August 19, 2018 Press Release

Cuomo’s Bigly Bad News Week

Who knew “proven leadership” could be so passive?

NEW YORK, NY – The Governor has had plenty of bad news weeks, but publicly caving to Donald Trump definitely makes this week one of the worst. In addition to making front page news for waving the white flag, the Governor also received criticism for his sub-par jobs record; for his failed promises on criminal justice reform; for his fake “free college”; for selling New York to the highest bidder, and for riggingthe debate format of the only one on one debate taking place between the Democratic primary gubernatorial candidates.

Meanwhile, momentum continued to build for Cynthia as it was announced that she had picked up endorsements from Akeem Browder and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, and it was announced that she received record number of individual contributions – more Cuomo did in his four races combined.

Cuomo’s Bad Week of Press

New York Post Editorial: “Cuomo only agrees to debate when cards are stacked in his favor”
“For all his campaign ads painting him as a fearless warrior taking on President Trump, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is apparently afraid to take on his own primary challenger unless everything is rigged in his favor.Meaning a single one-on-one debate in a location and format of his choosing, at a time when as few voters as possible watch…Even that is an improvement over four years ago, when the governor refused to face off against challenger Zephyr Teachout, calling debates “a disservice to democracy.” Back during his own first run for governor in 2002, however, he deemed debates a “good, honest discussion of the issues.” Cuomo’s attitude plainly changes depending on his poll numbers.” [New York Post, 8/14/18]

Rolling Stone Headline: “The Tired Tricks of Gov. Andrew Cuomo”
“But if Cuomo is angling to be the next Democratic nominee, why is he appearing to help Republicans in their effort to keep control of the House? Cuomo’s little-publicized decision last year to accept the nomination of the obscure Independence Party is now shaping up, potentially, to be a disaster of national dimensions…The reason: In accepting the nomination of the Independence Party, an obscure group run by ideologically eccentric radio and TV host Frank MacKay, Cuomo is ticketing with a slew of infamous Republican congressional candidates. His ticket-mates include upstate reactionaries like John Faso and John Katko, both of whom Cuomo has personally sparred with in the past. Faso even once said Cuomo wasn’t “a man of principle and honor” like his father, former governor Mario Cuomo.” [Rolling Stone,8/17/18]

The Indypendent: Government for Sale
“Real-estate groups have given Cuomo $12.3 million since 2010, including $1.9 million so far this election cycle, according to an open-source data analysis conducted by The Indypendent. They give it through their political action committees, firms, employees and limited liability corporations. LLCs are shell companies commonly used to shield a company’s holdings from the financial liabilities of one property — but in what is called the “LLC loophole,” state campaign-finance laws let landlords game the system: they can donate the maximum amount permitted for an individual business from multiple LLCs…Many of Cuomo’s biggest real estate donors are linked to the powerful Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), an organization of large landlords and developers with more than 1,400 member firms. REBNY has given Gov. Cuomo $1.1 million since 2010 through its political arm, the Real Estate Board PAC. Its members, their employees, their shell LLCs and their family members also show up on the campaign-contribution rolls. Of the $12.3 million that Cuomo has received since 2010 from the real-estate industry, $5.9 million came from LLCs and $4.1 million came from firms and affiliated individuals. While this is clear evidence they are seeking influence, it is not illegal. LLCs are treated as individuals, not subject to the same limits as corporations.” [The Indypendent, 8/13/18]

Read Sludge: Facing ‘Sex and the City’ Actress, Cuomo Ramps Up Spending
“While most of the money spent by the Cuomo campaign in the past month, $5.4 million, was used to place television ads, a considerable amount was spent on charitable donations using funds the governor had previously set aside because they  were tied to corruption charges of one of his top aides and a top government official. Disclosure records show that on Monday, the governor’s campaign withdrew $422,000 of $534,000 that was placed in escrow in December 2016 and made 16 donations to organizations, including the National Institute for Reproductive Health and Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts. The governor also made several donations between $18,000 and $25,000 to immigrant rights organizations and groups focused on relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.”[Read Sludge, 8/14/18]

Cuomo exposed in New York Times for jeopardizing lawsuit against Trump in order to take credit in the press: “So eager has Mr. Cuomo been to burnish his anti-Trump credentials that he broke the news on CNN of a multistate lawsuit against the Trump administration’s child-separation policy in late June before an agreed-upon embargo by the state attorneys general who were filing the suit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the episode. “When we file, how we announce — that matters a lot to us,” said one state attorney general, not from New York, who was involved in the case and spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a sensitive legal and political matter, adding that Mr. Cuomo unnecessarily gave the Trump administration advance notice, even if by an hour. Mostly, it was viewed as Mr. Cuomo trying to take credit for a broader legal action against the Trump administration. “Amongst A.G.s, it’s a collective eye-roll,” the attorney general said.”[The New York Times, 8/16/18]

New York Daily News: Kalief Browder’s brother backing Nixon over Cuomo, cites stalled criminal justice reforms
“Cuomo in January invited Browder to his annual State of the State address, during which the governor addressed him while promising to enact a package of criminal justice reforms that included the end of cash bail for nonviolent felonies and the enactment of more timely evidence discovery and speedy trial requirements. “Your brother did not die in vain,” Cuomo vowed. But the reforms were not part of the state budget enacted in March or legislation at the end of the legislative session. Browder on Friday also expressed doubt that provisions of a measure to raise the age of criminal responsibility set to go into effect in October will happen” [New York Daily News, 8/13/18]

Nearly 70% of students who applied for New York’s free college program were rejected: “Shortly before she was set to start her last year of classes, Baker said learned she didn’t qualify for the Excelsior Scholarship, as it’s known, because she was attending school part-time, balancing her schedule with a full-time job working overnights at a hospital. “It was marketed to middle-class families and working families and, unfortunately, everybody’s reality is different,” Baker said, adding that hers includes a full-time job. Just over 20,000 students received the Excelsior Scholarship last year or about 3.2% of the state’s 633,543 undergraduates during the 2017-2018 academic year, according to an analysis of New York State higher education data released last week by the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City-based think tank focused on economic equity.” [MarketWatch, 8/16/18]