Gov. Andrew Cuomo renewed an executive order banning most appointees from donating to or soliciting donations for the governor who made the appointment. But Mr. Cuomo has continued to accept his appointees’ donations. Credit George Etheredge for The New York Times
By Shane Goldmacher, Brian M. Rosenthal and Agustin Armendariz
Feb. 24, 2018
In late November, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo flew to Buffalo for a fund-raising trip, a quick two-stop jaunt that brought in more than $200,000 in donations for his re-election campaign.
The events, one at an Embassy Suites hotel and the other a more intimate gathering at a private residence, were hosted by two men familiar to Mr. Cuomo — and to state government.
One host, Steven J. Weiss, had been appointed by Mr. Cuomo to the New York State Housing Finance Agency in 2011 and the state board of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in 2016. Government records show that Mr. Weiss has donated $53,000 to the governor’s campaign since being picked for the housing agency.
The other, Kenneth A. Manning, had been named by lawmakers to the same cancer research institute board and had been appointed by Mr. Cuomo to a state judicial screening committee in 2011. Records show that Mr. Manning has donated $50,500 since his 2011 appointment.
That type of arrangement — appointments go out, campaign cash comes back in — has vexed government reformers in Albany for generations. Things were supposed to change in 2007, when Eliot L. Spitzer, then the newly elected governor, issued an executive order barring most appointees from donating to or soliciting donations for the governor who made the appointment. Mr. Cuomo renewed the order on his first day in office.
But a New York Times investigation found that the Cuomo administration has quietly reinterpreted the directive, enabling him to collect about $890,000 from two dozen of his appointees. Some gave within days of being appointed.