N.Y. Progressive Groups Call for Investigation of Lobby Supporting Cuomo

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April 24, 2012; Source: Bloomberg Businessweek (AP)

The Committee to Save New York is a nice sounding name for an organization that purports to be something of a good government effort of business CEOs geared up to support the agenda of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Two politically progressive groups “often associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement and unions,” according to the Associated Press, think that the Committee is really a “‘Super PAC’ for wealthy interests.”

The two progressive organizations, Community Voices Heard and VOCAL-NY, cite a number of problems with the Committee that spent $10 million in part to support of some of Gov. Cuomo’s initiatives that might have been opposed by organized labor. The two groups suggest that, as a nonprofit, the Committee was supposed to file with New York’s Charities Registration Bureau, but it hasn’t. If it’s really a PAC supporting the political interests of wealthy business interests rather than a typical nonprofit public charity, it should have disclosed its donors.

The groups have asked the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) to investigate the Committee—twice—but have received no response. JCOPE was created to regulate lobbying and governmental ethics, and was the brainchild of—wait for it—Gov. Cuomo. Will JCOPE take a peek at the bona fides of this group, or do entities supporting the agendas of sitting governors of either political party get a pass?—Rick Cohen