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David Sirota and Matthew Cuningham-Cook report that the Andrew Cuomo administration continues to funnel state bond business to campaign contributors.
“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is undeterred. Despite revelations last week that the governor’s officials have steered state housing bond work to his campaign contributors in apparent defiance of federal pay-to-play rules, New York state officials on Friday announced they are giving those same donors even more lucrative business — this time on a massive new transportation revenue bond. The announcement of the deal — which was not competitively bid — comes as a top compliance lawyer in Washington, D.C., suggested that the deal between Cuomo’s administration and the governor’s donors may run afoul of the federal rules.
“According to a prospectus released Friday afternoon, the state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has designated JPMorgan, Citigroup and Bank of America to help manage a new $225 million bond. The deal was given to the firms without competitive bids, according to MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg. As International Business Times has reported, the political action committees of those three financial institutions have given the Democratic governor more than $132,000 in campaign contributions since 2012, and the same three banking groups have been given work by Cuomo’s housing agency on 27 separate bonds worth more than $3 billion.
“A rule of the federal Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) prohibits bond work from going to financial firms that make campaign contributions to public officials who control bond decisions. Cuomo appoints the head of the state housing agency that gave the firms housing bonds, and he nominated four of the board members of the MTA — including its CEO — who made the decision to direct the transportation bond work to the three firms.”