In a report released by Bloomberg News, it appears that $1 million of Cuomo’s current $18 million campaign chest came from New York lawyers, many of them representing defendants who are currently in Cuomo’s crosshairs.
While all contributions forms ask donors if they have any business with the Attorney General’s office (I.e. They are being prosecuted), law firms who represent these defendants are still permitted to donate to Attorney General campaigns.
According to Bloomberg News, one of the most peculiar donors is the law firm Boies, Schiller, & Flexner LLP. The firm is currently representing former AIG head Hank Greenberg in a fraud case and contributed $35,000 to Cuomo.
Law firms that represent other parties that are currently defendants in Cuomo court cases also include those that represent Dell, the controversial bank Deutsche Bank AG, and a former political party leader.
This is nothing new, however, as the records of Eliot Spitzer’s Attorney General campaign also show donations from law firms representing defendants, including Boies, Schiller & Flexner.
Also common are meetings with an Attorney General or candidate for Attorney General in return for large donations.
While Cuomo and his campaign did nothing illegal, the who thing stinks. The Attorney General, particularly the New York Attorney General, is not a politician like a congressman. He is the one who decides which parties to file lawsuits against, which ones to investigate, and which ones to stay away from.
Even for the most ethical person, it would be difficult to go after a big campaign donor very hard in an investigation or lawsuit.
This has been a problem in cases of judges and prosecutors running for office rather than being appointed as they are on the federal level. As we have seen with countless campaign financing scandals, uncontrolled campaign contributions do nothing but breed corruption.