Cuomo’s campaign gets $565,000 from taxpayers. And more is on the way.

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ALBANY, New York — Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s campaign account balance has grown for the first time since he left office over two years ago, inching up from $7.7 million to $7.8 million over the past six months.

But the growth isn’t due to a surge in donations for Cuomo, who has been weighing a New York City mayoral run.

Rather, it’s due to a New York law that requires the state to reimburse legal fees for elected officials who have been accused of crimes that don’t result in convictions. The Albany County sheriff’s office brought a misdemeanor charge of forcible touching against Cuomo in 2021, which was tossed after prosecutors concluded the complaint was defective.

Cuomo received a $565,000 check from the state comptroller’s office last week, thanks to the law.

That likely won’t be the end of the money the ex-governor receives from the state.

According his campaign finance reports Tuesday, Cuomo paid $300,000 to law firm Holwell Shuster & Goldberg since July. That brings the total he has spent on legal fees to $6.9 million since the Assembly started impeachment proceedings in 2021.

The money, which has gone to a wide variety of investigations on allegations that include sexual misconduct and the misuse of state resources to write his pandemic memoir, won’t all be reimbursable. Still, Cuomo’s campaign is expected to get back several million dollars from the state as they work out the details with the comptroller’s office.

Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said the responsibility for the spending rests on Attorney General Tish James, whose report accusing the former governor of sexual misconduct led to his resignation in August 2021 and the Albany charges. Cuomo has denied wrongdoing.

“Remember it was Tish James and her zeal to strike the ‘a’ from her ‘Aspiring Governor’ title that ended up costing taxpayer’s tens of millions of dollars at the end of the day,” Azzopardi said. “She produced a sham political report and a failed campaign for governor, and it’s unfortunate that taxpayers are flipping the bill for her abuse of power.”

The attorney general’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The state law in question gained widespread prominence after former Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno was acquitted of federal corruption charges in 2014. That led to taxpayers reimbursing $2.4 million to the campaign account of the long-retired Bruno.

Senate Deputy Leader Mike Gianaris has since sponsored a bill that would ban this sort of reimbursement, but it has not passed the Legislature.

“Whether it was Joe Bruno or Andrew Cuomo, it’s wrong for taxpayers to reimburse political committees for personal legal defense,” Gianaris said. “The law needs to change to prohibit that.”

Although Cuomo has not actively been fundraising, some of his remaining supporters continued to donate. A total of 35 contributors gave him a combined total of $6,000.