Top donors halt support for Andrew Cuomo amid sexual harassment scandal
Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
Key donors of Gov. Andrew Cuomo have halted their support for the New York Democrat as he faces a probe into sexual harassment allegations, CNBC reported.
The financial backers are reportedly pausing and reevaluating their financial support for Cuomo because of the accusations, people involved in fundraising told CNBC Monday. Fearing the governor’s retribution, several of the donors chose to be anonymous.
“No one is giving to him now,” a finance executive told CNBC. “Everything is on hold.”
Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo staffer, accused the governor last week of kissing her without her consent and of creating a culture within his administration where bullying and sexual harassment is commonplace. Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, accused Cuomo of sexual harassment on Saturday, The New York Times reported.
“Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday. “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
The Cuomo administration granted New York Attorney General Letitia James’ request to open an investigation into the allegations Monday. James promised to publicly release the results of the probe.
One of Cuomo’s close associates told CNBC that the allegations could lead New Yorkers to elect someone else in the state’s 2022 gubernatorial election. Cuomo has vowed to run again in 2022, which would be his fourth term as governor of New York, according to Governing.
“Unless he comes forward and faces it completely and openly and honestly, he doesn’t deserve a fourth term, even though I like him immensely,” said businessman Bernard Schwartz, according to CNBC. Schwartz has donated $70,000 to Cuomo over the last two years.
While the governor’s financial backers have halted their donations, they have not ruled out continuing their contributions in the future pending the results of the investigation into the allegations, according to CNBC.
“They’re more in a wait-and-see mode. If this blows over, they don’t want to have gotten on the wrong side of the governor,” an anonymous person told CNBC. “So they’re in a wait-and-see mode, meaning not writing a check now but also not willing to completely cut him off yet.”