State BOE Enforcement Counsel’s Dismaying Response to Watchdog Complaint About Use of Campaign Funds by Former Governor Cuomo


In a March 7, 2022 letter to watchdog groups, the State BOE’s Enforcement Counsel Michael Johnson explained that NYS Election Law allows candidate committees to receive and expend funds without the candidate declaring what they are running for or even what election year they are running in.

Johnson’s letter responded to a September 9, 2021 complaint from Reinvent Albany, Common Cause NY, League of Women Voters of NYS and NYPIRG questioning Cuomo’s use of campaign funds to pay for a media spokesperson.

The groups cited NY Election Law Sec. 14-130 (1) which says campaign funds:
“Shall not be converted by any person to a personal use which is unrelated to a political campaign or the holding of a public office or party position.”

SBOE’s Johnson countered by citing

Election Law 14-130[3):
“New York Election Law places no restriction on when a political committee must terminate or
dispose of its funds ( except for death of the candidate). See Election Law § 14-132. Similarly,
nothing requires that the candidate declare the office he is seeking, or the election year,
before his campaign committee may receive contributions or expend campaign funds. Election
Law § 14-100 [7].”

If you’re interested in reading more about how New York elected officials and candidates may use campaign funds, please check out our blog post on the topic, “What Can Cuomo Do With $18M in Campaign Contributions?”