ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Board of Elections (BOE) rebuffed calls to investigate the use of campaign money for former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s most recent advertisement. The ad credited to “Friends of Andrew Cuomo” said no sexual harassment allegation made against him proved to have broken the law.
“We have an old-fashioned view of campaign contributions: use it for campaigning. You don’t use it to hire a PR firm to sort of fix your disgraced image,” said Blair Horner, Executive Director of New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG). “His people said he was not running for office.”
Horner said his organization and three others wrote to the BOE calling for an investigation into the use campaign finances being spent on a reputation management campaign. They claimed it was in violation of election law, but the New York State Board of Elections determined there is insufficient evidence.
“We don’t think that’s appropriate,” said Horner. “We think it’s unfortunate the Board of Elections agreed that it is, and we think that there should be a call to the governor and the legislature to fix this loophole in the state campaign finance law.” It’s a loophole that NYPIRG will be trying to fix.
Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi released a statement saying, “Once again Albany insiders made allegations that laws were broken in an attempt to create headlines and advance their political agenda only to have those actually in charge of enforcing the law determine that no violation took place. Happy Groundhog’s Day.”
Estimates clock between $16 million and $18 million in campaign money in Cuomo’s coffers. His spokesperson responded to questions of Cuomo running for office again by saying that the future is the future. In the recent past, 11 allegations outlined in a report from New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James, prompted Cuomo’s resignation and replacement by Gov. Kathy Hochul.