Lawmakers calling on Cuomo to resign face campaign cash dilemma

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Showing left to right: Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, NY Senator Todd Kaminsky, NY Senator Anna Kaplan, NY Senator John Brooks and NY Senator Jim Gaughran. At the Nassau County Democratic Headquarter Chairman Jay Jacobs held a Pressconference with the newly elected Senators in a historic win, at 500 Old Country Road in Garden City, Nassau, NY.

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Gov. Cuomo has given millions in campaign cash over the years to a long list of New York lawmakers — and they all face a decision now on whether to give it back.

Many of Cuomo’s largest beneficiaries are now calling on him to resign or step aside pending the results of investigations over multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct — but so far none have publicly said they’ll give up money that came in through an accused sex harasser.

Cuomo cash was particularly integral to getting state senators elected in 2018 to establish total Democratic control of the chamber and one-party rule in Albany.

Two Long Island Democrats, state Sens. Todd Kaminsky and Jim Gaughran, led the pack, each taking $22,000 from Cuomo’s campaign committee over the years. Two other Long Islanders, state Sens. John Brooks and Anna Kaplan, both took $11,000. State Sen. Andrew S. Gounardes, who represents a GOP-leaning slice of south Brooklyn, also received $11,000.

Bronx state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who took $5,000 from Cuomo in 2014, is one of the only pols so far to say thanks, but no thanks.

From left to right: Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, state Sen. Anna Kaplan, state Sen. John Brooks and state Sen. Jim Gaughran.
Brigitte Stelzer for NY Post

“The $5,000 donated to my campaign by the Governor back in 2014 will be donated to a Bronx organization that provides assistance to victims of sexual assault,” Rivera told The Post. “While I was not aware at the time of the donation of the Governor’s abhorrent behavior and toxic governing style, I believe these funds should go towards helping victims of sexual harassment and abuse.”

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Cuomo — whose current committee has more than $16.8 million in its coffers — also gave Queens Sen. and Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris $3,100 in 2002 and Yonkers Sen. and current Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins $500 for her 2004 race, which she lost to GOP incumbent Nicholas Spano by 18 votes.

Cuomo’s largesse extended to federal lawmakers, targeting Dems in tough races. Rep. Antonio Delgado (Rhinebeck)— who called on Cuomo to resign on March 12 — snagged $2,700 for his race against John Faso in 2018.

New York State Senator Deputy Majority Leader, Michael Gianaris on Nov. 23, 2020.
New York State Senator Deputy Majority Leader, Michael Gianaris on Nov. 23, 2020.
Hans Pennink for NY Post

State GOP leader Nick Langworthy derided the cash as “blood money.”

“You can’t have it both ways. Democrats need to put their money where their mouth is and get rid of these tainted funds from the corrupt, serial abuser Andrew Cuomo,” he said.

Senate Minority leader Robert Ortt agreed: “If an elected official feels — rightfully so — that the governor should resign, and has called on him to do so, there’s an old saying: put your money where your mouth is.”

Reps for Stewart-Cousins and Gianaris did not comment. Reps for Kaminsky, Gaughran, Kaplan, Brooks and Gounardes did not respond to requests for comment.

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