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No Money-Back Guarantee in Politics

Cuomo scoffs at refunds for his donors turned rivals.

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When Andrew Cuomo aborted his bid for governor in 2002, his campaign had $1.2 million left over in its war chest. Now he’s planning to use those lingering funds in his ’06 race for attorney general, and some of his former donors aren’t happy. Take Swig Equities president Kent Swig. Along with family members, he ponied up more than $50,000 for Cuomo in ’02. Now Swig is raising money for one of Cuomo’s A.G. opponents, Charlie King, who ran alongside Cuomo in ’02. “Is it appropriate to solicit money from me for one election, use it in another, and then use it against the candidate I am supporting?” Swig says. “For me, it would not be appropriate.” In 2002, commercial real-estate giant Stephen L. Green gave $20,000 to Cuomo; this year, Green’s younger brother, Mark, is also running for A.G. “It looks like a bait-and-switch to raise money for a higher office, like governor, and then use it for a lower one, like attorney general,” says a Mark Green aide. A high-ranking official in the Cuomo campaign says, “Mario Cuomo did a commercial for Mark Green; Andrew’s friends gave King a lot of money, never dreaming he would run against his old boss. Welcome to politics. Things change.”


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