Casino interests in Albany spent $11 million in lobbying and political donations in 2012 and 2013, but the real figure may be much higher. The $6.7 million in lobbying and $4.3 million in campaign contributions were tallied in a report issued by NYPIRG today (see below), which points out that state law does not require lobbying expenditures to be disclosed for municipalities that have populations under 50,000. "As this analysis reveals, 15 of the 16 municipalities that are the proposed host sites for casinos have populations that fall under the 50,000 resident threshold," the report reads.

State law also prohibits corporations from donating more than $5,000 a year to political candidates and committees, but that law doesn't apply to LLCs, which is why NYPIRG needed help from Laura Nahmias at Captial to identify the "vaguely-named holdings" who are shoveling casino cash into public servants' coffers.

Governor Cuomo promised to close that LLC loophole in the past, and the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption has recommended that lawmakers to eliminate it. But Cuomo has taken $6.2 million from LLCs since taking office, and that Moreland Commission? “It’s my commission. My subpoena power, my Moreland Commission. I can appoint it, I can disband it...I can’t 'interfere' with it, because it is mine. It is controlled by me.”

Cuomo received $55,000 from casino interests in 2012 and 2013, while Attorney General Eric Schneiderman received $66,000. State Democratic interests received around $277,000 from casino bidders, while Republican interests got $191,000.

Genting, the company that owns and operates the Resorts World Casino, outspent all the other casino interests on lobbying, with nearly $2.5 million in two years. The New York Gaming Commission spent $1.6 million.

Casino lobbying was supposed to be illegal, the report notes, until "this provision was quietly removed soon before the final version of the bill was voted on….The change was made so hastily that some language referencing the nonexistent ban remained in the version that passed."

NYPIRG Casino Money