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‘It was not optional’: Cuomo staffers say work on governor’s pandemic book was not voluntary

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is once again in hot water as several staffers came forward to say their work on his COVID-19 response book was not voluntary, despite the office saying it was.

According to Fox News, several staffers have come forward to say their work was not voluntary, which would then be illegal and an ethics violation.

The Governor’s office had previously claimed the work was not forced or a part of anyones’ jobs.

“As is permissible and consistent with ethical requirements, people who volunteered on this project did so on their own time,” Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said last week.

Local newspaper The Times Union of Albany repoted that staffers came forward to the paper.

There was a “clear expectation that we would do political work to help with his campaign and run the governor’s personal errands in the Executive Chamber,” one staffer told the paper.

It is illegal in New York for the governor or any staff to use government resources for personal gain.

Another staffer said “it was not optional.”

“It was considered a part of your job. Everyone knew that you did what was asked of you and opting out was never really an option,” a former staffer told the Times Union.

The news comes as New York representative Lee Zeldin announced his candidacy for New York governor last week.

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Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar kicked off House Foreign Affairs Committee

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Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar was voted off the House Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday. The action was expected, as Republican members of Congress had criticized Omar’s antisemetic and anti-American rhetoric.

After intense debating on the House floor, the resolution passed with a 218-211 vote. Democrats attempted to pull the race card, accusing Republican House members of racism for removing Omar from the committee.

Omar also accused House Republicans of racism, saying, “I am Muslim, I am an immigrant, and interestingly, from Africa…Is anyone surprised that I am being targeted? Is anyone surprised that I am somehow deemed unworthy to speak about American foreign policy, or that they see me as a powerful voice that needs to be silenced?”

“There is this idea that you are a suspect if you are an immigrant or if you are from certain parts of the world or certain skin tone or a muslim.” Omar said during the heated debate. A fiery Alexandria Ocasia Cortez also chimed in shouting, “This is an attack on women of color!”

Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, from New York, said she had personally witnessed Omar spew anti-American rhetoric. Malliotakis said, “I have been in that committee room where, the representative, equates Israel and the United States to Hamas and the Taliban. Absolutely unacceptable for a member of that committee.”

A four-page resolution was written for the justification of removing Omar from the house Foreign Affairs Committee. The resolution states that in 2019, Omar suggested that Jewish people were buying U.S. political support when she posted on Twitter, “it’s all about the Benjamins, baby.”

Omar also commented on the September 11th attacks saying, “some people did something.” This type of comment is unacceptable for any representative who is sitting on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, lawmakers said.

In the resolution it states that members of this committee should all be held to an “equal standard of conduct due to the international sensitivities and national security concerns under the jurisdiction of this committee.”

 

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