An advocacy group largely supported by the city’s real estate industry raised more than $12 million for Governor Andrew Cuomo, and $17 million overall, in 2011, its first full year of operations. A review of the Committee to Save New York’s finances conducted by the New York Times found more than two-thirds of the $17 million to have come from donors giving $250,000 or more, and three donors combined to give $6.25 million. By donating to the advocacy group, which has funded television and radio ads in support of Cuomo, these wealthy contributors can bypass the $60,800 state limit on direct donations to candidates.
The Times said that the majority of these wealthy givers were members of the city’s real estate industry. The committee was founded by Tishman Speyer president Rob Speyer and is headed by Real Estate Board of New York President Steve Spinola and Partnership for New York City President Kathryn Wylde. Additionally, Mary Ann Tighe of CBRE and Gary LaBarbera of the Building & Construction Trades Council are on the committee’s advisory board, according to its website.
The group spent $12.1 million supporting Cuomo, nearly twice as much as the next largest contributor and the fifth most ever spent on a single-year campaign in the state. [NYT]