NY Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated his Moreland Commission’s report decrying the influence of money in politics–and his 56th birthday!–at two pricey fundraisers in the past two weeks. Some guests paid as much as $50,000 a pop to add to Cuomo’s $28 million campaign war chest.
Thanks to the Buffalo News, we know the names of some hosts of Cuomo’s breakfast fundraiser in the offices of the Podesta Group in DC. But what inspires these folks to get up early on a Monday to raise cash for Cuomo?
Tonio Burgos is a major NYS lobbyist on the host committee. His firm lobbies on behalf of a variety of companies, including the Williams Companies, a pipeline company that hired Burgos in 2008 to lobby about natural gas pipelines and energy issues at all levels of NYS government. Burgos is also a top Cuomo donor (since 2007 he’s contributed almost $200,000 both personally and through his firm) and former aide to former NYS governor Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s dad.
Tom Downey is a lobbyist and former U.S. Representative from NY on the host committee. His wife Carol Browner was in the top post at the EPA while Cuomo was Secretary of HUD and served on his transition team when he became New York’s Attorney General in 2007. Downey’s legislative director when he was in the House, Daniel Horowitz, was appointed by Cuomo to chair the Joint Commission on Public Ethics in April.
Dan Glickman is another prior Cuomo donor on the host committee. The two also served together in President Clinton’s 2nd-term cabinet, when Glickman was Secretary of Agriculture and Cuomo was Secretary of HUD. Glickman’s wife Rhoda is even closer with the Governor. She was his deputy chief of staff at HUD and currently works as his senior vice president for arts, culture and film development since last year.
Much less is publicly known about who hosted or even attended Cuomo’s birthday bash in NYC last Tuesday. Thankfully, one guest did post Billy Joel’s musical tribute to Cuomo on YouTube. Other guests should feel free to add themselves and their tablemates as donors to Andrew Cuomo in LittleSis!
According to WSJ’s Metropolis blog, CEO real estate magnate Bill Rudin was in attendance. Rudin is a prior Cuomo donor and board member of REBNY and the Partnership for New York City, whose influence in NYC government was highlighted yesterday right here. After donating almost $2 million to Cuomo since 2011 and supporting his legislative agenda through the Committee to Save NY, REBNY seems to have influence in Albany, too. In September the Moreland Commission was preparing to subpoena REBNY to learn how a few big developers got tax breaks from Albany before Cuomo’s office stepped in on the real estate industry’s behalf.
Rudin also sits on the board of the Association for a Better NY Foundation with Tonio Burgos, one of the DC party’s hosts. And in news surely unrelated to all of this, Cuomo appointed Rudin to his Tax Relief Commission in October. The 8-member commission’s recommendations are expected to appear in Cuomo’s 2014 State of the State agenda.
“Do as I say not as I do” may have to be Cuomo’s slogan accompanying the Moreland Commission’s report.