New York’s former Gov. Andrew Cuomo immolated his career during a pileup of scandals. Before that, however, he was attracting praise from the mainstream media for his daily briefings during the beginning of the pandemic.
He capitalized on the spotlight by releasing a self-congratulatory memoir, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons… but now he may need to say goodbye to his book profits.
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The state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (J.C.O.P.E.) approved Cuomo’s proposal for the book originally, but now J.C.O.P.E. has revoked Cuomo’s authorization. The commission accused Cuomo of lying in his proposal for the book… and illegally spending state funds on it.
The commission wrote in a resolution on Tuesday, “State property, resources and personnel, including staff volunteers, were used in connection with the preparation, writing, editing and publication of the book.”
Cuomo described the decision as “a political game” in a statement to The New York Times. He claimed that his staff assisted him with the book on their own time, if at all.
Cuomo can still try and reapply for approval, a group of legal experts told the Times.
But this time the commission can deny Cuomo’s application. In that case, it can require Cuomo to turn over all his book profits, which could amount to millions of dollars.
The commission can also require Cuomo to pay an additional fine as punishment.
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J.C.O.P.E. has now tried to revoke Cuomo’s authorization three times. For this reason, the commission has attracted scrutiny from state-level politicians.
State Sen. Liz Krueger told the Times, “In order for it to ever work, first the governor has to step down, you put the right people in place, and then you have to try three times before they get it right?”
Cuomo wrote the book during his administration’s attempt to cover up thousands of needless nursing home deaths.
With the book, Cuomo was boosting his own image during this horrible scandal, according to investigators in the state legislature.
For several months, Cuomo remained silent on the amount of money given to him by his publisher, even while the state was investigating him for allegedly — illegally — diverting taxpayer money toward the book.
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Cuomo’s publisher, Crown Publishing Group, stopped promoting the book even before its release date. The company canceled plans for a paperback because of the investigation, a spokesperson told the Times in an email last year.
The Horn editorial team