It pays to support Gay-Rights!

 

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who led the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, received $60,000 in campaign money from one of the state’s leading gay-rights groups, according to campaign finance records filed Friday with the State Board of Elections.

The check from the group, Empire State Pride Agenda, was one of the biggest among the $5.5 million in contributions Mr. Cuomo has received since January. It is a big haul for any governor, and it has come as Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, racked up big political wins in his first six months in office.

Lawmakers who were instrumental in legalizing same-sex marriage last month also saw big contributions from supporters of the legislation, according to the Board of Elections filings.

“The fervid campaign in support of gay marriage filled both the halls of the State Capitol and legislators’ wallets,” Bill Mahoney, research coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group, said.

Mr. Mahoney added, however, that Mr. Cuomo’s biggest benefactors remain the traditional lobbying powers: businesses that support his initiative to cap property tax increases; landlords, developers and tenant advocates who sought the renewal of New York City’s rent control laws; and contributors with interests in health care and education.

The governor’s biggest individual supporters include people in city real estate and business circles, many of whom have business with the state. He has appointed some of those supporters to state boards and positions. Howard P. Milstein, for example, contributed $25,000 on Feb. 3, and Mr. Cuomo appointed Mr. Milstein, a Manhattan banker and real estate developer, to head the Thruway Authority on May 31.

Such fund-raising while controversial issues are being negotiated is common and a concern of government watchdog groups. Mr. Cuomo campaigned last year on a promise to limit Albany’s “pay to play” culture, part of which is addressed in an ethics bill approved this year.

Records show that Mr. Cuomo’s campaign received the check from Empire State Pride Agenda on May 3, the same day he announced that it was a “different day” and that he was optimistic the same-sex-marriage bill would pass. Days later, supporters stepped up their efforts to lobby the Republican majority in the Senate to provide enough votes to pass the measure.

In April, Mr. Cuomo assigned top staff members to organize the lobbying efforts of supporting groups. He signed the bill June 24, after helping persuade four Republican senators to vote for it.

Those Republicans each received $10,300, the maximum contribution allowed by law, from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who supports same-sex marriage; national advocates of same-sex marriage also gave the senators as much as $50,000.

“The mayor said he would support Senate Republicans who stood up, and he did,” Micah C. Lasher, a spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg, said.

Gay-Rights Group Donated $60,000 to Cuomo Campaign – NYTimes.com

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