ActBlue Has Not Cut Ties With Cuomo Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Outgoing New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D.) / Getty Images
August 3, 2021

Democratic fundraising behemoth ActBlue has not cut ties with New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who has an active fundraising page on ActBlue even after law enforcement officials say he sexually harassed at least 11 women, in violation of both state and federal law.

Cuomo's ActBlue fundraising page has remained active since sexual harassment accusations were first made against him in December 2020. It remained up as of Tuesday afternoon, even after New York's Democratic attorney general Letitia James laid out accusations from 11 current and former state employees, including 1 aide who says Cuomo groped her breasts while they were alone in the governor's mansion. Cuomo has remained a prolific fundraiser during the span, raising $2.5 million for his reelection in the first half of 2021.

The decision to keep Cuomo active on the platform defies precedent it set last August when it kicked off Aaron Coleman, a 20-year-old Kansas state representative who in middle school circulated revenge porn of an ex-girlfriend. The inaction of ActBlue, which is used by virtually every Democratic candidate in the country, indicates uneven standards for sexual harassment.

The action against Coleman drew criticism from some on the left, such as The Intercept's Ryan Grim, who argued that the powerful fundraising apparatus has a "life or death power over a campaign." Coleman was told by ActBlue that he was permanently banned from the platform because he was "out of alignment with ActBlue's mission."

These same standards have not been applied to Cuomo, who now stands accused by 11 women that New York investigators found to be credible. The investigation, led by a member of Cuomo's own party, was able to find corroborating evidence for each of the 11 accusations.

The fundraising platform has similarly failed to hold other Democratic politicians to the standards it laid out when banning Coleman. ActBlue maintains an active fundraising page, for example, for New York state senator Luis Sepulveda, who was arrested this January for strangling his wife. The actions led to consequences from his Democratic colleagues, who stripped him of his committee positions, but he has maintained his fundraising capabilities.

Also still active on the fundraising platform are Democratic Minnesota state representative John Thompson, who faces calls to resign for allegedly choking his girlfriend and exposing his genitals to a woman while children were present, and disgraced former Minnesota senator Al Franken, who resigned in 2018 after after at least six women accused him of groping or inappropriately touching them. Franken raised $213,116 through ActBlue in the first half of 2021, according to campaign filings for his leadership PAC.

ActBlue did not respond to requests for comment on Cuomo.