Simmons donating to Democratic New York AG hopeful, says NYT article

By Ann Knef | May 19, 2010

Attorney John Simmons and his East Alton law firm were mentioned in a New York Times article Tuesday involving trial lawyer campaign contributions to Democratic New York attorney general hopeful Kathleen M. Rice.

Rice is a district attorney from Nassau County hoping to succeed Andrew Cuomo, who is expected to run for governor in New York's general election this year.

According to the article, Simmons, who has a long tradition of generously supporting Democratic candidates at home and across state lines, is said to have individually contributed $3,400 to Rice. His firm, Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd, donated $46,599 to Rice last December, the article states.

Simmons and his firm are among the most prolific filers of asbestos lawsuits in Madison County, a docket which is once again becoming one of the busiest in the country with most claims being made by out of state residents.

Delaware politicians have particularly benefited from Simmons' contributions, as previously reported by the Record.

In 2008, the firm formerly named SimmonsCooper contributed at least $34,600 to Delaware Governor Jack Markell's election effort.

And, in 2005 and 2006, SimmonsCooper contributed at least $114,250 to Delaware Sen. Joe Biden's campaign for a seventh term.

Biden's former presidential bid received at least $46,450 from SimmonsCooper in 2007. SimmonsCooper contributed at least $34,800 to Biden's son, Beau Biden, in his successful campaign for Delaware attorney general in 2006.

The firm where Beau Biden worked -- Bifferato, Gentilotti, Biden & Balick -- has filed asbestos suits in New Castle County Court in Wilmington for SimmonsCooper, representing plaintiffs from all over the nation.

Tuesday's New York Times article focuses on campaign contributions made to Rice by the Manhattan-based firm Weitz & Luxenberg. The article states that the Simmons firm is one which Weitz & Luxenberg "frequently" works with.

Steve Korris contributed to this report.

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