New York’s Bush Boys

Pataki, Sweeney, Powers, Fossella to Prosper in Dubya Reign

That may even affect Staten Island politics. Molinari is running his own aide, Jim Molinaro, the island's Conservative Party leader, for beep, but Leticia Remauro, who was installed as the county's GOP leader by Molinari in 1999, has balked, leaning toward Republican assemblyman Robert Straniere. Remauro, who holds a state post at the Battery Park City Authority, was chair of the state Bush campaign, meaning her break with Molinari is perfectly compatible with her ties to Bush.

Though hardly odd man out like Molinari, Rudy Giuliani, a lame duck as mayor who backed Bush but flirted openly with McCain during the GOP primaries, is not seen as a Bush insider. As associate attorney general and Manhattan U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration, Giuliani established a plethora of ties to the then vice president, starting with their joint administration of a Miami antidrug task force. When Giuliani ran for mayor and lost in 1989, President Bush appeared at a fundraiser and several Bush operatives played key roles in the campaign. The bad blood between Pataki and the mayor, however, may also infect Giuliani's relationship with the Bush team. While Rudy is not a Bush pariah, he is expected to only play a limited role in federal appointments here.

While the maneuvering for top federal posts has just started, here are some of the names that are being mentioned:

Governor Pataki: doing well under the Bush administration.
photo: Fred W. McDarrah
Governor Pataki: doing well under the Bush administration.

  • Jim McGuire, a Brooklyn Democrat who has been Pataki's assistant counsel and counsel since 1995, is regarded as the front-runner for U.S. attorney in Manhattan. A former top aide to Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau, McGuire has no Southern District experience, a credential virtually every U.S. attorney in the last half-century has brought to the position. But McGuire is a well-respected hard-line prosecutor responsible for crafting much of the governor's criminal justice program, from the death penalty statute to ending parole for repeat violent offenders.

  • Tom Engel, a former assistant chief in the Southern District and a law school classmate of Pataki's at Columbia, and Robert Giuffra, a former clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and a D'Amato favorite who defended the ex-senator's brother, are also in the running. Mary Jo White, the current U.S. attorney and a registered Independent, may remain until the ongoing terrorism case is resolved. She recently convicted powerful GOP insider Al Pirro, who was represented by Giuffra and was Buley's partner in the lobbying business.

  • Rosslynn Mauskopf, the state inspector general, and Robert Costello, a Manhattan attorney who practiced law with Pataki at Dewey Ballantine, are considered front-runners in the Eastern District. Mauskopf was slammed by Comptroller Carl McCall in 1998—when the Democrat was still on good terms with Pataki—for failing to investigate numerous indications of corruption in state agencies turned up in audits.

  • Charles Gargano, the Pataki economic development czar, is reportedly in line for ambassador to Italy. Morgenthau's office recently gave Gargano a letter informing him that a longstanding investigation of criminal allegations against him has closed.

  • Rick Lazio and Syracuse mayor Roy Bernardi are under consideration for major HUD posts and Brad Blakeman, brother of unsuccessful GOP state comptroller candidate Bruce Blakeman, is already Bush's scheduling director in the White House. Roy Goodman, the Manhattan state senator and GOP leader close to Bush's uncle Jonathan, may be up for an appointment, aided by his daughter, who played a key staff role in the presidential convention and campaign. Scott Amrhein, a former D'Amato aide who now works for the Greater New York Hospital Association, is a leading contender for the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration.

    Research: Robbie Chaplick, Laurence Pantin, Jim Quinn, and Jennifer Sain

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