NY Gov. Cuomo’s So-Called Friends Target His Girlfriend Sandra Lee in Fracking Fight

Some of Andy Cuomo’s “friends” have decided they want to politically rough him up a bit because of his support for lifting the ban on hydraulic fracturing. The ever-loving, open-minded and ultra-tolerant left (sarcasm intended) is bringing out the long knives and going after Gov. Cuomo’s live-in girlfriend and Food Network starlet Sandra Lee, in an attempt to pressure Cuomo to re-think lifting the fracking moratorium.

An environmental health group that opposes hydraulic fracturing is demanding that Gov. Andrew Cuomo explain his live-in girlfriend Sandra Lee’s speaking appearance in March before “a conference of petroleum executives.”

The group, Washington-based Food & Water Watch, suggests that Lee, a Food Network celebrity, may have been paid to speak to pro-hydrofracking industry executives as a way of currying favor with her gubernatorial companion.

Lee is exempt from disclosure provisions that would apply if she was married to Cuomo or was a public official in her own right. Thus the identity of the group to which she spoke, and any compensation she was paid, have not been made public.

But Food & Water Watch did some sleuthing on its own, and speculates that she was addressing a meeting of executives from the National Fuel Gas Co., a suburban Buffalo firm that operates a large gas pipeline and storage system in New York and Pennsylvania and sells natural gas directly to consumers. As F&WW notes, it also has an exploration and drilling arm, Seneca Resources, that is heavily invested in the Marcellus shale.*

A copy of the open letter sent by F&WW to Gov. Cuomo (and released to the media) is embedded below.

MDN asks: So what if Sandra Lee was paid to speak to a group of energy executives? She broke no laws. The best that Food & Water Watch can do is try to embarrass Gov. Cuomo, which of course is just what they are attempting to do. With friends like that…

*Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Jul 13, 2011) – Say it ain’t so, Sandra Lee!