The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has ordered disgraced Dem. Governor Andrew Cuomo to fork over the $5.1 million book advance that he received at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The funds must be sent to NY Attorney General Letitia James.
“It is ordered that by no later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, Governor Cuomo must pay over to the attorney general of the State of NY an equal amount to the compensation that was paid to him for his outside activities in relation to the book,” the resolution read.
There are some possible complications: Cuomo has placed $1 million in proceeds that he received from his book into a blind trust for his three daughters. He also donated about $500,000 to the United Way in the Capital Region. And Cuomo’s income tax returns that were made available to the public this past April has shown that he hasn’t yet received all of the $5.1 million that was part of the contract he had with his publisher.
The ethics commission earlier in 2020 moved to rescind what had been a staff approval in 2020 for Cuomo to write his book, which had been predicated on Gov. Cuomo not using any government resources to write it.
A report published last month by the Dem-led Assembly Judiciary Committee discovered Cuomo used state resources to help him write his book. Gov. Cuomo and his aides have maintained staff and government officials who worked on Cuomo’s book did so on a volunteer basis, while comparing it to legislative aides having to work off hours and on weekends on political campaigns.
Jim McGuire, Cuomo’s attorney, is pushing back on the 12-1 ruling.
“The actions that JCOPE has taken today exceed its own authority, are unconstitutional and seem to be driven by political interests instead of the law and the facts. Should they attempt to enforce this action, we will see them in court,” McGuire said in a statement.
Cuomo announced his book deal during the same time he was placing infected virus patients into nursing homes, which resulted in thousands of deaths. His office then undercounted the nursing home deaths and covered up any accurate numbers.
Author: Scott Dowdy