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Hochul blazes ahead in fundraising, donors enjoyed access

On December 10, 2021, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul attended a meeting of the Democratic Governors Association in New Orleans. On that same trip, Hochul held a campaign fundraising event hosted by someone with business interests before New York’s government.

The event was hosted at the apartment of Howard Glaser, a former top aide to ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo who now works in the gambling industry, according to the Albany Times-Union. Las Vegas Sands, Glaser’s frequent client and big name in the casino industry, had a company official attend the event and donated $5,000 to Hochul’s campaign.

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David Weinraub, who lobbies for Las Vegas Sands, donated $5,000 the same day. Weinraub has been calling on Hochul to legalize casino licenses in the New York City area, donating $39,000 to her campaign since August 2021.

Hochul’s budget, released mid-January 2022, proposed allowing three new casinos downstate for the first time.

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The governor has raised $22 million in campaign funds since her inauguration in August 2021. State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy has accused Hochul of raising that money by “selling the state government out her back door.” Still, lobbying firm fundraisers are a long-standing practice in Albany by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Hochul’s intense fundraising efforts this past fall were widely viewed as a strategy to edge out NYS Attorney General Letitia James in the Democratic primary. James dropped out of the race on December 9, 2021.