NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo main the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been calling county executives to gauge their loyalty to the Democratic governor amid a sexual harassment investigation, in response to stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times.
One Democratic county government, who was not named by the newspapers, was so disturbed by the decision from vaccine “czar” Larry Schwartz that the chief filed discover of an impending ethics grievance with the general public integrity unit of the state legal professional common’s workplace on Friday, the newspapers reported.
The government feared the county’s vaccine provide may endure if the chief didn’t point out assist for Cuomo, the Post reported.
Schwartz served as secretary to the governor from 2011 till 2015 and has suggested Cuomo on and off since then. He returned final spring to help the administration with the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Schwartz, who’s working in a volunteer capability to run New York’s vaccine distribution, acknowledged making the calls to county executives, however advised the Post he didn’t talk about vaccines within the conversations.
“I did nothing wrong,” Schwartz advised the newspaper. “I have always conducted myself in a manner commensurate to a high ethical standard.”
But the cellphone calls may increase questions on an intermingling of politics with the state’s coronavirus response.
“People do not see calls coming from the governor’s mansion as somebody wearing one hat and then putting on another hat,” Arthur Caplan, director of medical ethics on the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, advised the Post. “If you are in control of a vital supply of a lifesaving resource like vaccines, you are carrying an enormous amount of implicit clout when you ask for political allegiance.”
Cuomo is dealing with allegations that he sexually harassed or behaved inappropriately towards six girls, together with a number of former staffers. He has denied touching any girls inappropriately.
The three-term governor has rejected requires his resignation from fellow Democrats, together with New York’s two U.S. senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and has requested New Yorkers to await the outcomes of an investigation headed by state Attorney General Letitia James.
Schwartz advised the Post that the calls he made to evaluate political assist for Cuomo have been distinct from the position he performs within the vaccination effort.
“I did have conversations with a number of County Executives from across the State to ascertain if they were maintaining their public position that there is an ongoing investigation by the State Attorney General and that we should wait for the findings of that investigation before drawing any conclusions,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Beth Garvey, performing counsel to the governor, mentioned in an announcement emailed to The Associated Press via a Cuomo spokesperson on Sunday that any assertion Schwartz “acted in any way unethically or in any way other than in the best interest of the New Yorkers that he selflessly served is patently false.”
“Larry answered our call to volunteer in March and has since then worked night and day to help New York through this pandemic, first managing surge capacity, and procuring necessary supplies for the state, setting up the contact tracing efforts, and now assisting with vaccine distribution,” the assertion mentioned.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to turn into a founding member and assist form HuffPost’s subsequent chapter