KATHERINE HAMILTON Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who stepped down from his position during a sexual assault investigation, lost approval on Tuesday to publish his 2020 memoir, Politico reported.
A New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics revoked its approval of Cuomo’s book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, and will require him to “reapply for authorization.” Besides being charged with sex crimes, the former governor is accused of covering up thousands of coronavirus deaths during the pandemic — the same time frame featured in his memoir.
“If his application is denied, the board — known by the acronym JCOPE — could attempt to force the former governor to surrender the $5.1 million he was paid for authoring,” according to the report. The commission voted to revoke approval 12-1 with “relatively minimal discussion,” and William Fisher, the only person to vote against it, was appointed by Cuomo.
Cuomo, who is considering running for the New York attorney general post, reportedly said the decision displays “the height of hypocrisy.”
“These JCOPE members are acting outside the scope of their authority and are carrying the water of the politicians who appointed them,” Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said after the vote. “It is the height of hypocrisy for [Gov. Kathy] Hochul and the legislature’s appointees to take this position, given that these elected officials routinely use their own staff for political and personal assistance on their own time.”
According to the report, several state workers allegedly “aided the governor as he authored the memoir.”
“On at least two occasions, junior staff were asked to print pages from the draft at the Capitol then deliver them to the Executive Mansion,” the report states.
The ethics commission has reportedly been trying to revoke its approval since summertime and said the disgraced governor “misrepresented how the book would be written.” Cuomo’s office claims everyone who assisted did so on a volunteer or de minimis basis.
“Our counsel’s request to JCOPE was clear, saying ‘no government resources’ would be used — consistent with that representation, people who volunteered on this project did so on their own time,” Azzopardi said in a statement. The vote “amounts to nothing more than Albany political corruption at its worst,” he said.