Governor Andrew Cuomo held a major birthday fundraiser in Midtown Tuesday featuring Billy Joel, a party that came one day after a report commissioned by Cuomo criticized the influence of money in politics. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
New York's own Billy Joel is the headliner for Governor Andrew Cuomo's 56th birthday bash fundraiser.
The concert is at the Roseland Ballroom. When asked about it Tuesday, the piano man kept it simple.
"Well, he's a friend, so I wanted to help him out," Joel said. "It's his birthday."
Cuomo was more emotive.
"He's always been there for New York, and he's a friend, and he's a buddy, and I enjoy being with him, so it'll be good," he said.
The fundraiser comes just one day after the Cuomo-appointed Moreland Commission issued a 100-page report lambasting the influence of money in New York politics.
Advocates seized on the findings as evidence that the state should adopt a system of publicly financed campaigns. It's something the governor supported, but failed to get through the legislature.
"I think in the end, the governor has got to follow through what was one of his key issues in running for election and coming to office, and I'm confident he will," said Lawrence Norden of the Brennan Center for Justice.
Cuomo did not sound eager to revive the debate over public financing in Albany again next year. There was even dissent within the Moreland Commission.
"There was a dissent, and there is political division on the question of public finance. That's true," Cuomo said. "But there are a lot of other elements of the report where there was no dissent and there was no division."
The Moreland Commission report also concluded that there needs to be a new enforcement entity beyond the Board of Elections to enforce existing campaign finance laws. It also recommended tighter controls on campaign contributions. Cuomo said that he doesn't think it's breaking news that the report found that money has a corrupting influence in politics, but now, it's up to the legislature to craft a bill to address it.