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Money In Politics:

Kathy Hochul’s largest donors

Published August 23, 2021

Gov. Kathy Hochul is no slouch when it comes to fundraising. The last time she ran for lieutenant governor, when she was challenged in 2018 by Jumaane Williams, she raised $4.4 million. Investigative Post looked at her fundraising from January 2017 to the most recent filing earlier this month to get a sense of her financial base of support. We tallied donations of $5,000 or more, meaning the big donors listed below might have given more than the totals listed if they made smaller donations, as well. Ken Kruly, Investigative Post researcher and publisher of Politics and Other Stuff, reviewed her  campaign finances.


For more political coverage, check out Campaign Notes.

Hochul's major donors

Donor City Amount
NYS Laborers PAC Albany $43,700
Lucy Waletzky Pleasantville ,NY $42,600
Transport Workers Union Brooklyn/Washington DC $42,100
Drive Committee Washington, DC $41,700
New Yorkers for Putting Students First NYC $41,100
Civil Service Employees Political Action Fund Albany $41,000
Empire Dental PAC Albany $40,000
International Union of Operating Engineers Flushing , NY/Long Island City, NY $40,000
Richard Ostroff Loudonville, NY $40,000
Altice USA NY PAC Bethpage NY/Long Island City/NYC $36,000
International Union of Painters Hanover, MD $36,000
Marie Mckellar Dobbs Ferry, NY $33,500
RPAC of NYS Albany $32,500
Greater Public Schools PAC NYC $32,500
CWA District One PAC NYC $32,000
NYSPT PAC Glens Falls, NY $31,100
Deidre Quinn Brooklyn/Miami Beach, FL $31,000
Mason Tenders District Council PAC NYC $31,000
John Courtney St. Petersburg, FL $31,000
BW PAC Albany $30,000
Laborers Local No. 91 Niagara Falls $30,000
Ernest Keet NYC/Saratoga Springs, NY $30,000
Daniel Wegman Rochester $30,000
NY Health Care PAC Rockville Centre, NY $29,500
Real Estate Board PAC NYC $26,100
Doug Jemal/Douglas Development Buffalo, Washington, DC $26,000
Jerry Weiss Albany $25,000
Francis Letro Buffalo $25,000
Samuel Savarino Buffalo $25,000
Barclay Damon Syracuse $25,000
Morgan Mcdole Buffalo $22,600
345 Park Avenue LP NYC $22,600
Diane Roesch NYC $22,600
Rella Fogliano Pelham, NY $22,600
Greater NY Auto Dealers Association PAC Whitestone, NY $22,600
NYC Council of Carpenters PAC NYC $22,500
Gai PAC Ozone Park, NY/S. Ozone Park, NY $22,500
Leslie Zemsky Buffalo $21,100
Anheuser-Busch Columbus, OH $21,000
Building for New Yorkers PAC Merrick, NY $21,000
Andrew Cuomo 2018 NYC $21,000
NNE Partners LLC NYC $21,000
NYC District Council of Carpenters PAC NYC $21,000
Retail Wholesale & Dept. Store Union NYC $21,000
State Street Associates PAC Albany $20,000
Phillips Lytle Buffalo $20,000
Russell Maxwell Buffalo/Fayetteville $20,000
Deborah Rechler Glen Head, NY $20,000
Eugene Vukelic Lancaster/Williamsville $20,000
Lester Petracca Manhasset, NY $20,000
Building & Construction Trades PAC NYC $20,000
John Petry NYC $20,000
Local 94 IUOE PAC NYC $20,000
Macandrews & Forbes Group NYC $20,000
Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association NYC $20,000
William Lauder NYC $20,000
Comcast of IL/IN/OH Philadelphia, PA $20,000
IBEW New York PAC Washington, DC $20,000
Triangle Plaza LLC Whitestone, NY $20,000


Source: State Board of Elections.

Talking Points

  • Hochul raised $4,363,061 for the period we reviewed and spent $2.3 million.
  • She raised $98,194 between mid-July and mid-August 2021, which includes the period when it became apparent she would become governor.  Her campaign account currently has a balance of $1,756,889.
  • Hochul did well with large donors during the period we reviewed. She received 1,066 contributions of $1,000 or more. Of those, 354 donations were $5,000 or greater.
  • Fifty-eight donors gave a total of $20,000 or more; another 54 gave a total of at least $10,000.
  • Hochul’s largest individual contributor was Lucy Waletzky, a fourth-generation Rockefeller, philanthropist and environmentalist. She gave $42,600.
  • Another famous name among her donors was William Lauder, CEO of the Estee Lauder cosmetics company. He gave $20,000.
  • Hochul received $22,600 from Morgan McDole, a Syracuse firefighter who also gave Andrew Cuomo $37,500. McDole is lobbying state officials to fix a glitch in his retirement paperwork that will boost his pension.
  • The large contributions came from a wide variety of sources including local, state and national unions; major business leaders and attorneys; and lobbyists.
  • Eight of the 58 donors who gave at least $20,000 are from Western New York. The largest of them are Laborers Local No. 91, attorney Francis Letro and developers Douglas Jemal and Samuel Savarino.
  • Hochul’s father, John Courtney — Jack to family and friends — is the former CEO of Computer Task Group, now retired in Florida. He donated $31,000.
  • Notable donors who contributed $5,000 each include the campaign committees of Brian Higgins, Anthony Masiello and Jeremy Zellner.
  • Friends of India Walton, the committee of the Democratic candidate for mayor of Buffalo, donated $250 on Aug. 11.



Ken Kruly and Geoff Kelly discuss Hochul’s fundraising prowess and her prospects for election in 2022, as well as other notable races this fall: Erie County sheriff and comptroller, Buffalo mayor and Hamburg town supervisor.

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