Common Cause New York

Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to use campaign funds to pay the salary of PR man Rich Azzopardi violates the state’s election laws, according to Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.

Her group, with the League of Women Voters, NY Public Interest Research Group and Reinvent Albany, want the New York State Board of Elections to investigate whether paying Azzopardi is an appropriate use of campaign funds.

They contend contributors to Cuomo’s $18M campaign fund intended the money to be used for his political campaign, not for his personal spokesperson.

Azzopardi, who joined Cuomo’s staff in 2012, told the New York Daily News that it is “permissible” for him to serve as Cuomo’s spokesperson on matters related to questions concerning legal reviews and about his time in office.

He allegedly played a part in a smear campaign targeting Cuomo’s political opponents and sexual harassment victims, according to the report compiled by attorney general Letitia James.