In 2016, Bernie Sanders touted a figure of $27 as his average campaign donation. Since then, candidates have been announcing small donation figures as proof they have strong grassroots support and aren’t the product of a few big donors. And many, including NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, are happy to fudge the numbers best they can to at least give the appearance of grassroots support.
According to a report Tuesday in The New York Times, the campaign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo took this to a new level, taking incredibly small donations from donors to make the average donation size look smaller.
Some of these donors were more motivated than others.
The Times reported that in the run-up to the reporting deadline, donor Christopher Kim contributed 69 times. But 67 of those donations were of $1 each.
“We appreciate his enthusiasm,” campaign spokeswoman Abbey Collins told the Times. “Going forward, we’ll put measures in place to count contributions like this differently.”
But he wasn’t the only one in on the fun. The Times reported that “a line of aides, relatives, roommates, allies, appointees and lobbyists” were shown on the filing documents giving such nominal sums as $1 and $5.
“Other small donors included the father of one of Cuomo’s spokeswomen (who gave $1), the lobbyist father of Cuomo’s top aide (who gave $10), as well as others who share addresses with Cuomo’s paid campaign staff,” the Times wrote.
The Washington Times reported on the subject:
“Mathematically, such gifts would increase the number of donations while hardly affecting the amount raised, which would lower the average donation size.
Indeed before the full report was released, the Cuomo campaign had boasted Monday that 57 percent of the raw number of contributions were for $250 or less and the commonest amount was $5.
In a Democratic primary in which he is being challenged from the left by socialist actress Cynthia Nixon, Mr. Cuomo could use some statistics to minimize his status as one of his party’s biggest fundraisers sitting atop a $31 million war chest, most of it, the Times reported, coming from big donors.
According to the Times, the Cuomo campaign raised $6 million in the first half of the year, but just 1 percent of that amount came from people who gave $250 or less.”
Well, that sure is a head-scratcher, turns out you can get caught while trying to fabricate campaign donation numbers.
Don’t try this at home, kids.