On the heels of allegedly intimidating calls by the Andrew Cuomo administration to former officials, a new scandal has surfaced involving New York Governor and “vaccine czar” Larry Schwartz.
The new allegation is that Schwartz hinted at the possibility that dropping his support for Cuomo would have consequences for the distribution of vaccines.
Last week it was learned that Schwartz, who heads New York’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, called county executives to gauge loyalty to the governor, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
One of the Democratic executives who received a call filed a complaint with the state’s attorney general’s public integrity unit against Schwartz. The executive was concerned that the Cuomo administration would keep his county from receiving the COVID vaccine if he did not support Governor Cuomo.
Schwartz admitted to making the calls to county executives, but testified that he did not touch on the vaccine issue during the conversations.
“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 email, according to the mentioned reports.
So far, no Cuomo administration official has explained why Schwartz, who is in charge of vaccine distribution, would take the time to call and learn about executive support for the governor.
Fear against Cuomo’s retaliations
According to The Washington Post, several public officials who received Schwartz’s calls said they fear retaliation from Cuomo if they speak out against him.
For his part, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for an investigation into the new scandal.
“What we’ve heard about the governor and his team trying to link vaccine supply to political support, that is the definition of corruption. It is disgusting. It is dangerous,” de Blasio said during a press conference this Monday, March 15.”
It should be recalled that Cuomo has been accused of workplace harassment and/or inappropriate touching by six women, including four who worked for him.
In addition to these allegations, there is the nursing home scandal, after the governor knowingly lied about the true number of deceased elderly in the state.