ALBANY – State Senator George Borrello, member of the Senate Aging Committee, lauded the decision by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) to revoke its July 2020 approval of former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $5.1 million book deal.
The 12-1 vote of the resolution rescinding the approval cited several of Cuomo’s misrepresentations in his request for approval, including the subject matter of the book, the use of state resources and staff, and the financial terms of the deal.
Senator Borrello said:
"As numerous investigations into Andrew Cuomo’s corrupt practices continue, the decision by JCOPE to revoke its earlier approval of the former Governor’s lucrative book deal is a step towards righting their past mistakes and bringing accountability to one of Cuomo’s many ethical abuses.
“Many aspects of the book deal demand further investigation, including the role the deal may have played in encouraging the coverup of accurate data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in state nursing homes. The truth would have undercut the Governor’s COVID ‘hero’ narrative, which was the central theme of the book. I, along with Aging Committee Ranking Member Senator Sue Serino, pushed for the committee to subpoena the former Health Commissioner to get answers on the data coverup and any possible connection to the book deal. While they rejected our request, our call for an investigation on this issue stands.
“The former Governor’s deception around the book deal also underscores the need for the legislation that I sponsor that would prohibit statewide elected officials from writing and selling books while serving in public office. Cuomo exploited ethical loopholes surrounding the publishing and promotion of his book and then brazenly ignored even the most basic requirements, such as not using state staff or resources in its writing or editing. The glaring conflicts of interest in this case should be addressed by prohibiting elected officials from engaging in these types of deals. Period.
“As this book deal remains the subject of investigations by the state attorney general and federal authorities, I am confident that more revelations will be forthcoming, which will add to the urgency to make permanent changes in our ethics law. The type of corruption that tainted state government under Andrew Cuomo must not happen again.”