Common Cause/NY Details Cablevision’s Political Spending in New York

For Immediate Release:


April 16, 2013

Susan Lerner, 212-691-6421

Common Cause/NY Details Cablevision’s Political Spending in New York

Since 2005, Cablevision has contributed over $5.4 million, with over half a million coming directly from the Dolans and other top executives.

As part of its continuing efforts to detail the connections between money and politics, Common Cause/NY has issued an analysis of Cablevision’s New York campaign contributions since 2005.

Cablevision is one of the largest corporate donors in the New York State, spending an average of $675,000 each year on campaign contributions. Since 2005, the company has contributed a total of $5,413,623 to various individuals and party accounts.

Generally, Cablevision’s spending targets follow a familiar pattern: statewide elected officials, key lawmakers and party committee accounts in local service areas (Long Island, NYC, and the lower Hudson Valley), and the “housekeeping” committee accounts for Democrats in the State Assembly and both Democrats and Republicans in the State Senate.

Cablevision’s spending peaked in 2005 when the company donated over $1 million in a single year while opposing the construction of a competing venue to Madison Square Garden, the proposed West Side Stadium in Manhattan. Since 2005, the company has given between $453,000 and $828,000 each year.

“It’s clear that Cablevision is traveling a well won path of influence, targeting resources where they’ll be most effective. Thanks to New York’s lax campaign finance laws it’s possible for big dollar donors to wield disproportionate power over our politics and policy making process. We need comprehensive campaign finance reform, built around a core of small dollar donations, to restore the public’s trust that their government is not for sale,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

In New York, Cablevision makes contributions through numerous separate entities including theCablevision Systems New York PAC, CSC Holdings Inc., CSC Holdings LLC, Cablevision of Rockland/Ramapo LLC, Cablevision of Warwick LLC, Cablevision of Monmouth LLC, andCablevision of New Jersey LLC among others.

Fast Facts

Total between 2005 and January 2013: $5,413,622.56

Contributions from the Dolans and other top executives and board members: $512,845

99.1% of contributions went to statewide candidates/committees or those within the Cablevision service area (Long Island, NYC, and the lower Hudson Valley)

$136,122 to 79 Assembly Members for an average of $1,723 each

$278,400 to 69 State Senators for an average of $4,034 each

$2.5 million in contributions to state and local party committees

$1.5 million to State Senate party committees

$1.15 million to State Senate Republicans soft money, including 7 mega-donations of $50,000 or greater.

$320,000 to State Senate Democratic soft money, including 2 mega-donations of $50,000 or greater

$30,000 to the Independent Democratic Conference soft money account

$310,000 to State Assembly party committees

$305,000 to State Assembly Democratic soft money, including 5 mega-donations of $50,000 or greater

Only $5,250 to State Assembly Republicans

$420,000 to New York State party committees

$376,500 to New York State Democratic Committee, including 3 mega-donations of $50,000 or greater

$43,350 to New York Republican State Committee

$105,623 to Nassau County party committees

$57,525 to Nassau County Democratic Party accounts

$46,100 to Nassau County Republican Party accounts

$62,650 to Suffolk County party committees

$50,700 to Suffolk County Democratic Party accounts

$11,950 to Suffolk County Republican Party accounts

$29,200 to Queens County Democratic Party

$27,000 to Kings County Democratic Party

$16,000 to Bronx County Democratic Party

$7,250 to New York County Democratic Party

Top Individual Recipients

1. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) — $359,150, received an additional $50,100 as Attorney General

2. Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi (D) — $203,475

3. Governor David Paterson (D) — $133,300

4. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice (D) — $85,100 (ran for AG in 2010)

5. Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) — $80,000

6. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) — $66,500

7. Former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy (D) — $64,990

8. Attorney General Candidate Sean Coffey (D) – -$55,900 (entirely from one max donor – exec. Thomas S. Smith)

9. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D) — $48,500

10. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (R) — $48,025

11. Comptroller Candidate Harry Wilson (R) — $47,800

12. Westchester County Exec Rob Astorino (R) — $47,500

13. State Senator Dean Skelos (R) — $37,850

14. Westchester County Exec. Andy Spano (D) — $37,000

15. Suffolk County Exec. Steve Bellone (D) — $32,250

16. State Senator Jeff Klein (D) — $19,000


Common Cause/NY is part of the coalition for Fair Election in New York State. The campaign for Fair Elections is focused on four key goals, enumerated by Governor Cuomo in his State of the State Address:

Public Financing of Elections – establishing a voluntary system to empower small donors by matching their contributions with public money, similar to NYC’s successful system.

Lower Contribution Limits – bringing New York State’s sky-high contribution limits down to reasonable levels.

Ending Pay-to-Play – saving public dollars by preventing contributions and bundling by contractors and lobbyists from influencing decisions about state business.

Stronger Enforcement and Transparency – ensuring that our laws are enforced in a fair, effective and timely manner, and that public matching funds are appropriately disbursed.