A national good government group filed an ethics complaint against Gov. Andrew Cuomo with the New York State Board of Elections over his pandemic memoir on Thursday, arguing that he used campaign funds to promote the book.
The Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C. alleges in a 16-page complaint that Cuomo broke state campaign spending laws to promote the October 2020 release of ‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” through social media and his campaign’s email account.
“The law is clear that you cannot spend campaign funds for your own personal benefit,” said CREW President Noah Bookbinder in a statement.
“Because the money spent on book promotions appears to have been for the exclusive personal benefit of Governor Cuomo, he needs to be investigated.”
It was revealed Wednesday that Cuomo enlisted staffers to help with the writing of his book, and was offered a high of a $4 million advance by Crown Publishing at the time.
Crown has since halted promotion of the novel, in the midst of a federal investigation into the governor’s coronavirus policy concerning nursing homes.
Cuomo has said in the past that he would donate a portion of the book sales to a “coronavirus-related charity,” but has not specifically named a group.
Details pertaining to book payments and any contributions to charitable organizations will be released in the governor’s tax returns, expected to be released in May.
Bookbinder added: “There is no question that the campaign promoted the book. An email blast from the campaign about the book directed supporters to an Amazon page to order it. The bottom of the email clearly states it was “Paid for by Andrew Cuomo for New York, Inc.”
“The law only works when it applies to everyone, regardless of power or party,” said Bookbinder. “Governor Cuomo has operated in several spheres as though rules don’t apply to him. This appears to be another example, and it’s one that must be investigated.”
A representative for Cuomo’s campaign was not available for immediate comment.