With Gov. Cuomo preparing his unceremonious exit from Albany after a cascade of sexual misconduct accusations, Democratic lawmakers around the country now face the decision of what to do with tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash he gave them.
During the contentious 2018 midterm elections, the “Cuomo NY Take Back The House” political action committee donated $47,000 to high-profile House races around the country and helped the Democratic Party take back the lower chamber from Republicans that year.
In New York, Rep. Joseph Morelle took a $2,700 infusion to help him secure a western district left open by the death of Rep. Louise Slaughter in March 2018. That same cycle, another $2,700 went to Rep. Antonio Delgado, which helped him knock off GOP Rep. John Faso in an upstate race.
Both men called on the governor to resign back in March, but neither answered Post inquiries about what they did or will do with the Cuomo cash.
Outside the Empire State, the PAC promoted many of the female candidates who helped power Nancy Pelosi back into the Speaker’s chair in what was called the “Year of the Woman.”
Contenders like Elissa Slotkin (D-MI); Abigail Spanberger (D-VA); Lauren Underwood (D-IL); Michelle Sherrill (D-NJ); Sharice Davids (D-KS), and Lucy McBath (D-GA) each took $2,000 from the PAC. All won very tight races in swing districts, with many knocking off Republican incumbents.
All of the women have spoken out strongly against sexual misconduct. But only one of them said they are giving up the Cuomo cash when contacted by The Post last week.
Rep. Sherrill’s office said the money had been donated “immediately” after the release of state Attorney General Letitia James’ damning report documenting Cuomo’s abusive behavior.
“The money was donated to a local New Jersey organization that works with vulnerable individuals and their families,” her office said.
Advocates for victims of sexual misconduct were uncompromising.
“I believe now that Cuomo cannot hide behind an institution to cover his power abuse it is incumbent upon other elected officials who have allied themselves with him to stand up and now ally themselves with survivors,” Erica Vladimir, Co-Founder of Sexual Harassment Working Group, told The Post. “That means returning the money.”
Closer to Capitol Hill, however, others were more forgiving.
“This is money that was accepted two campaign cycles and three calendar years ago. It was accepted before there were any allegations and you should not be expected to return it,” huffed one annoyed House staffer.
Cuomo, who remained a prolific fundraiser until mere weeks before he announced his resignation, has long supported moderate local Dems and played a crucial role in the party’s State Senate takeover in 2018.
As The Post previously reported, State Sens. Todd Kaminsky and Jim Gaughran, both of Long Island, each collected $22,000 from Cuomo’s campaign committee over the years. Two other Long Islanders, state Sens. John Brooks and Anna Kaplan, received $11,000 apiece. State Sen. Andrew S. Gounardes, who represents a GOP-leaning area of south Brooklyn, also netted $11,000.
Sen. Kaminsky’s office defended the cash saying it was from “half-a- decade ago,” and noted that he had since become a “leading critic” of the disgraced pol.
None of the others responded to requests for comment from The Post about what they planned to do with the cash.
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