Andrew Cuomo loves big donations from rich guys. His campaign has touted the number of small donors he had, even though most of his money still comes from big donations and a suspiciously large number of $1 donations from someone who shares an address with a Cuomo campaign aide. But investigative journalist David Sirota has a staggering report at Capital & Main today on a particularly egregious donation Cuomo received earlier this year: $25,000 from David Boies, Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer, which came just days before the governor ordered the suspension of an investigation into Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s handling of the Weinstein case. That investigation stemmed from the revelation that Boies had also donated $10,000 to Vance before the district attorney declined to prosecute Weinstein.
The timing is impossible to ignore. According to New York campaign finance records, Cuomo’s campaign received a $25,000 donation from Boies’ law firm on June 20. Six days later, Cuomo quietly ordered the suspension of the investigation into Vance’s handling of the Weinstein investigation in a letter obtained by Page Six. As the tabloid reported, Cuomo called for a six-month pause, which would allow the investigation to continue shortly after the November elections. It was only revealed last night that Cuomo had put the investigation on hold, perhaps indefinitely, in a report by BuzzFeed News.
#MeToo is about more than just the terrible behavior of powerful men. It’s also about the people and institutions that enable and protect abusers, and this looks to be a prime example of that. Even if the donation wasn’t intended to pressure Cuomo into suspending the investigation, Cuomo shouldn’t be taking any money at all from an entity so deeply entangled in an investigation by his administration.
In a statement to BuzzFeed on Tuesday, Cuomo’s office defended suspending the investigation.
“As we said when the Governor directed the Attorney General to investigate the Manhattan DA’s Office, it should not interfere with the DA’s ongoing criminal case,” Cuomo press secretary Dani Lever said in the statement. “Given the recent indictment and prosecution of Harvey Weinstein by the district attorney, the attorney general’s investigation has been postponed for six months.”
As the site also noted, Cuomo’s office justified the suspension by saying it could have interfered with the current ongoing criminal case against Weinstein—which could “drag through the courts for months or even years, suggesting the suspension could be extended indefinitely,” according to BuzzFeed.
Cuomo is already embroiled in some deeply shady shit: His former campaign manager and deputy executive secretary Joseph Percoco was convicted on three counts of corruption this March and his economic development guru Alain E. Kaloyeros was convicted on corruption charges just last month. This month, Cuomo’s office lost a long and expensive fight to prevent emails showing his office’s relationship with a corrupt lobbyist from being released.
Making a large campaign donation from a party deeply invested in an investigation to the politician with the power to halt that investigation—who then does just that—should be enough to trigger its own investigation.
Anyway, good luck with the debate tonight, Andrew! Can’t wait to hear you explain this one!