News & Politics

The people making money off ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Attorneys, PR pros and others have gotten more than $2 million in payments from his campaign account in recent months.

Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on on Aug. 2, 2021.

Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on on Aug. 2, 2021. Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had amassed a campaign war chest of $18 million or so when he announced in August that he would resign from office amid a litany of scandals. His latest campaign finance disclosure shows how he has spent quite a bit of money on things other than campaigning for elected office.

The various political scandals that helped drive Cuomo from office have supported a Cuomo industrial complex of attorneys and PR muscle devoted to helping the ex-governor fight back against the various scandals that helped deprive him of a chance to run for a fourth term in office, according to a campaign finance disclosure filed Tuesday. Nearly $2 million in payments highlight how Cuomo has put the money of his political donors where his figurative mouth is when it comes to attacking his perceived political enemies.

At least $800,000 in campaign funds went to Sullivan & Cromell, a Manhattan firm that represented Cuomo in an impeachment investigation overseen by the state Assembly. The eponymous law firm of Rita Glavin, an attorney who has attacked the credibility of women alleging sexual misconduct by the governor, has received about $900,000 from Cuomo’s campaign account. A firm founded by former gubernatorial spokesperson Richard Azzopardi has received at least $42,500 in payments from Cuomo, according to the campaign filing. “All rules and regulations were followed, period,” Azzopardi said Tuesday night. 

Some of the expenditures on the campaign disclosure, the first filed by Cuomo since July, were for services rendered while he was governor though they are attributed to dates after he left office. This appears to include a $25,000 payment to his longtime pollster. There is also the reported possibility that taxpayers might end up footing the bill for many of his legal expenses related to charges filed in Albany County that were later dismissed. 

So maybe Cuomo will end up having even more money to launch a political comeback in the future than the $16 million he currently has available, but unlike past campaigns, he cannot count on having the deepest pockets in the race given how his successor, Gov. Kathy Hochul, appears to be even more adept than he in raising money, at least according to the details of her record-making fundraising released on Tuesday.