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New York’s ethics oversight agency is reportedly investigating calls made by a top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has opened an investigation into Larry Schwartz, a volunteer adviser who oversaw vaccine distribution for the state, according to the Times Union. Schwartz made headlines in May for allegedly calling a handful of Democratic county executives to ask whether they would call for Cuomo's resignation as the governor battled multiple scandals.
A representative for the JCOPE told the Washington Examiner the agency is unable to comment "on anything that is or might be an investigative matter."
The calls from Schwartz prompted at least one county executive to file a complaint with the attorney general's office.
"Right at the time that every county was working, and desperately needed more vaccines, to receive a call from the person who was responsible for allocating those doses gauging political loyalty to the governor was an obvious conflict, and at best ethically gray," a county executive who received a call from Schwartz reportedly said at the time.
Schwartz denied linking vaccine access to political support for Cuomo. Beth Garvey, Cuomo's counsel, said in March in regard to the calls that "distorting Larry’s role or intentions for headlines maligns a decades-long public servant."
Cuomo's tenure has been overshadowed by several scandals, including charges he improperly used his office to grant members of his inner circle special access to COVID-19 testing and to promote his book about leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor has also been accused of sexual harassment by at least 10 women, which has resulted in two investigations by New York officials.
Cuomo, who denied all allegations of wrongdoing, has refused to step down despite mounting pressure from within his party. He has signaled he plans to run for a fourth term, hosting a $10,000-per-person fundraiser last month at which he raised more than $1 million toward his reelection efforts.
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Original Author: Carly Roman
Original Location: Ethics agency reviewing top Cuomo aide's phone calls: Report