Cuomo To Form Federal PAC, Still Rules Out Presidential Run
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Gov. Mario Cuomo said Thursday that he would form a national political action committee despite having announced he would not seek the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.
The governor said the PAC was not meant to boost his national standing, but to help New York Democrats stage public forums where prospective Democratic president candidates could discuss issues.
″You just have to pay for the activity,″ said Cuomo.
Former Cuomo aide Michael Del Giudice, who is setting up the PAC, said money from the fund might also be used to pay for political trips by the governor to help candidates in other states. And Cuomo PAC money might be used to help finance U.S. House and Senate races, said Del Giudice.
The PAC will raise about $200,000, said DelGiudice.
″It’s not a campaign fund,″ said state party Chairman Laurence Kirwan. ″It will simply be used to cover some expenses and do it without any possible violation of federal law.″
Under federal election rules, such a PAC can make a $5,000 cash contribution to a candidate.
While Cuomo has taken himself out of the race for the 1988 Democratic nomination, he has refused to rule out the possibility of getting back in the fray if the primaries failed to produce a nominee.
The PAC probably will be ready in about two weeks and might be called The Empire Committee, said Del Giudice, a Wall Street investment banker. New York is known as the Empire State.
The committee also could be used to pay for Cuomo’s out-of-state travel for some speaking engagements and to help finance some U.S. House and Senate races, he said.
″This is total non-Cuomo candidacy,″ said Del Giudice. ″The governor is not running.″
Kirwan said the amount of money the PAC planned to raise was ″not at all significant compared to the amount raised in New York in a year.″
New York City Mayor Edward Koch has suggested that Cuomo run in the New York presidential primary next year as a favorite son candidate. The governor has also refused to rule out such a race.
A Cuomo favorite son strategy would unite the New York delegation at the national convention and increase the state’s influence in selecting the nominee, Koch said. New York has the second largest convention delegation, after California.
Such a stratgey also would make it easier for Cuomo to step into the race at the last minute, Koch has said.
Cuomo’s New York state campaign fund has a balance of about $4 million. Aides have said that some of that money could be used if Cuomo decided to seek national office.
David Garth, the New York political media consultant and sometime Cuomo adviser, said recently the New York governor should not be counted out of the presidential race.
Garth, professing no inside knowledge about the governor’s thinking, said that if Cuomo wanted to get back into the primaries, he could do so as late as November.