Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo Called to Return $18M Campaign War Chest to Donors

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo may be short on friends but he's rolling in campaign cash

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It's been three days since Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned amid sexual harassment allegations but his problems are still piling up.

A longtime New York state senator is demanding the former governor return millions of dollars in campaign contributions to his donors. Although close aides have said the political heavyweight has no intentions to run again for office, new reports suggest Cuomo wants to use his massive war chest to exact revenge on his accusers and political enemies.

State Senator Liz Krueger, from Manhattan, raised a question Friday: If Andrew Cuomo won't run for office in the future, then why shouldn't his donors get their money back?

His donations specifically gathered for a 2022 re-election campaign totals more than $18 million.

"They didn't give him money so that he would do this behavior. They gave him money to run for governor," Kruger said Friday. "He's not running for governor, why is he keeping the money?"

Krueger called on Cuomo's big donors, from lobbyists to real estate executives, to ask for their money back. Especially in light of a report in Politico that Cuomo plans to use the money to mount a campaign of retribution against his perceived political enemies, including now Govenor Kathy Hochul.

Donors may not wasnt to anger Cuomo, who some suspect will try to make a comeback -- though the more Cuomo is accused of victim sharming his accusers, the more political observers refer to those donations as "politically radioactive," making the donors look bad if they don't ask for the money back.

"I would like to see a whole movement begin of people to saying get your money back," Krueger told News 4.

Even if a donor asks Cuomo for a refund, the former governor is not required to provide one under the law. He is fully expected to use the money for his mounting legal fees. But the question remains as to whether he can also use it to pay his spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, who was repeatedly mentioned in the attorney general's report as one of the governor's enabers.

"It has to be related to a campaign or holding a public office, and it cannot be used for personal expenses. Admittedly there are many gray areas," said NY State Board of Elections Co-Chair Douglas Kellner.

Azzopardi put out the following statement: "As we already said, Governor Cuomo has no interest in running again but that doesn't mean we're going to allow for deliberate misstatements about our administration to stand. That being said, it's fascinating to know how much real estate we're still taking up in people's heads."

That spokesman did not respond directly when asked if he is now being paid by Cuomo's campaign funds. Ultimately it's up to the district attorney's to decide if campaign funds are being spent properly.

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