New York Governor Andrew Cuomo raked in $230,000 in campaign dollars from donors affiliated with a medical network that was granted $62 million in state contracts during the pandemic.
Executives and doctors with Somos Healthcare Providers donated 10% of the cash the governor has raised in the last six months. Twelve supporters were responsible for contributing a combined $229,500 to the campaign, with $25,000 coming from Somo co-founder Henry Munoz, and three in-network doctors coughing up a $100,000 between them.
While New York City only allows candidates to take in no more than $400 from anyone doing business with City Hall, there isn’t a restriction at the state level.
“It’s crazy that this is allowed,” Remarked John Kaehny, the Executive Director of Reinvent Albany, which advocates for a “transparent and accountable” New York State government. “We’ve been pushing for a ban on state vendors contributing to campaigns.”
He said the Somos Healthcare affiliated donations “looks like pay to play.” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi denied the charge. He replied that the governor’s supporters from Somos are “longtime supporters going back at least half a decade” and shot back that “anyone seeking to ascribe nefarious motives to this is barking up the wrong tree.”
In March, the governor announced a partnership with Somos Community Care to provide 100 primary care practices within the Somos Network with the vaccine. The funding comes from the state’s $75 billion Medicaid program.
Somos spokesperson Jack Sterene, a former Cuomo employee, also downplayed the accusation. “At this point, we’ve donated significantly more money testing, feeding and vaccinating New Yorkers than we will likely receive,” he redirected, noting that “most of the work of our doctors network has been as volunteers.”