You are hereNY Times: Big Donors Dominate Cuomo’s Fund-Raising, Analysis Finds

NY Times: Big Donors Dominate Cuomo’s Fund-Raising, Analysis Finds

-By Danny Hakim

January 16, 2013- ALBANY — Middle-class contributors are getting squeezed out of New York’s political process.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has condemned the influence of money in politics and promised reform. But his own campaign is a case study in how irrelevant small donors have become in New York. Over the last two years, only 1 percent of the money raised by Mr. Cuomo's campaign came from donors who gave him less than $1,000, according to an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group, while seven donors gave him $100,000 to $500,000.

Only about 5 percent of donations to the governor came from donors who gave less than $2,500.

The pattern is hardly unique to the governor’s campaign, though his numbers are perhaps the most striking, as he has built a $22.5 million war chest, according to new campaign finance disclosures made this week. New York has the highest contribution limits in the nation — $60,800 for statewide candidates — though there are a dozen states without any limits at all. The donation limit for federal campaigns is $2,500.

But even the high contribution limits in New York are easily evaded. The name of the governor’s largest donor, the real estate developer Leonard Litwin, does not appear in new campaign finance records, because he takes advantage of what has long been seen as a loophole in state laws — using limited-liability companies to legally circumvent the contribution limits. Mr. Litwin has donated $500,000 to the governor over the past two years.

Mr. Cuomo’s campaign is hardly the only case in point. The largest individual political donor in recent years has been Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. He recently flexed his political muscle by giving $250,000 to State Assembly Democrats; such large donations are permitted to campaign committees. He has already given millions of dollars to State Senate Republicans.




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