The New York state legislature was moving to impeach Andrew Cuomo before he stepped down as as governor last August, days after state Attorney General Letitia James released a bombshell report about the political scion’s sexual misconduct. Cuomo’s resignation may have led the state Assembly Judiciary Committee to suspend its impeachment investigation, but it didn’t stop the committee from releasing a damning report on Monday indicating that Cuomo very much deserved to be impeached. He probably deserved to be impeached a few times, to be honest.
The report covers a lot of ground. It lent credence to the attorney general’s report about Cuomo’s sexual misconduct, concluding that there is “overwhelming evidence that the former Governor engaged in sexual harassment.” It found Cuomo was “not fully transparent” about the number of nursing home residents who died from Covid-19. It also found that Cuomo was forcing his staff to work on his own lucrative, and increasingly comical, book about how well he handled the Covid crisis. Ironically, staffers working on the book complained it was cutting into time that could be used … handling the Covid crisis.
“[A] senior state official complained in a text message to a colleague that work on the Book was compromising the official’s ability to work on COVID-related matters,” the report reads.
In the summer of 2020, Cuomo landed a lucrative deal to write about how he shepherded New York through the Covid crisis. The governor was soon beset by scandals, including reports that his office fudged the numbers about Covid-related nursing home deaths just as he was beginning to write his book, titled American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The impeachment report released Monday concludes that the former governor “utilized the time of multiple state employees, as well as his own, to further his personal gain during a global pandemic a time during which the former Governor touted the ‘around-the-clock’ state response to the crisis.”
Senior state officials worked “extensively” on the book, according to the report. This work included meeting with publishers and agents, transcribing and drafting portions of the book, coordinating how the book would be promoted, and more. This was all done during “normal work hours” as part of the “regular course of work in the Executive Chamber.” Working on the book was “not voluntary,” according to one senior official, who was a different senior official than the one who complained the book was sucking up time they could have been spending actually addressing the Covid crisis.
Cuomo even lied about how much money he was raking in from the book, according to the report, by trying to “downplay the extent of his earnings.” Cuomo claimed that his income from the book would primarily come from sales, but his contract guaranteed him $5.2 million in advances, with additional sales-related payments coming on top of that sum.
American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic sold 48,000 copies, according to tax records released in May. His previous book, a 2014 memoir titled All Things Possible: Setbacks and Successes in Politics and Life, sold just 3,800 copies.