Al D’Amato is an equal opportunity money machine. The ex-GOP senator is now raising cash for Andrew Cuomo, reports a Newsday team of Dan Janison and Celeste Hadrick.
In a bash scheduled for Tuesday evening in Midtown, D’Amato will host a fundraiser for Cuomo’s campaign committee, a PAC that’s ambiguously dubbed “Andrew Cuomo 2010” in order to leave the door open for a possible challenge by the attorney general to David Paterson next year.
D’Amato, one of the state’s most active lobbyists, did the same favor in November for Paterson when he raised more than $580,000 for the governor’s own election campaign, as per Wayne Barrett’s post here. D’Amato demonstrated his insider status with Paterson last week when the governor’s team allowed the ex-Senator to stand thisclose to the governor at the high-profile announcement of Kirsten Gillibrand’s own senate appointment.
The Cuomo invite, as reported by Newsday, is packed with veteran members of the D’Amato ratpack, including such longtime Fonz cronies as health insurance exec Anthony Bonomo and Long Beach homeboy and lawyer Lawrence Elovich. Also on the list is bigtime Fonz Fan Charles Gargano, the ex-economic development czar whose office was a steady target of investigations throughout the Pataki era.
Making the checks-for-cocktails event even cozier for D’Amato’s chums, the party will be held at the 101 Club on Park Avenue in the building owned by D’Amato pal and landlord Peter Kalikow, the real estate big and ex-MTA chairman who was in the driver’s seat when transit union talks went off the tracks in 2005.
Cuomo hardly needs help from this crew to run for reelection as AG. His new campaign committee opened the year with a fat $5.5 million in the bank, and nary a tough opponent on the horizon. But the D’Amato event signals Cuomo’s ability to go one-on-one in the money game against the increasingly embattled Paterson. It also suggests that the would-be governor — should he seek to follow dad Mario (who had his own D’Amato alliance going back in his day) into the statehouse — won’t be running on a Kick-the-Rascals-Out platform. After all, If you’re clinking glasses with usual suspects like D’Amato and Gargano, who exactly are your clean-up targets?