Chris Cuomo is getting the pink slip.
The CNN anchor and daughter of two ex-governors of New York, Cuomo is no stranger to news controversies that lead to ignominious headlines. But the question marks that have followed him over the past few weeks have been pretty red ones, particularly when it comes to the personal life of one of his younger brothers, Andrew Cuomo, the state’s current governor.
Cuomo’s suspension comes after revelations about a number of questionable activities surrounding his brother.
When multiple outlets reported the day after the election that Governor Cuomo’s administration had botched a decades-old investigation by the New York State Attorney General into bid-rigging on the sale of the Thruway that would eventually expose Cuomo’s son, Andrew, to political donor-tapped Christopher Renshaw, others close to the governor said they had no idea a scandal was brewing. Renshaw had ties to the family and made donations to the governor’s campaigns.
But then, on March 11, The New York Times reported that Renshaw had tried to collect campaign donations from multiple people who were acting as conduits for bidders to keep their bids secret. Renshaw’s son worked for the same law firm as one of the top officials at the New York State Thruway Authority.
Cuomo was widely criticized after his initial response to the Times report was delayed for several hours.
When the story broke, Cuomo’s son, Andrew, did not deny that Renshaw had indeed tried to solicit donations and suggested Renshaw was a victim of unfair publicity.
Andrew later acknowledged that Renshaw’s son was not a staffer, and Renshaw had not told him that he had tried to solicit a donation from at least two sources who were allegedly acting as conduit bidders for their bids. But in the course of it all, the Cuomo administration put a lot of pressure on state lawmakers to move forward with legislation to allow political donors to withhold their identities from governmental oversight panels, according to the Times.
Cuomo has faced criticism since the news broke for shifting his position on the legislation. In March, he had voted against the bill; on June 11, he and other lawmakers reluctantly went along with the legislation and he signed it into law. It was one of the last major laws he signed before resigning the governorship. It was also the first law he signed since winning re-election to the state senate in November.
Cuomo has been unwavering in his insistence that he had not lobbied the Legislature to pass the legislation, and did not think there was anything improper about supporting the legislation. “Well, one thing I won’t do is take a side in a bill that’s pending before the Senate,” Cuomo said in March.
When reporters asked the governor on Monday if his brother had any issues, the former New York City mayor said, “I just think what is best for the state of New York is what is best for the governor of the state of New York. I think that the New York Times kind of ran out of gas in terms of what they could do. I didn’t think it was a big deal. I think that the people of New York knew what was going on.”