Impeachment Inquiry Examining Allegations That Cuomo Gave His Family COVID Testing Preference

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Media stories that Governor Andrew Cuomo made COVID-19 testing out there to family and friends at a time when exams have been scarce have prompted Meeting lawmakers to contemplate including one more allegation to the sprawling probe of the Cuomo administration.

Meeting Judiciary Chairman Charles Lavine, who’s overseeing the Meeting’s impeachment probe, advised the New York Occasions the allegations are being thought-about. As Lavine stated at a committee listening to earlier within the week, “the speaker has directed us to look at all credible allegations.” His workplace has not responded to a request for remark.

The principle topic areas of the probe, which is predicted to take months, are sexual harassment allegations, withholding of information about nursing dwelling residents who died from COVID-19, and structural points on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

Based on stories within the Albany Occasions Union and the Washington Submit, prime state docs and different well being officers traveled door to door final spring to gather samples from members of Cuomo’s household, together with his brother and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and his mom Matilda. The samples have been reportedly rushed via the road on the state well being lab. On the time, native well being officers in New York Metropolis have been urging solely individuals who wanted to be hospitalized to get exams due to a extreme scarcity of provides.

The reported conduct could also be a violation of ethics guidelines set forth within the state’s public officers legislation which states public officers aren’t allowed to make use of “his or her official place to safe unwarranted privileges or exemptions for himself or herself or others.” Susan Lerner, the chief director of Widespread Trigger New York, noticed it as a transparent breach of the legislation.

“It’s unethical and sure, I believe there must be a critical investigation,” she stated. “Our legislation could be very clear. You can’t use state assets for private functions.”

Wealthy Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Cuomo, didn’t deny the accounts. On Wednesday evening, he stated the state was doing every little thing it may to get individuals examined, together with legislators, reporters, and state employees.

“We have been completely going above and past to get individuals testing,” he stated.

Azzopardi didn’t instantly reply to a request for additional touch upon the general public officers legislation.

John Kaehny, the chief director Reinvent Albany referred to as the allegations “a blatant violation,” that would probably embroil Cuomo in additional bother with the federal authorities, if it used federal cash devoted to testing. The federal authorities is already probing whether or not the state falsified knowledge when it withheld the overall variety of nursing dwelling residents who died from COVID-19

Violations of the general public officers legislation can lead to fines of as much as $10,000 {dollars} and the state worker may be eliminated or suspended. The notoriously toothless Joint Fee on Public Ethics can be in control of imposing violations of state ethics legal guidelines.

Earlier this week, nevertheless, some members of the fee tried to vote to subpoena information from Cuomo’s workplace, however have been blocked by Cuomo’s appointees to the board.

They have been looking for data on volunteers working in Cuomo’s workplace who have been exempt from state ethics pointers due to an government order Cuomo signed. Larry Schwartz, a detailed ally of the governor’s who’s overseeing vaccine distribution, was one such volunteer.

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