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Ethics committee votes to order former NY Governor Cuomo to return $5.1 million in pandemic book trade income to the state



Cuomo has 30 days to return the money, according to a resolution obtained by CNN through a source familiar with the vote.

The resolution that the Joint Committee on Public Ethics voted on Tuesday says the New York attorney general is given legal authority to enforce the decision and determine where the proceeds from the book are returned. will be distributed.

Walter McClure, a spokesman for JCOPE, confirmed to CNN that the vote was 12-1 in favor of the resolution.

“JCOPE’s actions today are unconstitutional, beyond its own authority, and appear to be motivated by political interests rather than facts and the law,” McGuire said in a statement to CNN. “If they seek to enforce this action, we will see them in court.”

CNN has reached out to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James for comment.

The allegations that Cuomo used state resources for the book, titled “America’s Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” are also part of the criminal investigation. ongoing office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.

JCOPE previously voted to approve Cuomo’s book deal in 2020.

At a meeting in November, Commissioner David McNamara said the committee gave the conditional approval at the time in part because Cuomo said in a letter asking for approval of the deal that he would write the book “completely.” on its own time without using state resources or personnel.

At their November meeting of that year, the trustees voted to rescind their approval of the book, in part because “public property resources and personnel including volunteer staff were expended. related to the editorial preparation and publication of the book,” the resolution reads.

In April, when asked by reporters whether state resources had been used to create the book, the then governor say “some people volunteered to review the book.”

Rich Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesman, said in an earlier statement to CNN in May that Cuomo had donated $500,000 from his book deal to the United Way of New York State for pandemic relief efforts. and vaccinations.

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