Cuomo Accused of Illegally Using Campaign to Promote Book
(Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was hit with a state ethics complaint by a watchdog group over the role of his campaign organization in promoting his recent book, a claim that the state Assembly said it would investigate as part of an expanded impeachment probe of the embattled Democrat.
The book about Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic crisis, released in October, was promoted by his campaign committee on social media and in emails sent to supporters, which included a link to the book on Amazon, according to a complaint filed Thursday with the enforcement division of the New York State Board of Elections by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
The nonprofit, known as CREW, asked the state to open a probe into Cuomo’s actions and impose “appropriate” sanctions.
“The law is clear that you cannot spend campaign funds for your own personal benefit,” Noah Bookbinder, CREW’s president, said in a statement. “Because the money spent on book promotions appears to have been for the exclusive personal benefit of Governor Cuomo, he needs to be investigated.”
CREW’s board of directors includes Zephyr Teachout, who ran unsuccessfully against Cuomo for the 2014 Democratic Party nomination for governor.
Cuomo is already facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct as accusations he under-counted coronavirus deaths at nursing homes around the state, both of which are being investigated by state or federal authorities.
The three-term governor is also facing an impeachment inquiry headed by the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. On Thursday, the committee said it will look into the allegations that Cuomo misused his campaign and his office in relation to the book, in addition to issues related to sexual harassment, the nursing homes, and bridge safety, according to the judiciary committee’s chairman Charles Lavine.
Lavine said Thursday the committee had set up a hotline for members of the public to provide information relevant to the Assembly’s investigation into the governor’s conduct.
Elkan Abramowitz, Cuomo’s defense attorney and a one-time federal prosecutor, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A spokesman for the Cuomo administration referred comment to Cuomo’s campaign, which didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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