Rep. Tenney to Newsmax: Victims Fund Should Get Andrew Cuomo’s Book Proceeds

Rep. Tenney to Newsmax: Victims Fund Should Get Andrew Cuomo's Book Proceeds New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor, Eric Adams, hold a joint news conference in Brooklyn where the two leaders spoke on the rising rates of gun violence across the city on July 14, 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 15 December 2021 11:05 AM

The proceeds from former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's book about the COVID-19 pandemic, which the state's ethics and lobbying regulator has ordered to be surrendered, should go to a victims fund for the families of those who lost loved ones in nursing homes, Rep. Claudia Tenney said on Newsmax Wednesday.

"I feel like this money should go to a victims fund for those people who were needlessly put to an untimely death because of his almost completely reckless nursing home policy," the New York Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America" in reference to Cuomo's directive early on in the pandemic that forced nursing homes to take back residents who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 once they recovered.

"Kudos to so many that we're out there fighting against it. I was among the first to see the suspicious activity going on in March and April of last year when this policy put covid positive patients in the nursing homes."

New York's Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) this week ordered Cuomo to return the proceeds from his $5 million book deal to state Attorney General Letitia James' office, which is also investigating Cuomo's use of government employees to help write his book.

"I thought that finally, the ethics commission did something right," Tenney said. "I think it's justice that Cuomo has finally received, [and] we don't see a lot of justice in our justice system, unfortunately."

She acknowledged that a victims' fund won't bring back those who lost their lives, but "it will certainly give some solace to the people who have suffered the most in New York under Cuomo's rule."

Tenney also said New York's taxpayers have shelled out millions of dollars in legal fees for Cuomo, and that they should also benefit from some of the money from his book. She added that it will be "interesting" to see what James' office will do in connection with the ethics commission's order.

Cuomo is pushing back on the commission's order. His attorney, Jim McGuire, called JCOPE's actions unconstitutional, said the board exceeded its authority and accused it of using moves that "appear to be driven by political interests rather than the facts and the law."

But Tenney said that when the ethics committee was created, it was given the power to take such actions.

"Remember, it was Gov. Cuomo who created the Moreland Commission, using the attorney general's office at the time, and created this ability to weaponize that office," said Tenney. "The Committee on Public Ethics has the power to remove people from committees and from for doing other acts, and that was a power that was given to them by Cuomo and the legislature years ago."

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