS

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