New York lawmakers warn of Cuomo return

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Queens MP Ron Kim and other state lawmakers want to pursue the impeachment of former Governor Andrew Cuomo, pictured here when his resignation was announced on August 10. Cuomo’s critics believe he could reappear politically. They believe impeachment would prevent that, even though Cuomo resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal. (Photo: Governor.ny.gov)

WINDSOR TERRACE – Andrew Cuomo’s last day as governor was August 23, but some state lawmakers warn New Yorkers may not have seen the last of them and are taking action to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Cuomo on Tuesday August 10 announced his intention to resign amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced on Friday August 12 that the Assembly would stop investigating allegations of sexual harassment. He explained that the agency’s judiciary committee was tasked with determining whether Cuomo should be impeached, and the resignation, Heastie added, made that question moot.

But on Monday, August 16, Heastie backed out and said the investigation would continue.

“They quickly turned the tide, I think, because they took a lot of backlash over the weekend,” said Brian Browne, professor of political science at St. John’s University. “They came out and said ‘we are going to release at least one report on the findings of the investigation.’

Allegations of sexual harassment fueled a bipartisan clamor for impeachment. Cuomo is also coming under scrutiny in a U.S. Attorney’s investigation into reports that he deliberately falsified data to cover about 16,000 nursing home deaths from COVID-19.

Additionally, the New York State Attorney General’s Office is investigating reports that Cuomo used state employees to help develop a memoir manuscript for which Crown Publishing agreed to $ 5.1 million. . The working title was “America’s Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

Prior to the overthrow, Heastie said he was concerned the Judicial Committee’s investigation would interfere with the AG’s investigation, as well as ongoing police investigations into the sexual harassment charges against Cuomo.

After overturning the previous position, Heastie and Assembly Judiciary Speaker Charles Lavine issued a brief joint statement, pledging that the committee “will take all appropriate steps to ensure that this effort does not” not interfere with the various ongoing investigations by the United States Attorney into nursing home data. ; the Attorney General regarding the governor’s briefs; and local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions – Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego – regarding possible criminal incidents of sexual misconduct.

A week later, lawmakers voiced opposing views on whether the impeachment of a former governor was constitutional. Heastie said the question was unclear.

That’s not the case, said MP Ron Kim, whose district includes much of the Diocese of Brooklyn in Queens. Kim has been a vocal critic of Cuomo, particularly of the nursing home fury.

Kim did not respond to The Tablet’s requests for comment. However, he told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto that he, along with Cuomo’s other enemies in the Assembly, believed impeachment was still an option they were bound to pursue.

He said their independent legal assessments “make it clear that we have a mandate and we have the right to pursue impeachment.”

“The withdrawal itself,” he explained, “doesn’t just mean a literal and physical withdrawal of Andrew Cuomo, the man. It means the disqualification and conviction of all the offenses you and I have. spoken, which he committed and defended. “

Therefore, Kim said, “the intention behind the impeachment is to impeach and prohibit an unfit public servant from running for public office again.” This, he added, “protects the integrity of the state government and of the people we have sworn to protect.”

“This is our mandate,” added Kim.

Browne said the state constitution does not contain language specifically allowing for the impeachment of a governor who has resigned. But, he suggested that a ban on an impeached governor from holding public office could eventually be written into the articles of impeachment.

“You saw with Trump,” Browne said of the impeachment efforts against the former president. “It was one of the provisions they had written in it.”

Trump has been impeached twice by the US House of Representatives, though those efforts failed when they reached the Senate.

But, “They were trying to ban him from holding federal office again,” the professor said.

Legislation announced earlier this month would bar Cuomo from accessing his campaign funds if he attempted to reappear politically.

Two lawmakers who represent Westchester County have promised legislation to ensure that an impeached governor cannot use any of his campaign contributions to run again.

Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and Assembly Member Chris Burdick – both of whom represent Westchester County – said on August 6 that they would present versions of the bill in their respective chambers. If approved, the measure would freeze the campaign accounts of elected officials who have been indicted in the state assembly. This would force the State Electoral Council to liquidate the account if found guilty by the State Senate.

Browne said, however, that Cuomo may have sealed his own political fate.

“Stranger things have happened,” Browne said, “but I think Cuomo is currently so damaged politically. I don’t know where he would find statewide political support to mount a successful campaign. “


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