Tag Archives: Uniland

Hochul raised $35k from Buffalo Billion contractors now under investigation

Campaign finance records show that in early August 2014 Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul brought in more than $35,000 from at least eight people and businesses named in subpoenas in the investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. The donations coincide with a private fundraiser Hochul held at a Buffalo law firm, suggesting that numerous beneficiaries of the Buffalo Billion program all gathered with Hochul in Buffalo to donate to her and Cuomo’s campaign.

On August 4, 2014, Hochul told a central New York newspaper that she was going to make economic development a major focus of her campaign as Cuomo’s running mate. “I have a good handle on economic development issues for sure from my time in Congress, so we’ll be laser focused on that issue,” Hochul told Canandaigua’s Daily Messenger.

Photo via Giancarlo's Restaurant Instagram
Photo via Giancarlo’s Restaurant Instagram

The next day, Hochul held a fundraiser at the headquarters of Buffalo law firm Phillips Lytle LLP, and, over the following two days, Hochul’s fundraising committee reported $333,741 in donations, more than any other three-day stretch in her campaign. Tens of thousands of dollars of the contributions during that period came from people and businesses that had benefitted from Cuomo’s economic development programs, including the Buffalo Billion.

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How to research elite social clubs on LittleSis, from Manhattan to Buffalo and beyond

Elite social clubs do not make headlines all that often, and when they do they are typically discussed in a cultural context. See this 2011 New York Times piece on the Core Club, for instance, which appeared in the Fashion & Style section. The opening fixates on a Birkin handbag which “sells for about the price of a new Lexus sedan” before reporting that the Core Club caters to families with incomes in the top 1% of US households and charges $15,000 a year, plus a $50,000 initiation fee.

But despite rarely making the news, elite social institutions like the Core Club – which exist in every most cities in the US – play an important role in weaving together power networks. Most are open enough to allow for the socialization and integration of new elites, but closed (and expensive) enough to ensure that they are not overrun by the rabble. In this setting, away from the pressures of the boardroom and the public eye, common social bonds can be formed by elites who would not otherwise talk, eat, and drink together. And naturally, because this happens in all social settings, people form relationships and talk politics and gossip and decide to work together on projects.

This would not really be all that interesting if not for the elite nature of the clubs, and the fact that the people in these contexts have disproportionate influence over policy. From a power research perspective, membership lists and other similar data from elite social clubs can offer a window onto the contours of the power elite in a regional context or, in some cases, on the national level.

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