Report: Andrew Cuomo Friends, Aides Give Campaign $1-5 to Drive Down Average Donation Size

Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, center, gathers with demonstrators near Central Park during the March For Our Lives in New York, U.S., on March 24, 2018. Thousands of high school students and other gun-control advocates gathered in Washington and across the U.S. Saturday to demand tougher firearms restrictions from …
Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-NY) political campaign repeatedly received small donations –including $1 and $5 contributions – from his friends and aides in order to reduce the average donation size, reported the New York Times on Tuesday.

One of Cuomo’s donors – who shares an address with one of Cuomo’s campaign aides – made 67 contributions of $1.

The New York Times lists other donors to Cuomo’s campaign, who made contributions between $1 and $5, such as the father of one of Cuomo’s spokespersons, the lobbyist father of one of Cuomo’s top aides, and others who share addresses with Cuomo’s campaign staffers.

The New York Daily News reported:

Cuomo’s campaign also reported an odd collection of small-dollar donors, including one contributor, Christopher Kim, who made 69 individual contributions of $1 each. Kim has the same Long Island City, Queens, address as Cuomo campaign staffer Julia Yang.

Some other small-dollar donors to Cuomo’s campaign included his former press secretary, Matt Wing, who is married to Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa and gave $10; and DeRosa’s father, powerhouse lobbyist Giorgio DeRosa, who also gave $10.

Cuomo’s allies seek to create an impression of a more grassroots incumbent given the governor’s reliance on wealthy benefactors to fund his $31.1 million campaign coffer. He is being challenged by actress Cynthia Nixon, who portrayed Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City, in the upcoming New York gubernatorial election scheduled for November 6.

Efforts to reduce the average campaign donation size via such methods were minimal, according to the New York Times:

The cumulative effect of these donations was negligible: of the $6 million raised in the last six months, only 1 percent came from those donating $250 or less. All told, Mr. Cuomo earned more in interest payments on his campaign war chest (nearly $154,000) than he collected in total contributions from donors who gave less than $1,000 (just under $110,000).

Nixon’s campaign accused Cuomo of running an “Astroturf campaign,” despite Nixon herself receiving repeated small donations from her own campaign staffers, including $1 donations.

One of Nixon’s aides accused Cuomo’s campaign of a “systematic effort to juice the numbers to make up for a lack of genuine grass-roots support.”

Nixon’s average donation was around $50, while Cuomo’s was about $3,100.

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