Ethics Commission Orders Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to Return Earnings From Pandemic Book Deal

A New York State public ethics commission ordered former Governor Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 14 to return the millions of earnings he received from a book published during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) voted 12 to 1 to approve a resolution to give Cuomo 30 days to pay “an amount equal to the compensation paid to him for his outside activities related to the book” he wrote about leading the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Cuomo’s office in May 2021, his earnings from the book titled, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” were expected to be around $5.1 million.

Jim McGuire, an attorney for Cuomo, said that Cuomo will legally challenge JCOPE’s decision “should they seek to enforce this action.”

“JCOPE’s actions today are unconstitutional, exceed its own authority and appear to be driven by political interests rather than the facts and the law,” McGuire said in a statement.

JCOPE previously voted to approve Cuomo’s book contract in 2020 because Cuomo said in a letter at the time that he would write the book “entirely on his own time, without the use of State resources or personnel.”

JCOPE revoked its approval in November partly due to allegations that Cuomo used state resources to prepare, write, edit, and publish the book.

Attorney General Letitia James’ office is currently conducting a criminal investigation onto the allegations.

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