A (Relatively) Quiet Lobbying Period For CSNY (Updated X3)
The quarterly financial disclosure filing of the state’s top lobbying organization aligned with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fiscal agenda shows the coalition of business groups and private-sector unions spent $62,838 on lobbying state government during May and June.
The report from the Committee to Save New York, filed today with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, shows that the group spent more than $42,000 on “strategic planning” with ASKG Public Strategies and an additional $20,000 with Mercury Public Relations.
Update: The committee also filed its semi-annual report detailing its spending from January through June, which has been added below.
Update X2: A reader points out that CSNY reported lobbying one measure, a budget bill that passed March 30. I’ve reached out to spokesman Michael McKeon to figure out why that is.
Update X3: McKeon emails back to say some of the expenses from lobbying the bill may have carried over.
“Some of the expenses related to the advocacy of that bill stretched into this reporting period so we decided to list the bill,” he wrote. “It may amount to over reporting but we decided to fall on that side of the question.”
The committee, which has been a deep-pocketed supporter of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fiscal agenda over the last two legislative sessions, did not report any spending on television or radio ad buys.
Cuomo came under fire after The New York Times reported that CSNY received millions of dollars from casino and gambling interests a month before Cuomo made a push for an expansion of gaming in New York.
The governor’s office has strongly denied any implication that the money sent to CSNY influenced his push at the beginning of the year to advocate for an expansion of gambling beyond the Indian-run casinos (the committee does not list the casino gambling amendment among the measures it formally lobbied for).
Cuomo had also initially wanted to build a new convention center and casino in Queens, but the weekend before the Times’ story appeared, Cuomo announced in a radio interview that the deal had been scuttled because of a disagreement over exclusivity.
As a candidate for governor, Cuomo had pushed for expanding casino gambling as an economic boost for the state.
The committee so far this year has spent the bulk of its cash in March and April, the height of the budget-making season in Albany and when the new, less-generous pension system was approved by lawmakers.
Today’s filing is more in line with what was spent at the beginning of the year, when CSNY spent just $84,564 on its operations.
The bulk of CSNY’s spending came with a $4 million ad blitz, mostly in March and just before lawmakers cobbled together a mega-deal that including a compromise on state legislative redistricting.
Founded in 2011 as a counterbalance to the expected pushback from unions and other special interest groups that have traditionally hobbled past governors’ attempts at fiscal overhauls, the committee has quickly established its self as a powerful and influential organization.
The group has run ads in support of Cuomo’s fiscal goals and his approved 2 percent property tax cap.
A tax filing from CSNY revealed that in 2011 the committee raised more than $17.5 million from 74 undisclosed donors. The committee has said it has no plans to proactively reveals its contributors. The year-old ethics commission is currently putting together regulations for how far back lobbying entities should go when revealing their donors, with an update expected in July.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on July 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm, and is filed under Lobbying. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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