For Immediate Release Common Cause/NY Releases Analysis of NYSDC Soft Money Fundraising, Top Donors

Written by Susan Lerner on June 16, 2013


For Immediate Release:

Contact:

June 16, 2013

Susan Lerner, (212) 691-6421

Common Cause/NY Releases Analysis of NYSDC Soft Money Fundraising, Top Donors

$5.9 million in first-half 2013 is already the largest sum ever raised by a soft money account in a single year

Today, Common Cause/NY release an analysis of the $5.9 million in soft money raised by the New York State Democratic Committee (NYSDC) so far in 2013. This sum is already the largest amount ever raised by a soft money committee in a single year in New York State. During the entire five year period from 2008-2012, the NYSDC raised a total of $4.3 million in soft money.

As widely reported in the press, the NYSDC's record-breaking soft money fundraising in 2013 is the result of Governor Cuomo's decision to use it as the fundraising vehicle for an advertising campaign promoting his policy agenda. The NYSDC soft money account has spent nearly $5.3 million on television advertising so far in 2013.

Common Cause/NY recognizes the improved transparency in utilizing the official party committee for this purpose rather than an outside entity. But we remain concerned about the influence afforded to wealthy special interests by the soft money loophole and the ability of donors to contributed unlimited sums to New York's political parties.

"These figures confirm, yet again, the need for a complete overhaul of our campaign finance system. Ordinary New Yorkers can't help but question the kind of access and influence donors who can contribute limitless amounts to party accounts have and contrast it, unfortunately unfavorably, with their own," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY

Highlights

In the first half of 2013, the NYSDC raised $5.9 million in soft money, a new single year record for a New York party committee.

The previous record holder was the New York Republican State Committee which raised $4.9 million in 2002 under Governor Pataki.

The average donation to the NYSDC so far in 2013 is $58,414.

From 2008-2012, the average donation to NYSDC was $12,375.

The majority of the funds raised in 2013 ($4.1 million out of $5.9 million) come from 46 new donors who did not contribute at all during the five year period from 2008-2012

Nearly 85% of NYSDC's 2013 fundraising comes from a handful of interests in finance, real estate, telecom, medical malpractice insurance, healthcare, engineering/construction, media, and lobbying/political consulting.

The largest donation in 2013 is a $1 million check from the founder of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, James Simons. The only other $1 million single check ever donated in New York State (other than self-funding candidates) is also from a Renaissance Technologies executive, Robert Mercer's 2010 gift to the State Conservative Party's soft money account.

From 2008-2012, the largest donation to NYSDC was $125,000 from Time Warner Cable

NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE - TOP NEW DONORS 2013

Donor Name

Amount

Industry

Affiliated Individuals/Subsidiaries

Renaissance Technologies

$1,000,000.00

FINANCE -- HEDGE FUND

James Simons

Soros Fund Management

$750,000.00

FINANCE -- HEDGE FUND

George Soros

Educators United

$250,000.00

LABOR -- EDUCATION (UFT AFFILIATE)

Hospitals Insurance Company

$200,000.00

INSURANCE -- MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Glenwood Management (Leonard Litwin)

$200,000.00

REAL ESTATE

79th Street Realty LLC, 80th Realty LLC, Arwin 74th St LLC, East 77th Realty LLC, East 85th Realty LLC, River York Barclay LLC

Tishman Speyer

$200,000.00

REAL ESTATE

TS/TSCE Indian Nominee LLC

IBE Trade

$150,000.00

FERTILIZER; REAL ESTATE

Alexander Rovt

The Arker Companies

$102,000.00

REAL ESTATE

New Yorkers for Affordable Housing

Empire Merchants

$100,000.00

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

Empire Merchants North LLC

Access Industries

$100,000.00

OIL & GAS; REAL ESTATE; MEDIA; CHEMICALS

Ben Barnes Group

$100,000.00

PUBLIC AFFAIRS; POLITICAL CONSULTING

Extell Development

$100,000.00

REAL ESTATE

Gary Barnett

The Related Companies

$100,000.00

REAL ESTATE

Improvement Fund LLC

The Witkoff Group

$100,000.00

REAL ESTATE

Mugrabi Family

$50,000.00

ART DEALERS

Albert Mugrabi

Competitive Power Ventures

$50,000.00

ENERGY -- NATURAL GAS POWER PLANTS

CPV Valley, LLC

Physicians Reciprocal Insurers

$50,000.00

INSURANCE -- MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

Sony Pictures Entertainment

$50,000.00

MEDIA; ENTERTAINMENT

Rivergate Development LLC

$50,000.00

REAL ESTATE

RXR Realty

$50,000.00

REAL ESTATE

Deborah Rechler

HNTB Corporation

$35,000.00

ENGINEERING; CONSTRUCTION

Paul Yarossi, Kenneth Graham

AECOM

$25,000.00

ENGINEERING; CONSTRUCTION

Parsons

$25,000.00

ENGINEERING; CONSTRUCTION

Tishman Construction

$25,000.00

ENGINEERING; CONSTRUCTION

Ostroff Hiffa and Associates

$25,000.00

LOBBYIST

Richard Ostroff

Paramount Pictures

$25,000.00

MEDIA; ENTERTAINMENT

Brack Capital

$25,000.00

REAL ESTATE

180 Orchard Owner LLC

Forest City Ratner

$25,000.00

REAL ESTATE

Omni New York

$20,000.00

REAL ESTATE

OMP Office LLC

Click here for spreadsheet of all NYSDC contributions and expenditures.

Office: Common Cause New York

Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.

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