WASHINGTON -- Major Republican fundraiser Kenneth Langone arranged a six-figure "thank you" for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) for his role in helping NYU Langone Medical Center and New York recover from superstorm Sandy, campaign finance filings show.
Trustees, administrators, faculty and physicians at the medical center donated a total of at least $230,000 to Schumer at a New York fundraiser Langone held on Sept. 24, the filings show.
"I feel strongly that people like this in public service deserved to be recognized for their efforts for their constituents," said Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot who is chairman and the top benefactor of the medical center bearing his name.
Langone, of Sands Point, said he'll also hold fundraisers for two GOP politicians for helping pass the $60 billion Sandy aid package over the opposition of many Republicans -- for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in December and Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) in February.
When Sandy hit a year ago, Langone had to be evacuated from his namesake hospital where he was a patient being treated for pneumonia as a surge of water flooded the building and knocked out power.
Langone earlier this year praised Schumer for lobbying FEMA and federal officials to accomplish what he called the "miraculous" reopening of the medical center in two months instead of the predicted two years.
He called Schumer the "maestro" who orchestrated GOP donors such as himself to press House GOP leaders to allow a vote on the Sandy aid package.
Schumer declined to comment.
During the heated campaign over the holidays last year to win House approval of the Sandy aid package, Langone called Cantor repeatedly at the urging of Schumer to stress New York's need for the aid.
As House majority Leader, Cantor set the two January votes in which the House finally OKd the aid package.
In March, Langone and his wife, Elaine, gave $77,600 to the Cantor Victory Fund.
King criticized House GOP leaders for postponing a vote on the aid, and urged New York donors to cut off campaign donations to them.
Langone's emails inviting those connected to the medical center to reward the lawmakers set off some grumbling, the New York Post reported.
But Langone said he bent over backward, with an attorney's advice, to send invitations as a private citizen.
"I did it on my own personal email, appealing to all of those who had the same attachment to NYU Langone Medical Center that I do," he said. He said he stated it was entirely up to each person whether to donate.
Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics that tracks political money, said, "Any political relationship with big money needs big scrutiny."
But she said, "It seems plausible this really is about Sandy instead of his own interest."