ALBANY—Earlier this week, alcoholic beverage manufacturer Diageo announced an expanded partnership with Sandra Lee, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s domestic partner.
This agreement with a company that has substantial business before New York State was announced a day before Cuomo announced that the outside financial interests of domestic partners would not be disclosed under a two-way ethics reform agreement he has made with the Assembly.
Senate Republicans anonymously introduced a bill last month that would require any residents of an elected official’s primary household to disclose the same information about their finances that officials’ spouses are currently required to make public.
Diageo produces beverages such as Smirnoff, Guinness, Captain Morgan, and Johnnie Walker.
They will soon add branded “Sandra Lee Cocktail Time Margaritas” to their product list.
“My endless search for the perfect margarita has come to a happy end,” Lee said in a release. “For the past year, I have made it my mission to create my own truly delicious margarita.” She will be embarking on a four-month “Magazine and Margarita” tour.
Diageo made $118,595 in contributions to state-level candidates in the last election cycle, including $32,000 to the New York State Democratic Committee’s housekeeping account. Much of the money raised by this committee funded advertisements that helped promote the governor’s agenda.
In 2014, they reported spending about $75,000 lobbying the “NYS Assembly, Senate, Executive & State Agencies” on issues such as “state liquor laws & flavored malt beverage tax.” They identified 129 different bill numbers as the subjects of their lobbying efforts in the last six months of the year.
Cuomo contains to maintain its nobody's business what his girlfriend does for a,iving and who she does business with.
One of his flying monkeys responded to claims of hypocrisy that Cuomo is forcing disclosure on the legislature but not on himself in his ethics reforms with this:
Cuomo's office did not respond to a request for comment, though yesterday evening, spokesman Rich Azzopardi tweeted that "[t]he administration is glad to negotiate disclosure of all girlfriends."
(This echoed the administration's original response to a Republican Senate proposal late last month that would have required disclosure of Lee's finances.)
In case anybody was in doubt, Cuomo and his flying monkeys have nothing but disdain for the people of this state.
Maybe that knowledge will go down better if you enjoy a Sandra Lee Cocktail Time Margarita with it.