Borrello: No more book deals for elected officials

If state Sen. George Borrello has his way, there will be no more book deals for elected officials in New York state. . . On Thursday, Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, introduced S. 5601 in the state Senate to amend the state Public Officers Law to prohibit elected officials from publishing books about their time in office while they still hold office. . . This isnt a free speech issue, its an anti-corruption issue. This legislation is largely inspired by Governor Cuomos published memoir, American Crisis. Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic, Borrello said. In the midst of the pandemic, the greatest crisis facing our state in a generation, the Governor somehow found the time to write a 300-page memoir praising his administrations COVID response. Setting aside the fact that his victory lap proved to be grossly premature, it is a situation that raises troubling questions about the ethics of elected officials collecting outside profit from actions related to their government responsibilities. . . The New York Post recently reported Cuomo was paid a more than $1 million advance for the book by the Crown Publishing Group. It has sold about 46,000 copies, though sales have slowed in recent weeks as controversy grows around Cuomos handling of nursing homes during COVID-19 and sexual harassment allegations by several women. Crown Publishing Group stopped promotional efforts on the book earlier this week. . . Late last year, Cuomo told WAMC radio host Alan Chartock that he couldnt release details about the book advance payment because it depended on other issues and who I have to pay what to actually get the book done, et cetera. Cuomo told reporters during an August media conference call he would say how much he made from the book on his annual financial disclosure forms, which are traditionally due May 15 but were delayed last year due to COVID-19. The governor also said during an August press briefing that he would donate part of the proceeds to a COVID-related entity. . . Borrello said it is particularly troubling that the withholding of nursing home data from the public and state legislators is now reported to have begun before the book deal was finalized.

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