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Maloney’s opponent goes on offensive in primary campaign

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U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-Astoria) team has brushed off criticism from opponent Reshma Saujani, whom she will face in the Democratic primary this fall, that her campaign is funded by special interests.

Saujani, a Manhattan lawyer who previously worked on Wall Street, has hammered Maloney with fliers that accuse the longtime congresswoman of taking campaign funds from special interests as well as holding a fund-raiser with members of political action committees at an event where musicians James Taylor and Carole King played.

But a Maloney spokeswoman said the congresswoman has fought special interests during her 17-year tenure in the House.

“Carolyn has a long record of standing up to the special interests when they need to be challenged,” said Alix Anfang, Maloney’s spokeswoman. “From standing up to the banks and credit card companies with her credit card reform bill to holding Big Oil accountable, Carolyn fights for New Yorkers everyday — and she gets results.”

Saujani had said her campaign would not accept contributions from special interest groups.

“Right now, some on the conference committee are allowing lobbyists — and the same people who caused the crisis — to write the legislation,” she said in late June, referring to negotiations for a financial reform bill in Congress. “It’s time for Carolyn Maloney to step up and start leading.”

Maloney is the chairwoman of the House Joint Economic Committee.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Maloney had raised approximately $2 million as of March 31, including funds from Wells Fargo, Metlife Inc. and New York Life Insurance. Saujani has raised a total $804,000 during that same time with contributions from members of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, FEC records show.

Political commentator Chris Matthews interviewed Saujani on his MSNBC show, “Hardball,” last Thursday and questioned her contributions.

“You’re both in the fund-raising business, from what I can tell, and both getting money from Wall Street,” he said of Saujani and Maloney. “So this idea of special interests is an old canard.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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