The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics has revoked its conditional approval of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo book deal for 2020’s “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
JCOPE voted 12-1 on Tuesday to rescind their earlier decision granting approval. The lone dissenter from the commission was William P. Fisher, who was appointed by the governor in Jan. 2019.
In the resolution, the commission explained that an original condition of approval was that no state personnel or other resources could be used for “activities associated with the book,” however the commission said in JSCOPE Resolution 21-03 that, “State property, resources and personnel, including staff volunteers, were used in connection with the preparation, writing, editing and publication of the Book.”
A spokesperson for Cuomo — Rich Azzopardi — told the New York Daily News that the commission members were, “acting outside the scope of their authority and are carrying the water of the politicians who appointed them.”
Azzopardi also said staffers had helped on Cuomo’s 2020 book as volunteers, a claim the former governor himself previously made.
“Our counsel’s request to JCOPE was clear, saying ‘no government resources’ would be used — consistent with that representation, people who volunteered on this project did so on their own time,” he told the publication. “Furthermore, the governor cannot be held responsible for internal decisions over recusals and approvals made by JCOPE.”
According to NBC News New York, Cuomo made $1.5 million from the book. He donated half a million to the United Way, and the rest was put into trusts for his daughters.
At the JSCOPE’s Tuesday meeting, the members also said in its resolution that it had originally conditionally approved the book as it was described as a continuation of Cuomo’s last book – “All Things Possible: Setbacks and Successes in Politics and Life” – and not related to his job as Governor. But, in their revocation decision, they noted that the book was “substantially related” to Cuomo’s then job.
The commission also said that financial information and payment terms for the book were kept from them.
As a result of the revocation, Cuomo can now reapply for approval.
Cuomo announced his resignation as Governor in August following allegations of sexual harassment from various parties. He was charged in October with a misdemeanor for groping in Albany, N.Y.
Cuomo has denied the allegations.