Cuomo’s Money Machine
by Paul Wolf - posted 12:10 am, May 28, 2014
Governor Andrew Cuomo is obsessed to win re-election by a record margin. Winning alone is not enough, he wants to win with more than 65 percent of the vote, a state record currently held by his father Mario Cuomo. A record setting win can also lay the ground work for a Presidential run. To further his ambitions Andrew Cuomo has raised a record setting $33 million for his campaign. To put his fundraising into perspective, Cuomo has raised more money than the Governors of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois combined.
Andrea Bernstein from WNYC has pointed out in an article she wrote that even more revealing than the amount of money Cuomo has raised is where his money has come from. According to Bernstein:
George Pataki, the former Republican governor of New York, was no slouch when it came to fundraising. In his last two terms, Pataki raised 976 donations of $10,000 or more.
But Cuomo, who hasn’t even served out one term, has raised 2,251 donations of $10,000 or more from bankers, hedge fund managers, real estate moguls, health care magnates — on and on.
By percentage, Cuomo had raised almost 60 percent of his campaign funds from large donors. Pataki? Just 35 percent.
On small donations, the contrast is striking, too: 7 percent of Pataki’s funds came in donations of $250 or less. For Cuomo, that number is less than 1 percent, giving a whole new meaning to the slogan “We are the 99 percent.”
It should surprise no one that Cuomo’s economic policies happen to be particularly pleasing to the big-money donors who are the source of 99 percent of his funds.
In his State of the State address this year, which you could call the unofficial start of his campaign, Cuomo described his jobs strategy as starting with a “top-down reducing-tax theory.” He promised to cut business taxes, bank taxes and estate taxes, thundering that he’d push for “the lowest corporate tax rate since 1968!” That, he said, would “really send a strong signal to business that this is a different day and we are doing it in a different way!”
In the speech, Cuomo mentioned the word tax 43 times. The word affordable? Three times. Poor, poverty,inequality? Zero, zero and zero.
Our current campaign finance system amounts to legalized bribery. Wealthy people and corporations give money because they expect something in return. Raising $33 million comes with a lot of IOU’s that have to be paid back some how.
As Bernstein points out in her article, there is a debate taking place within the Working Families Party as to whether Cuomo should be endorsed for re-election. It will be interesting to see what happens. Will the Working Families Party cave on their economic principals and endorse Cuomo or will they support another candidate such as Howie Hawkins from the Green Party who is in agreement with most if not all of the Working Families platform?