Campaign filings show New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used campaign funds to pay $284,000 to the attorney defending him against sexual misconduct allegations. The New York Post reports that on June 2, the governor said “he wasn’t spending political donations on his legal fees at this time” however, a filing with the state Board of Elections showed his campaign paid former U.S. Justice Department official, Rita Glavin $173,098 that same day. The filing also shows the Cuomo campaign paid Glavin’s law firm $111,774 in May. Both payments are listed as being for “professional services.” Glavin is a criminal defense lawyer who worked as a prosecutor for former Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush. Cuomo looked to Glavin for representation in March as the sexual assault allegations against him began to pile up.
John Kaehny of New York state government transparency group Reinvent Albany said he was not surprised by the use of campaign for legal fees but that “the practice should be outlawed.” He stated, “it should be illegal to use campaign funds for legal representation because the whole idea of having limits and restrictions on campaign funds is that they’re supposed to be used for campaigns.” Debra Katz, attorney for Cuomo accuser Charlotte Bennett, said the governor has “demonstrated a jaw-dropping ignorance of the sexual harassment law he signed into effect – without great fanfare – suggesting that his behavior is fine because he never meant to make women feel uncomfortable.”
Nearly a dozen current and former female staffers of the Governor have accused him of inappropriate behavior, leading to calls for his resignation. Cuomo has apologized for making anyone feel “uncomfortable” but denied any wrongdoing. He has publicly stated that his “behavior never rose to the level of sexual harassment” and claims the media has distorted and manipulated the accusations made against him.
In addition to the sexual harassment allegations lobbed his way by at least nine women, Governor Cuomo is also being investigated for his infamous nursing home scandal. He is accused of covering up thousands of covid-19 nursing deaths linked to his March 2020 executive order. The governor is also being investigated concerning the book he published during the pandemic and whether he abused state resources and staffers to promote it. Investigators are also looking into Cuomo for possible misuse of public resources for giving his family priority covid-19 testing early on in the pandemic before testing was readily available.