ALBANY – In the first year of the 2018 gubernatorial election cycle, the list of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s largest donors is dominated by hedge funders and real estate developers.
This list is topped by hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, who has written two $500,000 checks to the party that has spent a huge share of its money supporting Cuomo in recent years. In 2013, the state Democrats’ housekeeping account spent millions buying advertisements that boosted the governor’s agenda, the next year, 86 percent of its independent expenditures were on Cuomo’s behalf.
Druckenmiller has been a major supporter of charter schools. So has Paul Tudor Jones, the second largest donor to committees controlled by the governor ($10,000 to Cuomo and $500,000 to the Democrats). Tudor Jones was a supporter of a pro-charter Super PAC that helped Republicans retain control of the Senate in 2014.Greenblatt, Tudor Jones, Druckenmiller, Loeb - all charter school supporters and education "reformers."
Hedge fund Renaissance Technologies founder James Simons, whose $1.65 million to the Democrats’ campaign committees was enough to earn a spot as their top donor in the last election cycle, continued to financially support Cuomo. Simons, who made a $150 million gift to SUNY Stony Brook in 2011 that was contingent on tuition hikes, gave the party $300,000 and the governor $45,000 in 2015, placing him third for the year.
Other large hedge fund donors included Joel and Julia Greenblatt, who gave Cuomo $60,000 apiece, and Daniel and Margaret Loeb ($88,000 total), who hosted a July fundraiser for the governor.
But there are some new reformer names to the Cuomo donation list too:
Cuomo’s new donors also include the founders of collaborative office renter WeWork, Miguel McKelvey ($50,000) and Adam Neumann ($25,000; Neumann’s wife gave an additional $25,000). Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton gave Cuomo $60,800 in November, and Jackie Bezos, the mother of Amazon’s founder, gave $15,000 in July.
Walton is of course a charter school supporter and education reformer backer.
So is Jeff Bezos.
That Bezos' mother gave money to Andrew Cuomo - well, that is interesting, isn't it?
Not much has changed post-Silver/post-Skelos for Cuomo.
He continues to rake in the big bucks from hedge fundies and real estate developers, much of it through LLC's that allow donors to skirt individual limits.
The only change is Glenwood Management - once Cuomo's biggest donor, but since the firm and it's top political bagman wound up at the center of the Silver and Skelos corruption cases, they have given nothing to Cuomo.