New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul, is a too-clever-by-half type. New York has a longstanding executive order that prohibits governors from accepting donations from gubernatorial appointees. Ms. Hochul reissued the executive order on her first day in office.
Lo and behold, the gov has been accepting donations from gubernatorial appointees, $400,000 worth. Her explanation is that she did not appoint those members; Andrew Cuomo, the offer governor, did. Ergo, per Governor Hochul, she is not in violation of the executive order.
Technically speaking, she has found a loophole, a gray area, and she is going to use it unless and until the legislature steps in and codifies the executive order as law. Complete with penalties. Otherwise, there are some board members who have donated who will continue to donate and will remain in their positions as long as their donations continue.
The exact type of quids and quos the executive order was attempting to stop have actually now been supercharged. Folks on boards from Buffalo to Yonkers are in for a long haul. Governor Hochul is in for a big haul because she will be claiming donation immunity for years to come. “Don’t look at me. I didn’t appoint them.” But she can put them to financial use.
Jay Root, “Hochul Donors Include Officers of State Boards,” New York Times, August 30, 2022, P. A1.