WHO: New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
WHAT: Cuomo, who plans to run for governor of New York in 2010, accepted tens of thousands of campaign dollars from law firms representing clients his office investigated or accused of wrongdoing. Cuomo’s campaign fund received $35,000 this year from the firm defending former AIG Inc. CEO Hank Greenberg against the attorney general’s civil fraud case.
HOW MUCH: Out of a total $18 million in 2006 and 2008, Cuomo raised $974,000 from lawyers and lobbyists across the U.S.
WHY IT’S LEGAL: Cuomo’s donation forms ask contributors to sign a statement saying they have no “matter” pending with him. But that rule “does not extend to attorneys representing persons or entities with matters before the NYS Attorney General’s Office.” The exception follows predecessors’ policies, but creates an appearance of improper influence.