ALBANY — After it was revealed that Governor Andrew Cuomo is making more than $5 million off his memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic,” New York State Republicans are strengthening their push to restrict some public officials from writing and profiting off book deals while in office.
“Did this book deal influence the withholding and the manipulation of data when it came to our nursing home deaths?” said State Senator and bill sponsor George Borrello during a press conference on Wednesday.
An Assembly Judiciary Committee Impeachment Investigation is looking into whether the Governor used state resources to produce the book, among other issues. The Governor has maintained that any staff who contributed to the book “volunteered.”
Matching legislation in the Assembly and Senate would block statewide elected officials, or officials appointed by the Governor, to sell or receive compensation for writing a book or other published work while in office.
Republicans say it’s not just about the Governor’s book, but also about reforming ethics and good public policy.
“If they want to write and sell a book, God bless, they can do it, and they can profit from it after their term of public service but not during,” said Assemblyman Kevin Byrne.
While there are not yet any Democrats co-sponsoring the legislation, Assemblyman Byrne says he has had conversations about it with members of the Majority.
New York GOP Chair Nick Langworthy is also calling for the full “American Crisis” book contract to be released, “so the public can see the full details, including all timelines, benchmarks, and stipulations.”
The Governor received about $3 million last year for the book. Out of his net income of $1,537,508 on it, he donated half-a-million dollars to the United Way. The rest went into a trust for his daughters. He’s supposed to receive another $2 million from it over the next two years.
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