The Times reported on Tuesday that an industry trade group donated $2 million last year to the Committee to Save New York, a group organized at Mr. Cuomo’s urging to promote the governor’s policies and praise his performance with campaign-style political ads. Genting, a gambling company that helped found the industry trade group, contributed an additional $400,000.
Through his spokesman, Mr. Cuomo has strongly denied that there is any connection between the gambling donations and his enthusiasm for legalizing Las Vegas-style casinos. The spokesman said the governor had been considering ways to manage and expand gambling in New York for months before the industry’s donations.
But even in the slush fields of Albany, $2.4 million is a lot of money. And because the Committee to Save New York is registered as a tax-exempt social welfare organization, called a 501(c)(4), it has not been required until now to publicly disclose its donors.
The Committee to Save New York raised $17 million last year and spent nearly $12 million — much of it on pro-Cuomo ads — making it the biggest spender on lobbying in Albany.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all 501(c)(4)s are required to have a social welfare purpose that is not primarily political. We are eager to know what that purpose is for the committee, beyond supporting Mr. Cuomo and promoting the interests of its contributors.
There is no other social welfare purpose - the Committee To Save New York was set up by Cuomo's business and real estate backers to launder money for Governor Cuomo's benefit.
Cuomo can say, "Hey, I didn't run all those ads that touted my 'accomplishments' or attacked the unions last year during the budget battle - that was a group of 'concerned citizens and taxpayers' called the Committee To Save New York" all he wants.
The fact is, CSNY exists solely for big money donors to funnel cash to the governor and get things in return as well as give Cuomo a slush fund of ready cash to bludgeon enemies with.
I'd say this is very Nixonian of Andy, but really, this is just who Cuomo is.
There's a reason he never went after one banker responsible for the '08 financial collapse when he was attorney general - not one.
Because he wanted those guys to raise cash for him and promote him first to the governor's mansion in Albany and next to the White House.
There's a reason why his best friend in the media is Fred Dicker and his strongest media backer is Rupert Murdoch.
He gives Rupert what he wants too, in return for the support of the Post, the Journal and Fox News.
So far the governor, at 71% approval in the last poll I saw, has gotten away with this corruption.
But the CSNY/overseas gambling lobbyist story does real damage to Andy and he's going to have a difficult time using CSNY to run media interference for him in the future.
Saint Andy has sinned and he's going to have a difficult time throwing stones at others.