ActBlue Kicks Cuomo Off Platform

Former New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D.) / Getty Images
August 5, 2021

Democratic fundraising behemoth ActBlue removed New York's Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo from its platform on Thursday following a scathing report from the state's attorney general detailing sexual harassment of 11 state employees, according to an Axios report.

The decision by ActBlue, used universally by Democratic candidates across the country, came two days after a Washington Free Beacon report on the precedent set by the platform when it removed a Kansas state representative from the platform last summer. Cuomo, who has been New York's governor for the past decade and was just last year viewed as a presidential contender, is the highest-profile politician ever to be removed from the fundraising platform.

ActBlue has not said what exactly led to the governor's removal. It did not respond to a request for comment.

The decision could have significant reverberations in Democratic politics. ActBlue has become a necessity for Democratic campaigns and has a monopoly over grassroots funding on the left. The platform has resisted calls to remove scandal-plagued Democrats in the past—former senator Al Franken, for example, remains on the platform even after resigning for sexual misconduct. Cuomo's removal sets a new standard for the platform to remove problematic candidates in the future.

Cuomo's removal is a major blow to his fundraising ability and could lead to the end of his political career. The three-term governor faces impeachment from the state legislature, and calls for him to resign from party leaders, including President Joe Biden.

The decision by ActBlue has yet to be replicated by other cogs of the Democratic Party’s infrastructure. A review of Cuomo's donation page reveals the use of technology from NGP VAN, the massive data firm that maintains the Democratic Party's coveted voter information file. Cuomo, who according to campaign finance disclosures has paid NGP VAN more than $12,000 this year, appears to maintain the firm as a vendor.

NGP VAN did not respond to a request for comment.

Liberal activists are urging the data firm to follow suit. "Will @NGPVAN keep Cuomo off their fundraising tool?" wrote Melissa Byrne, a former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer, after the news of ActBlue's decision was reported.

Top liberal public relations firm Global Strategy Group, which received $155,000 from Cuomo, also did not respond to multiple requests for comment about its ongoing relationship with Cuomo. The firm counts several Democratic organizations, including both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, as clients.