Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign insists the money he's received from donors with business before the state doesn't influence his actions. But there is an overlap, with many donating heavily to his campaign.
“New York has the highest limits of any state in the country. You can legally make a contribution to a political party of $109,000 and as much as you want to a soft money account and if you really know what you're doing and run limited liability companies, the sky is the limit,” said Blair Horner, NYPIRG legislative director.
In April, internet investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss gave Cuomo's campaign $100,000. Weeks later, regulators in Cuomo's administration approved the Winklevoss twins' cryptocurrency known as Zcash.
“He's promised to get legislation passed to dramatically restrict contributions from people with business before the government. It hasn't happened,” said Horner.
Cuomo meanwhile has sought to raise small-dollar funds like his Democratic primary opponent Cynthia Nixon. But some of Cuomo's small dollar contributions include money from family members of those who work for his administration. In another instance, one person donated $1 to Cuomo 69 times, inflating the percentage of Cuomo's small-dollar donations.
“There's a sort of tactical reason, to show that you have broad-based support and you're not just the candidate of the fat cats,” said Horner.
Meanwhile, Cuomo kept his focus on President Trump on Tuesday, suing the federal government over the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions.
“The so-called SALT provision was un-American. What you did was divide the states, penalize the Democratic states,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo stopped short of calling for Trump's impeachment, but suggested the president needs to be investigated by Congress.
“I think they're going to have a real issue as to whether or not the president's actions were treasonous and whether or not they're going to pursue the president's actions as possible treason,” he said.
It's a strategy not unlike the one his father, the late former Gov. Mario Cuomo, pursued in the 1980s.
His father was able to do that very well even though Ronald Reagan was a far more popular figure in New York than Donald Trump was, but Mario Cuomo was able to score points off of standing in opposition to Reagan,” said Bruce Gyory, attorney at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips.