(FreedomBeacon.com)- Last week, New York State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) ordered disgraced former Governor Andrew Cuomo to turn over to Attorney General Leticia James the $5.1 million he got for writing his ridiculous COVID book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Just two days later, the AG’s office denied the panel’s request, notifying the JCOPE that it would be premature to ask the Attorney General’s office to begin collection efforts before a demand for payment is made to Cuomo and his lawyers have an opportunity to respond to the demand.
JCOPE commissioner Gary Lavine immediately blasted James for her denial of the order, accusing the attorney general of letting politics play a part in her decision. Calling her denial of the order a “deliberate stall,” Lavine told the New York Post this week that Letitia James doesn’t want to take action for political reasons.
The AG’s general counsel Larry Schimmel told the JCOPE that it first needed to conduct its own investigative report and try to recover the funds from Cuomo’s book before it called in the Attorney General’s office for help.
Lavine argued Schimmel’s letter is a delay tactic on the part of the AG’s office.
However, the Attorney General’s office dismissed Lavine’s criticism.
A spokesperson for Letitia James accused the JCOPE of hypocrisy, saying the panel has shirked responsibility and refuses to take “meaningful action on any issue regarding ethics.” The spokesperson told the New York Post that the attorney general’s office must follow the law at all times, “not only when expedient.”
Last month, the JCOPE voted to rescind the approval it previously granted to Cuomo to write his silly book after it concluded that he violated the pledge not to use staffers and other government resources to write it. The panel also voted to conduct an internal investigation to determine why it was JCOPE staffers, and not the commissioners, who initially gave Cuomo the green light.
Then on December 14, the panel voted 12 to 1 to order Cuomo to turn over the proceeds he made from the book’s sales. In response to the order, Cuomo threatened to sue the JCOPE if they tried to take his money.
With the Attorney General’s denial of the order, on Monday, the JCOPE met to discuss what its next steps will be. This week, they sent a written response to the AG’s office, arguing that they have the authority to order and enforce a disgorgement.
Meanwhile, Letitia James’ office is already conducting a separate criminal probe into Cuomo’s book deal.