ALBANY –- Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a relative breather from the fundraising circuit since his November election, but he still has a campaign warchest of $4.2 million.
The Democratic governor’s campaign today reported with the state elections board that it raised $218,000 in the period between Nov. 25 and Jan. 14. It spent $1 million during the period.
The $4.2 million balance is down from the $5 million he had on hand at the end of November.
Cuomo has said he will dip into his campaign account to run a counter-advertising campaign if critics, such as labor unions, mount ad campaigns against his upcoming budget. Such past ad campaigns by groups like health and public employee unions have put a dent in the political popularity of former governors.
Since the end of November, Cuomo's major donations include $25,000 from Buffalo lawyer Steven Weiss, $5,000 apiece from Buffalo companies with the same address named ETC Commercial Inc., and Mineola Contracting Ltd., and $25,000 apiece from Long Island-based Jackson Builders and New Yorkers for Affordable Housing. Several members of the wealthy Jacobs family in Buffalo reported a total of $4,500 of in-kind contributions to Cuomo; the New Jersey State Laborers' Political Political Action Committee gave Cuomo a $24,000 in-kind contribution.
The nearly $1 million in expenses were for a variety of costs -- from restaurants and hotels to airline tickets and consultants. The expenses included $47,000 to the state of New York for costs associated with Cuomo's January 1 inaugural.
The spending also saw continuation of a recent tradition by winning governors to use surplus campaign funds to pay out bonuses to campaign workers. The top winner was Joseph Percoco, who was given a $90,000 bonus, followed by Andrew Zambelli, who got $80,000. In all more than $400,000 in bonuses were given by Cuomo. Most of the money went to people now on his state payroll; the bonuses more than make up for the recent 5 percent pay cuts Cuomo said his top advisors would take in their government pay as a symbol for upcoming sacrifices he says he will seek from about 200,000 state workers in the upcoming budget.
-- Tom Precious