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Gov. Cuomo Says Money Talks Too Loudly In Albany... Before Raising More In Buffalo

Celeste Katz
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gov. Cuomo blasted the special interest money that helps control Albany -- hours before jetting off to Buffalo for a $5,000-a-head campaign fundraiser.

“The power of money in this Capitol is unbelievable,” Cuomo said on public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom.”

Cuomo complained about the rise of SuperPACs that can raise as much as they want, as well as the grim special interests have on Albany.

“The money is one tool of the special interests,” he said. “But they have political clout in a number of ways.”

He cited powerful lobbyists, public relations machines and GOTV campaign machines.

He also mentioned court decisions that have given rise to SuperPACs that can raise unlimited amounts of money.

“There’s a sophisticated industry of special interests,” Cuomo said. “It has evolved over the years, and don’t deceive yourselves that it's easily dismantled.”

Cuomo said he supports campaign finance reform to lower contribution limits, but said he and the Legislature are not close to a deal.

The executive's message was not new. He has repeatedly attacked the status quo and interests groups since becoming a gubernatorial candidate. But his comments raised eyebrows on a day when he's set to attend his own high-dollar cash bash at the Lafayette Hotel.

As of the latest state campaign filing in January, Cuomo had a hefty $14.4 million in his campaign account.

Insiders also note that a group of powerful business interests created its own well-funded lobbying organization to support Cuomo’s agenda.

The Committee To Save New York actually outspent every other lobbyist group in the state last year.

A Cuomo insider scoffed at the criticism, saying Cuomo has delivered his message about cleaning up Albany while actually at fundraisers.

“You can still be in favor of campaign finance reform and try to limit the influence of money without curbing your own fundraising [under the current rules],” the source said. “The point is what you do to back up your statements."

Cuomo has angered many of the groups from which he has taken money, particularly unions, others noted.



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