Embattled Governor Cuomo Rakes In $2.2 Million In Donations As Probes Loom


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo raked in $2.2 million {dollars} to his marketing campaign coffers over the past six months whilst he confronted sexual harassment allegations, a number of state and federal probes into his dealing with of nursing houses in the course of the pandemic, criticism over his profitable e-book deal, and considerations that he favored family and friends for early COVID-19 testing.

The newly accrued donations depart Cuomo with a marketing campaign conflict chest of greater than $18 million {dollars}, leaving him in robust standing to mount a fourth-term re-election bid subsequent 12 months. He additionally dipped into these funds to pay his criminal-defense legal professional defending him on a number of fronts, in line with state marketing campaign finance data launched on Thursday.

From January to June of this 12 months, 117 donors gave sums of $10,000 or extra, the data present, with most of the largest donors coming from the New York Metropolis actual property business. They embody Michael Fuchs, billionaire Richard LeFrak, Gristedes chain proprietor John A. Catsimatidis, Hudson yards developer Stephen M. Ross, and Lisa Blau, the spouse of Associated Firms CEO Jeff Blau, who earlier this 12 months funded an effort to steer Republicans to register as Democrats with a view to swing the occasion extra to the precise. Every of them gave greater than $20,000 in direction of Cuomo’s re-election marketing campaign. None have but returned requests for remark.

The quantity Cuomo raised within the final six months is lower than the $3.9 million he made six months prior when he was using a pandemic excessive in approval scores, received an Emmy award, and was making the rounds to advertise his memoir. Each are lower than his pre-pandemic fundraising ranges: He took in $4.4 million in new donations within the second half of 2019, data present.

The marketing campaign finance data launch got here two days earlier than Cuomo is predicted to talk to investigators within the state legal professional common probe into allegations that he sexually harassed a number of junior staffers, in line with a report in The New York Occasions. The Saturday interview might be an indication the probe is winding down, though Lawyer Basic Letitia James’ workplace has not publicly shared a timeline and wouldn’t remark.

Marketing campaign data present Cuomo used $284,872 in marketing campaign funds to pay the felony protection regulation agency employed to deal with the allegations and numerous investigations underway. At a June 2nd press convention, when requested if he was utilizing marketing campaign funds to cowl his authorized charges, he informed reporters “not at the moment.”

Actually, that exact same day, the marketing campaign paid legal professional Rita Glavin’s regulation agency $173,098, data present. The marketing campaign had additionally paid a earlier sum of $111,774 a month earlier. A spokesperson for Cuomo’s workplace didn’t return a request for remark, nor did Glavin.

Authorities ethicists like John Kaehny, government director of Reinvent Albany, mentioned it’s not unlawful to make use of marketing campaign funds to repay authorized charges, nevertheless it’s a slippery moral slope if elected officers flip to deep-pocketed donors to assist them with authorized woes.

“Marketing campaign funds are alleged to be for campaigns not for felony protection,” he mentioned, including that his group takes the stance that taxpayers ought to pay authorized charges up till the particular person leaves elected workplace, with a view to guarantee that if the investigations occur to be politically motivated, the elected official has safety. “We wish to see due course of for the governor and all individuals, however not on the expense of an invite and pay to play.”

Cuomo has claimed the a number of allegations and probes in opposition to him are politically motivated. He reiterated that line of a protection in a press release to the New York Occasions Thursday, by his senior advisor Richard Azzopardi who mentioned James had “clear political motivation.”

Cuomo, whose workplace is just not topic to time period limits, has been gearing up for a re-election marketing campaign, with a latest $10,000-ticket fundraiser which reportedly took in additional than 1,000,000 {dollars} in late June. Lots of his latest press conferences have appeared extra like marketing campaign rallies, the place Cuomo seems surrounded by supporters who reward his management qualities. At a lot of these occasions, reporters had been barred from entry or not allowed to ask questions.

There was chatter about AG James operating a main problem, a prospect she wouldn’t touch upon when requested at a press occasion this week. James ended July with $1.6 million in her marketing campaign coffers, a sliver of Cuomo’s money readily available.

Lengthy Island Congressman Lee Zeldin is mounting a problem for the final election. The Republican beat Cuomo on this most up-to-date fundraising cycle, marketing campaign data present, ending July with $3.1 million within the financial institution.