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Astorino rips Cuomo fundraising from companies

Westchester County Executive and Republican reform candidate for

Westchester County Executive and Republican reform candidate for governor Rob Astorino speaks in front of the Mineola Middle School on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2014 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has received $2.7 million in campaign contributions from corporations that have been awarded $7.2 million in state contracts, his Republican challenger said Wednesday.

Republican Rob Astorino released a list of 100 companies that have donated to Cuomo's re-election and have done business with the state.

"Andrew Cuomo is the worst corporate cronyist in state history," Astorino, the Westchester County executive, said in a news release. "Mr. Cuomo has played New York reformers for fools, whether they be from the political left, right or center."

The governor has raised more than $35 million for his campaign. His administration has said that campaign contributions don't influence Cuomo's policy decisions.

Astorino, who raised $2.4 million in campaign contributions as of July, is trying to use Cuomo's fund-raising advantage against him. His campaign said the governor is pressuring the business community for donations.

A federal prosecutor is looking at Cuomo's handling of an anti-corruption commission. Among other issues, reports about the so-called Moreland Commission have detailed that Cuomo aides steered the panel away from looking at a real-estate lobbying group that has contributed to New York politicians, Astorino said.

A Cuomo campaign spokesman didn't directly address the Republican's accusations, other than to call it a "false attack."

Instead, spokesman Matt Wing criticized Astorino's outside work as a radio consultant.

"Rob Astorino should know something about real pay to play since he's used his position as county executive to pad his own personal bank account. While county executive, Astorino was paid thousands of dollars by Clear Channel and then turned around and awarded them taxpayer-funded county contracts worth millions," Wing said.

Astorino reported $31,000 in outside income in 2013.

Cuomo too has earned outside income while in office, earning $188,333 in 2013 as the first installment of payments for a book due out in October. Cuomo is expected to receive between $550,000 to $650,000 for the book.

The two candidates also went back and forth over income-tax disclosures. After Astorino disclosed his 2013 income, Cuomo's campaign team criticized him for not releasing five years' of tax returns.

Astorino, in turn, renewed his demand that Sandra Lee, the Food Network show host with whom Cuomo lives, should have to disclose her income taxes. Cuomo lives in a house Lee owns in Mt. Kisco.

State & Region