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OUR VIEW

Our view: Legislature should continue Cuomo impeachment inquiry

Cuomo Sexual Harassment

A moving van drives away from the governor's mansion in Albany as workers were seen carrying out boxes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepared for his last day in office in August.

An investigation by the state Assembly into the conduct of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo should not be the last word on the matter, and we encourage the Legislature to move forward with an impeachment vote and trial.

The report released Monday appears to confirm many of the accusations levied against Cuomo before his resignation, including allegations of sexual harassment, that revising statistics on COVID-19 nursing home deaths was designed to deflect any negativity about his leadership during the crisis, and that he improperly had staff members doing work on a book from which he personally made millions of dollars.

But as far as the Assembly Democratic leadership is concerned, their job is over because they believe that the New York Constitution does not allow for impeachment of a former official. Other legal scholars, however, are not so sure and there's even legislation pending in Albany to clarify this question that could be acted upon.

Senate Minority Leader Bob Ortt on Monday said that he will continue to advocate for passage of a bill that would clarify the Legislature's constitutional right to impeach and convict a former public official.

"It is only through the impeachment process," he said, "that we can be assured Andrew Cuomo never holds public office again."

We had called for the Legislature to continue with impeachment back in the summer when Cuomo resigned, citing the same reasons Democrats had pushed for former President Donald Trump's impeachment when he was no longer in office: the need for accountability and the need to ensure a person who engages in this type of official misconduct can never hold the office again.

At the very least, this is a decision that should be left to every lawmaker, not just a couple of Democratic leaders in the Assembly (the speaker and Judiciary Committee chair). The full Assembly should vote on the question of whether to move forward with an actual impeachment vote and trial, and we urge all state legislators to push their leaders to allow this to move ahead.

The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Michelle Bowers, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.

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