How much in favors does $34 million in donations buy, governor?
Just how much are New York taxpayers spending to goose Gov. Kathy Hochul’s obsessive pay-to-play fundraising?
We now know the state overspent $286 million for COVID tests sold by the company whose owner’s family wound up giving $300,00 to her campaign. At that rate, the $34 million-plus she’s raised translates to billions in quid pro quo favors.
And emails unearthed between the Accidental Governor and her buddies show just how ugly the connections are.
Take Robert Trobe (himself a Hochul donor), a former city agency bigwig who in December 2021 was trying to organize a high-dollar fundraiser for Hochul. The price tag? A naked demand for Hochul to back a pay bump for certain state contract workers.
Hochul, unsurprisingly, delivered: come January, her bank-busting budget kicked in half a billion for that raise. The gov’s coffers grew, connected insiders got served and taxpayers got hosed.
Liquor kingpin Wayne Chaplin wanted a new law mandating that all alcoholic beverages imported into New York make a day-long pit stop at a distributor’s warehouse before sale to a customer.
He showed at a 2021 Hochul fundraiser near Rochester; on the same day five different LLC’s all attached to his company’s corporate address donated to Hochul a total of $25,000. He followed up with the gov’s office in an email, openly admitting he had hocked the governor about the bill at the pricy party.
Not even a terrible tragedy can slow Hochul’s drive to raise money. Per public records, she spent at least 14 hours on “private” tasks in the days after after the grocery-store massacre in her hometown of Buffalo. The tasks were clearly fundraisers, as she took in some $1.19 million.
We’ll grant that not all of the gov’s $34 million comes at direct cost to state taxpayers: sometimes it just means people and businesses evicted to clear the way for a donor’s megaproject, or higher costs for consumers and retailers who can’t directly import some hooch.
But it’s all too certain that this governor puts her donors’ desires first, with not a thought to what’s best for the people she supposedly serves.