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Gov. Andrew Cuomo has delayed his exit for two weeks. Why? Because he wants to. The Assembly should take the opportunity to impeach him anyway, so the state Senate can vote him guilty.
It’s their duty to the people of New York to ensure Cuomo pays the full penalty for his gross misconduct.
It’s not just the violations of federal and New York law — including laws he signed himself! —outlined in state Attorney General Letitia James’s damning report on multiple counts of sexual harassment, nor even his plainly illegal use of state resources to malign his accusers.
No: His abuses in covering up the true death toll in state care homes, a body count clearly inflated by his orders that homes take in COVID-contagious patients, are an outrage in and of themselves, as is his refusal to rescind the main order for 46 days and another for months.
More: He personally profited from the coverup, as the truth could’ve stopped him from scoring a $5.1 million deal to write the now-laughable “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Clear evidence also shows he made illegal use of gubernatorial staff in cutting the deal as well as producing the book.
Yes, Cuomo faces a federal investigation over those issues, but that doesn’t remove lawmakers’ duty to act. (Plus, there’s no guarantee the Biden Justice Department will continue it, especially after President Joe Biden declared Cuomo’s downfall “a tragedy.”)
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens), who says Cuomo personally threatened him against revealing part of the coverup, vows the Assembly inquiry into the nursing-home nightmare will continue and hopes impeachment does, too.
But the impeachment question is up to the Assembly as a whole, and Speaker Carl Heastie has long been reluctant to go after Cuomo, a longtime ally. He won’t be moved by the near-universal Republican support to make the gov pay and maybe not by similar calls from progressives like state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (Bx-W’chester).
But Biaggi is right: “Resignation is not accountability,” so “the Legislature has to continue to move forward with impeachment proceedings.” Indeed: “Just resignation means that he is permitted to run for office again, and we have to ensure that is not the case.”
Cuomo hopes to mount a comeback someday. Heck, he even hasn’t admitted any real wrongdoing, even when it comes to harassment. His legal team was still attacking his accusers minutes before he announced his resignation.
He clearly figures the public will forget the sorry details. It’s the Legislature’s duty to see that he suffers the full consequences for his actions.
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