Targeting Cuomo, Republicans seek to ban sale of books by state officials

NEW YORK NOW – Republicans in the state legislature seek to ban New York state officials from publishing books during their tenure after it was revealed this week that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to earn $ 5.1 million dollars thanks to his memoirs on the pandemic.

They hope to approve legislation this would prevent elected state officials and those appointed by the governor from generating income from any published work.

Republicans at the State Capitol on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 Credit: New York NOW

Assembly Member Kevin Byrne, a Republican from the Hudson Valley who sponsors the bill, said the legislation would prevent situations in which an official’s book could influence his decisions on the policy of the bill. ‘State.

“This is really an ethics reform bill,” Byrne said. “It’s about fighting corruption.”

Richard Azzopardi, senior advisor to Cuomo, called the legislation a “political press stunt” in a statement.

“Purely political self-interested press stunts are nothing new to these Republican politicians,” Azzopardi said.

Cuomo has been accused of choosing not to disclose data on the actual number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes last year to prevent sales of his pandemic-related memoir, “American Crisis” , to tumble amid the news.

It was revealed this week that Cuomo expected to earn a total of $ 5.1 million before taxes and expenses thanks to a contract on the book, which was published last October.

The Cuomo administration chose not to publicly disclose the number of nursing home residents who died in hospitals until early this year, instead adding those cases to the total number of deaths outside nursing homes. .

That changed at the end of January, when it was revealed that thousands more nursing home residents have died from the virus than previously reported by the state.

Cuomo denied that his book influenced decisions made by his administration during the pandemic, saying the timing of his memoir was purely coincidental and that his office wanted to verify the nursing home date before it was published.

At the start of the pandemic, the state did not consider data received from nursing homes to be reliable and wanted to review it before it was released to the public, Cuomo said.

But Senator George Borrello, a Republican from western New York who is sponsoring the bill, said these issues could be avoided in the future if the state’s elected officials do not have the opportunity to generate revenues. income from something they posted.

“We can’t have elected officials from all over the state on their experience while this is still going on,” Borrello said.

A handful of Republicans have signed the bill in the Senate and Assembly, but it won’t budge without the support of Democrats, who control both houses.

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