Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s book deal now looks like sufficient reason to impeach him, all by itself.
It’s now clear that top aides Melissa DeRosa and Stephanie Benton plus other staff assisted Cuomo with drafts of “American Crisis” despite an ethics ruling that cleared the deal only if he didn’t use state resources to write it. That makes it a plain violation of state law.
The book deal reportedly netted the gov a cool $4 million, even though his 2014 memoir, “All Things Possible,” sold fewer than 4,000 hardcover copies.
Cuomo flak catcher Rich Azzopardi claims that staffers acted voluntarily in helping the gov. Yet no one thinks that anyone in Cuomo World dares to tell the boss “no.”
Plus, DeRosa was helping to edit early drafts and attending video meetings with publishers even as she and other top aides were working to censor the then-pending Health Department report about the virus’ toll on nursing homes by deleting the full death toll. In other words, they were using their official power to protect not just the gov’s image, but his $4 million payment for a project they were intimately involved in.
As Mayor Bill de Blasio put it, the gov’s team “covered up the truth about the nursing home scandal . . . to benefit himself financially and politically.”
Plus, the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility in Washington, a government-ethics watchdog group, has filed a complaint with the state Board of Elections suggesting that campaign funds also went to promoting the book that brought Cuomo significant personal income, another legal no-no.
A full investigation is clearly in order, though at this point the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee already has multiple impeachment-worthy Cuomo activities on its plate. It shouldn’t need to investigate all of them before it reports on any of them.
Clear proof of a single crime should be enough to move rapidly to get Cuomo out of office, before he can again betray the people of New York for his own selfish ends.