New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was set to rake in big bucks for his self-congratulatory book on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, his use of government resources during its writing has an ethics watchdog group crying foul.
Cuomo may have to give up an estimated $5.1 million payday after the Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted 12-1 to Tuesday to withdraw its agreement of his profitable book deal, the Washington Examiner reported. This reverses a 2020 decision to allow it.
The governor, who resigned in disgrace after 11 women accused him of sexual misconduct, had originally agreed to write the “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” without the use of staff and other resources. That apparently was a promise he didn’t intend to keep, according to a resolution written and read by JCOPE Commissioner David McNamara.
“Contrary to the representations made on behalf of Gov. Cuomo and not disclosed to the commission, state property, resources and personnel — including staff volunteers — were used in connection with the preparation, writing, editing and publication of the book,” the resolution reportedly said. It added that Cuomo’s book was full of “serial omissions and misrepresentations …constituting grounds for revocation.”
Moreover, Cuomo pledged that the book would be “unrelated to his job responsibilities so that authorship or the advice or material provided to the [book] could not be viewed as part of his job.” It was sold as a “continuation” of his 2014 memoir but instead heavily centered on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is a work that was developed as part of Governor Cuomo’s job responsibilities and is substantially related to his job responsibilities,” the resolution noted. The only member of the commission to disagree with rescinding permission was William Fisher, whom Cuomo had appointed.
This is the least of Cuomo’s problem with the book deal, however. The FBI, state Assembly Judiciary Committee, Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office, and state Attorney General Letitia James are all investigating it because of the possible use of government resources while penning the book.
Cuomo has experienced a spectacular fall from grace since his time sparring with former President Donald Trump during the pandemic. Without Trump to spin-off of, Cuomo is just another corrupt politician gaming the system — and New Yorkers have had it.