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Politics: Andrew Cuomo signs bill funding his impeachment investigation

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill passed by the Democratic-led New York state Legislature funding the Assembly's ongoing impeachment investigation into the governor—including funding for any eventual trial that may result.

Andrew Cuomo wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Washington Examiner

The measure, which was sponsored by Speaker Carl Heastie in the New York Assembly and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in the state's Senate, was signed by Cuomo on Friday. The bill, originally introduced as bill no. A08037 in the Assembly and unanimously voted out of the chamber's Ways and Means Committee, was replaced by Senate Bill S7237, which passed in a 63-0 vote in the Senate on Thursday.

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"We voted in favor because you know what, now there’s no excuses for Senate and Assembly Democrats, you want to impeach him: You can, you have the funding, you certainly have all the evidence," state Sen. Minority Leader Rob Ortt, a Republican, said after the vote.

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The approved legislation fully funds the investigation, which has been underway since March, as well as any eventual trial that may result from it.

"This will allow expenses related to investigations conducted by the Legislature to be covered under this existing appropriation. Expenses incurred by the governor and attorney general are already accommodated in the enacted budget," Mike Wyland, a spokesman for Heastie, told the Times Union.

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The Assembly's Judiciary Committee, which is leading the lower chamber's investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, hired Davis Polk & Wardwell in March to look into the accusations, a move that was condemned by some of the governor's accusers.

"We were alarmed to learn that Speaker Heastie has hired Davis Polk to assist with the investigation, given the connection between Dennis Glazer, who spent more than 30 years as a partner at Davis Polk, and the governor," Debra Katz, the attorney for Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "This is an unacceptable conflict of interest."

Katz said the alleged connection between Dennis Glazer, who spent 31 years as a partner at Davis Polk, and the governor, who has denied claims of inappropriate touching, gave Bennett "pause" and called into question the legitimacy of the entire investigation.

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"We already know the extent to which Gov. Cuomo has surrounded himself with people in the Executive Chamber who enabled his behavior and swept evidence of sexual harassment under the rug," she continued. "If there is even a hint of political influence in the impeachment investigation, it will taint the entire proceedings."

Katz noted that Glazer has received appointments from Cuomo, including to the board of the State University of New York at Purchase and New York's casino siting board, and Glazer's wife, state Court of Appeals Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, would serve in a state Senate trial if Cuomo were impeached.

Heastie praised the law firm, saying Davis Polk had "the experience, independence and resources needed to handle this important investigation in a thorough and expeditious manner."

Attorney General Letitia James is conducting a separate investigation into the women's claims of sexual harassment. Katz praised James's appointments of Joon Kim and Anne Clark to lead the state's investigation as "very impressive hires" who have "a wealth of experience and independence."

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Cuomo, whose administration authorized James's investigation via a referral letter from gubernatorial counsel Beth Garvey, urged people to be patient and wait for the outcome of the attorney general's investigation.

"Let's do the attorney general's investigation, let's get the findings, and then let's go from there," he said in a conference call in early March while vowing not to resign.

The scope of James's investigation was broadened last month to look into claims that a top adviser tied counties' COVID-19 vaccine access to support for the governor, which Garvey said "malign[ed] a decadeslong public servant."

Cuomo faces other scandals regarding his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The governor has been accused of directing state health officials to give special COVID-19 testing access to members of his inner circle, including his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo. Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, denied those claims as "insincere efforts to rewrite the past" in an email to the Washington Examiner.

Cuomo is also under federal investigation for his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Media reports about the existence of a federal investigation were published in February after Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide, acknowledged the governor's office hid the state's nursing home coronavirus death toll out of fear of political retribution from then-President Donald Trump.

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On May 28, the Times Union reported Cuomo's office denied three Freedom of Information Law requests submitted by the Albany publication, which sought records about the governor's recent book deal.

The potential use of state resources in the promotion of American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic, which is set to rake in $5 million for the governor, has also attracted scrutiny from elected officials. In April, James received a referral to conduct a criminal investigation into Cuomo's use of state resources to promote the book after a March 31 ethics complaint from a liberal watchdog group sought an inquiry into whether he violated a law prohibiting "the use of campaign funds for personal use." State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli authorized James to examine "any indictable offense or offenses," including "the drafting, editing, sale and promotion of the governor’s book and any related financial or business transactions."

Cuomo insisted that members of his staff volunteered to help with the book, though his office acknowledged there might be some "incidental" use of state resources, according to the New York Times.

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Despite mounting pressure from within his party to resign, Cuomo, who is eligible to seek a fourth term in office in 2022, has repeatedly vowed not to step down, saying the allegations of impropriety against him are false.

Representatives for Heastie, Stewart-Cousins, and New York Senate Democrats did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's requests for comment.

Tags: News, Andrew Cuomo, Impeachment, Governor, New York, Sexual Harassment, Scandal

Original Author: Carly Roman

Original Location: Andrew Cuomo signs bill funding his impeachment investigation

‘Not competent’: Cuomo slams de Blasio, praises Adams and says NYC ready for new mayor .
The embattled governor held nothing back Wednesday as he weighed in on the mayoral primary and did little to disguise his true feelings for Mayor de Blasio. “It’s hard for me to work with an administration that is hyper-political and is not competent,” he said during a press briefing at his Manhattan office the morning after voters went to the polls to pick de Blasio’s likely successor. “And it’s hard to do that for a prolonged period of time. And I believe that’s what happened with New York City.“We need to get things done. We need results. And I need a competent partner in local government,” he added.

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