When Andrew Cuomo vowed to "take on" special interests in his race to be New York governor, what he didn't say is that he was taking them on as campaign partners. Records show Cuomo accepted millions from health care providers, real estate firms, lawyers, bankers, contractors, lobbyists and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, reveals an investigation by the New York Daily News. Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch isn't worried and believes such donations don't matter as long as they're from "friends." It's "not that hard to do the right thing and just say no to a friend," Koch said. "I believe Andrew will do exactly that" if he's pressed for a favor by a big-buck contributor.
But the head of Common Cause New York sees it very differently. "When someone who's just given you $55,000 wants something, it can be awfully hard to say, 'Sorry, no, it's not in the best interest of the state," said Susan Lerner. Cuomo's spokesman Joe Vlasto denied the $32 million the governor-elect raised will influence him, adding: "If Andrew Cuomo's record could be summed up in one word, it would be: 'independence'"