A campaign finance loophole is still alive and well and still being exploited by statewide candidates, including Governor Andrew Cuomo. Zack Fink gives us takes a look at Cuomo's fundraising efforts over the past six months.
NEW YORK STATE -- There are donations from the Hollywood set, like Darren Star who created the show "Sex and the City." He gave Cuomo's re-election campaign $10,000. Stephen Bing, another producer, gave the Governor nearly $60,000.
Supermarket magnate and possible 2013 Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimitidis shows up a couple of times on the Governor's donor list, which was filed late last Friday. As does Leslie Zemsky, described on a tourism website as a "booster" for the City of Buffalo. She gave $40,000 and her husband gave $15,000, although his donation was later returned.
Governor Cuomo announced a $1 billion economic development plan for the City of Buffalo earlier this year. But mostly, it is real estate interests, such as Stephen Ross of Related Companies. He and his wife gave Cuomo $25,000. They also hosted a fundraiser for Mitt Romney back in January.
“You see a wide variety of people giving, but you do see a lot of real estate interests giving to the governor because there is a lot at stake for the real estate community in New York, particularly in New York City,” said Dick Dadey of Citizen’s Union.
The Governor has more than $19 million in his campaign war chest. He has raised money at a rate of roughly $1 million per month since taking office. This, for an election that is still more than two years away.
So far, the field of gubernatorial challengers is wide open. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is rumored to be considering a statewide run against Cuomo. He has roughly $1.3 million on hand, but must first run for re-election locally next year. Mahoney says Cuomo already has enough to mount a statewide campaign.
"Even if he doesn't have competition, he can still make himself more popular. If he's looking say, to boost his national image and present himself as somebody who is loved by everyone in the state which he governs, it would look a lot better if he got 75 percent of the vote instead of 60,” said Bill Mahoney, NYPIRG Research Coordinator.
Cuomo has vowed to take up campaign finance reform. Insiders say it could happen in a special session later this year.