Andrew Cuomo

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Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo 2.jpeg
Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 2011 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 3
Prior offices
Attorney of General of New York
January 1, 2007-December 31, 2010
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Development
January 29, 1997-January 20, 2001
Bachelor'sFordham University
J.D.Albany Law School
BirthdayDecember 6, 1957
ReligionRoman Catholic
Office website
Andrew Mark Cuomo (born December 6, 1957, in Queens, New York) is the current Democratic Governor of New York. He was first elected in 2010, and served previously as the Attorney General of New York.


Cuomo was born on December 6, 1957 in Queens, NY. He graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School, Fordham University, and Albany Law School. Cuomo was named a top aide to his father's inaugural campaign for Governor shortly after receiving his law degree. He then joined the Governor's staff as one of his father's top policy advisors, a position he filled on and off throughout the course of Mario Cuomo's twelve-year governorship.

Cuomo worked two years as an New York assistant district attorney and briefly for the law firm of Blutrich, Falcone & Miller. He became profoundly active in the issues of homeless and state housing policy during the 1980s and 90s. This in turn spurred him on to create Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged (HELP), a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide housing and the supportive services necessary for the homeless and people in need to become and remain self reliant. He was appointed Chairman of the New York City Homeless Commission during the administration of New York City Mayor David Dinkins, from 1990-1993.


  • Graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School (1975)
  • BA, Fordham University (1979)
  • JD, Albany Law School (1982)

Political career

Governor of New York (2011-Present)

Cuomo was elected Governor of New York in 2010 and assumed office January 1, 2011.

Attorney General of New York (2007-2010)

Police surveillance by the Governor's Office

On July 23, 2007, Cuomo's office admonished the Spitzer administration for ordering the State Police to keep special records of Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno's whereabouts when he traveled with police escorts in New York City.[1] At the direction of top officials of the Spitzer administration, the New York State Police created documents meant to cause political damage to Bruno.[2] The governor's staff had stated they were responding to a Freedom of Information request from the Albany Times-Union in late June.[1]

A scathing 57-page report issued by the Attorney General's office concluded that Spitzer aides did not simply produce records, as the state Freedom of Information Law requires, but were instead engaged in planning and producing media coverage concerning Senator Bruno's travel on state aircraft before any FOIL request was made.[3][4] The investigation looked into both Bruno's travel and the senate leader's allegation that Spitzer used State Police to spy on him.[5] It also suggests that the governor's staff lied when they tried to explain what they had done and forced the State Police to go far beyond their normal procedures in documenting Mr. Bruno's whereabouts.[6]

The report cleared Bruno of any misuse of the state's air fleet, which had been alleged.[7][8][9][2] The report criticized Spitzer's office for using State Police resources to gather information about Bruno's travel and releasing the information to the media.[10]

New York Republican State Committee Chairman Joseph Mondello claimed that "Today's explosive report by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo validates the frightening charges that Governor Spitzer's administration abused the New York State Police and New York's F.O.I.L. laws in an attempt to set up Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno"[1] and that "This disturbing abuse of power by a Governor is unprecedented."[1] The findings of the report were endorsed by Spitzer's own Inspector General, Kristine Hamann.[1][8][9][5]

Spitzer responded at a July 23 press conference that "As governor, I am accountable for what goes on in the executive branch and I accept responsibility for the actions of my office"[1] and that his administration had "grossly mishandled"[1] the situation.[9] The Governor issued an apology to Senator Bruno and stated that "I apologized to Senator Bruno and I did so personally this morning […] In addition, I apologized to the men and women of the State Police, and to acting Superintendent Preston Felton personally for allowing this esteemed institution to be drawn into this matter."[1] Felton said he didn't realize he was part of a political scheme, and claimed in a written statement that "I have never, in my 26-year career with the state police, knowingly undertaken any such action and never would […] To the extent that circumstances previously not known to me have now given rise to that appearance, I am particularly saddened."[5]

Spitzer subsequently announced that he would indefinitely suspend his communications director, Darren Dopp, and reassign another top official.[11] When questioned about his promise to bring a new dawn of ethical responsibility to state politics, Spitzer responded by saying "I will not tolerate this behavior […] ethics and accountability must and will remain rigorous in my administration",[2] and that "I have always stated that I want ethics and integrity to be the hallmarks of my administration. That is why I requested that the State Inspector General review the allegations with respect to my office, and that is why we have fully cooperated with both inquiries."[7]

As of July 2007, Cuomo's office was considering recommending disciplinary action against the Governor's office.[3]

Student Loan Inquiry

In 2007, Cuomo has been active in a high profile investigation into lending practices and anti-competitive relationships between student lenders and universities. Specifically, many universities steered student borrowers to "preferred lender" which resulted in those borrowers incurring higher interest rates. This has led to changes in lending policy at many major American universities. Many universities have also rebated millions of dollars in fees back to affected borrowers.[12][13]

The Safety of Facebook

Andrew Cuomo has spoken out against Facebook, saying that it is not safe enough for minors.[14]

"My office is concerned that Facebook's promise of a safe web site is not consistent with its performance in policing its site and responding to complaints," Cuomo stated on September 25, 2007. "Parents have a right to know what their children will encounter on a web site that is aggressively marketed as safe."

Cuomo cites an investigation by the Office of Attorney General which discovered "deficiencies that stand in contrast to the reassuring statements made on the web site and by company officials." This investigation found numerous occurrences of other users approaching undercover Facebook accounts for adult reasons, as well as lewd or pornographic Facebook groups that users under 18 were allowed to join.

ACORN endorsement

See also: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

In the midst of his 2006 bid for New York Attorney General, Cuomo received the endorsement of ACORN. Former Executive Director Bertha Lewis praised him for "his outstanding record of results fighting for fair housing and fighting against predatory lenders." [15] In response to this commendation, Cuomo issued a statement that stated that he was "honored" and that he appreciated the strong words of recommendation from his 'good friend' Bertha Lewis, who, he said, was an 'inspiration' for him.

Cuomo was one of six state attorneys general, all of whom belonged to the Democratic Party, who received the highest rating, a letter grade of A+, from the June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by the embattled liberal political organization, ACORN. The report was published in an effort to shine the spotlight on state attorneys general "leading the fight to protect homeowners from joining the flood of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure," according to the group. [16]

Mortgage crisis

As part of a probe into the mortgage industry, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo served subpoenas to both Freddie Mac (FRE) and Fannie Mae (FNM) on November 7, 2007, requesting the two companies retain an independent examiner to review mortgages and appraisals. He then promptly sued First American Corporation (FAF) and its eAppraiseIT unit for allegedly colluding with savings bank holding company, Washington Mutual; stock for the company sharply declined. CNBC's Jim Cramer labeled Cuomo a "communist" who "who wants to shut down the mortgage market." [17] About a month later, Washington Mutual Bank reorganized its home-loan division and closed 160 of its 336 home-loan offices, hemorrhaging nearly twenty-two percent of its staff. Nine months after that, Washington Mutual, Inc. and its subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy.

Cuomo faced criticism for a series of lawsuits and investigations surrounding a Florida based Savings and Loan Association institution in which he was accused of illegal, hostile take-over maneuvers among other things. This problem tapered off after Attorney General Janet Reno declined to initiate a full investigation. A spectrum of excuses and accusations were offered to explain this situation.

In tandem with the Florida S&L situation is the criticism coming from Catherine Fitts, formerly HUD Assistant Secretary and FHA Administrator under Jack Kemp during the first Bush administration and HUD independent contractor under Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo. She essentially accuses him of fraud and links his name to HUD vendors who also provided him with lucrative benefits of various types.[18]

Shuck and jive

In the early stages of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign, shortly after Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire contest, Cuomo, a supporter of Clinton's, made a comment in reference to then-Senator Barack Obama that some perceived to be racially insensitive, if unintentionally so. The New York Attorney General, speaking on radio station WGDJ - Talk 1300 based in Albany, analyzed the primary race, saying, "It's not a TV crazed race. Frankly you can't buy your way into it. You can't shuck and jive at a press conference. All those moves you can make with the press don't work when you're in someone's living room." [19] Though Cuomo insisted after the program that the comment "was never about Obama in the first place," [20] but rather the primary campaign in general, critics still believed the words were ill-spoken, if not downright inappropriate. The phrase 'shuck and jive' "refers to mischievous blacks behaving innocently in the presence of an authority figure, so as to lie and get out of trouble." [19]


On June 10, 2008, Cuomo announced that three major internet service providers (Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint) would "shut down major sources of online child pornography" by no longer hosting many newsgroups associated with the worldwide distributed internet discussion system, Usenet. Time Warner Cable ceased offering Usenet altogether while Sprint no longer provides access to the alt.* hierarchy, and Verizon limiting its Usenet offerings to the Big 8 (comp.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.*, alt.*, and talk.* newsgroup hierarchies). [21] Internet critics have argued that this is significant overreaching on the part of the New York Attorney General, noting that "Cuomo’s office found only 88 newsgroups containing child porn, and there are more than 18,000 in the alt.* hierarchy alone." [22] Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU's technology and liberty program, compared the action to "taking a sledgehammer to an ant." [23]

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1993-2000)

Cuomo was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At the end of Clinton's first term in office, Henry Cisneros resigned as Secretary of HUD following a three and a half year independent investigation that resulted in his indictment on eighteen counts of conspiracy, giving false statements and obstruction of justice. Cuomo succeeded Cisneros and remained in the position until the end of Clinton's administration in 2001. Twice during his tenure it was speculated that he would mount a campaign for the United States Senate, first in 1998 to challenge Senator Al D'Amato who was deemed too conservative by Congressional Democratic leadership and then in 2000 after the announcement by four-term Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan that he would be retiring; he ultimately deferred to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the run up to the Democratic primary election.



See also: New York gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010

Cuomo first ran for Governor of New York in 2010. He defeated Carl P. Paladino (R), Warren Redlich (L), Howie Hawkins (G) and six other candidates in the general election on November 2, 2010.


Though it was expected that he would make a second attempt to run for Governor of New York, he decided against it after State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer entered the gubernatorial race in late-2004. Cuomo later declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for New York Attorney General, which he received in late-May 2006 after obtaining sixty-percent of party delegate votes. In spite of this majority vote of confidence, "each of the other four Democrats whose names were placed in nomination vowed to get on the Sept. 12 primary ballot by undertaking a statewide petitioning drive." [24] These candidates included former New York City public advocate Mark Green, former United States Attorney Denise O'Donnell, Charlie King, and Sean P. Maloney, a former aide to President Bill Clinton; King would drop out of the race just prior to the primary election and endorsed Cuomo. Cuomo easily won the Democratic primary contest, defeating his nearest opponent, Mark Green, by over twenty percent of the vote. [25] He went on to effortlessly best former Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro in the general election, 58-40%, the closest statewide race that election cycle. [26]

2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary Election [25]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Andrew Cuomo (D) 53.5%
Mark Green (D) 32.4%
Sean Patrick Maloney (D) 9.3%
Charles G. King (D) 4.8%
Total votes 755,008
2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election [26]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Andrew Cuomo (D) 53.4%
Jeanine Pirro (R) 36.2%
Rachel Treichler (Green) 1.3%
Christopher B. Garvey (Libertarian) 0.6%
Martin Koppel (SW) 0.2%
Total votes 4,697,867


In 2002, Cuomo ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in the state's gubernatorial election. Despite rival Carl McCall being a favorite of the Democratic establishment, Cuomo's initial momentum heading into the campaign and his ability to lead both in terms of fundraising efforts as well as in the polls his prospects looked optimistic. The turning point in the campaign, however, came on April 17, 2002, when Cuomo criticized Republican incumbent George Pataki's conduct in the wake of the September 11 attacks. He remarked, "Pataki stood behind the leader. He held the leader's coat. He was a great assistant to the leader. But he was not a leader. Cream rises to the top, and Rudy Giuliani rose to the top." [27] His remarks were quickly derided and many Democratic officials began to widely distance themselves from his campaign. Cuomo withdrew his candidacy from consideration on the eve of the state convention, remarking that he stood little chance of garnering enough support to overtake the favored candidate, H. Carl McCall. [28] The late nature of his departure from the campaign resulted in his name being left on the ballot in both the primary and general election contests; he received only fourteen percent of the vote in the primary and sixteen-thousand votes out of a total of 2.2 million cast in the general election. McCall, who had received the nomination, was resoundly defeated by incumbent George Pataki.

Campaign donors

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Andrew Cuomo's donors each year.[29] Click [show] for more information.


Cuomo is a 2000 recipient of the Freedom & Justice Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was married to Kerry Kennedy, the seventh child of Robert F. Kennedy, for 13 years. They have three children together, Cara, Michaela and Mariah, and were divorced in 2003. He is now in a relationship with television cooking show host Sandra Lee.

See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Spitzer's Staff Misused Police, Report Finds by Danny Hakim, The New York Times, July 23, 2007
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cuomo: Spitzer aides used state police to try to damage Bruno by Cara Matthews, The Ithaca Journal, July 23, 2007
  3. 3.0 3.1 "With BC-NY--Bruno Flights" (Cuomo report excerpts), July 23, 2007
  4. Cuomo criticizes Spitzer for using State Police to monitor Bruno by Tom Precious, The Buffalo News, July 23, 2007
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Report: NY Governor's Office Leaked Data by Michael Gormley, The Guardian, July 23, 2007
  6. His Aura Faded Now, Spitzer Faces Bolder Enemies by Danny Hakim, The New York Times, July 23, 2007
  7. 7.0 7.1 Spitzer punishes aides after AG report by Melissa Mansfield,, July 23, 2007
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named sun072307
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Report: Governor's office compiled, leaked data on Bruno by Sally Goldenberg, Staten Island Advance,, July 23, 2007
  10. by Jacob Gershman, New York Sun, July 24, 2007
  11. AG report faults Spitzer aides in Bruno scheme by Jay Jochnowitz, Albany Times-Union, July 23, 2007
  12. Cuomo: School loan corruption widespread USA Today
  13. The First Casualty by Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Education, May 15, 2007
  14. Ars Technica article: "NY Attorney General: Facebook not 'safe' enough for minors"
  15. Room Eight "ACORN Endorses Andrew Cuomo for Attorney General" 29 May, 2006
  16. ACORN "Attorneys General Take Action: Real Leadership in Fighting Foreclosures" June 2008
  17. Business and Media Institute "CNBC's Cramer: New York AG Cuomo a 'Communist'" 7 Nov. 2007
  18. Unanswered Questions about Andrew Cuomo by Catherine Austin Fitts,
  19. 19.0 19.1 Huffington Post "Hillary Supporter Cuomo: Obama Tried To "Shuck And Jive" With Media" 10 Jan. 2008
  20. Politico "Dept. of word choice" 10 Jan. 2008
  21. Slashdot "Submission: Verizon will cut off entire alt.* Usenet hierarchy" 15 June, 2008
  22. NewTeeVee "ISPs Shut Down Usenet to Save Children — and Cash" 11 June, 2008
  23. CNET News "N.Y. attorney general forces ISPs to curb Usenet access" 10 June, 2008
  24. New York Times "Cuomo Wins Democrats' Backing in Primary Race for Attorney General" 31 May, 2006
  25. 25.0 25.1 New York State Board of Elections - 2006 Primary Election Results
  26. 26.0 26.1 New York State Board of Elections - 2006 General Election Results
  27. National Review Online "Where the Son Doesn't Follow" 4 Sept. 2002
  28. CNN "Let a political connection be your umbrella?" 6 Sept. 2002
  29. Follow the
Political offices
Preceded by
Eliot Spitzer
New York Attorney General
Succeeded by
Eric Schneiderman
Preceded by
David Paterson
Governor of New York
Succeeded by