Transparency! We recently discussed the story of how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration was busy deleting thousands of e-mails because the “policy” in place in the Empire State is to delete all such communications after 90 days. Since then, lawmakers have responded to the ensuing public anger by introducing legislation to keep all emails for seven years, but that seems to be taking a while to pass for some reason. But even if it passes, it won’t have much effect on the Governor himself. As it turns out, the big guy doesn’t do much emailing. But reporters have discovered that this “old fashioned” attitude only seemed to take hold once he became governor.
Legislation has been introduced to change the e-mail policy. Insiders say the Cuomo team was unhappy about attempts to force the governor’s hand.
“The problem here has to do with the deletion of emails after 90 days. The assembly doesn’t do that,” said O’Donnell.
The governor also claims he doesn’t use email much because he is more old fashioned and prefers the phone.
“But I am not a big email guy, no,” said Cuomo.
But according to these 2009 emails obtained by NY1, Cuomo, then state attorney general, wasn’t always averse to using email to communicate. It appears to be something he adopted after becoming governor. Emails are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
So Cuomo prefers to use the phone, but that’s not entirely accurate. He does use his phone, but he uses it to send text messages, which are conveniently not stored or available for FOIA requests. That brings up another question. Remember those pictures of Hillary sitting on the plane and tapping into her phone during a trip overseas when there are supposedly no emails on record? Has anyone bothered to ask her if she was texting instead? Does the President text? He claims that he never sends text messages on his Blackberry, assuming a series of jokes with Jimmy Kimmel can be taken as an official policy statement.
As to Hillary, there’s already been some folks asking the question. And while there’s no official answer, it’s likely that a lot of the business being done at State during Clinton’s tenure was communicated on the fly in that fashion.
And yet, while Clinton was at State, staffers—not just hers, but employees throughout the federal government—were conducting official business on the go, because like employees in every modern workplace, they increasingly rely on mobile phones to do their duties. They might write emails on their work phones or use BlackBerry Messenger, but other times and for reasons of convenience—perhaps it was easier to type with one hand while walking, or it had better cell coverage in a particular area—government staff and leaders almost certainly used their personal devices. Without doubt, someone, somewhere at the State Department used his personal iPhone to ask his counterpart at the White House to push back a meeting 15 minutes.
But with that sidebar taken care of, let’s return to one more item about Andrew Cuomo. You probably aren’t aware of it, but he published an autobiography during the 2014 election called “All Things Possible,” detailing his life and career leading up to becoming governor. The reason you probably didn’t know about it was that the book (for which he received a more than $700K advance) sold a whopping 3,008 copies in hardcover and thirteen downloads of the audiobook. But there’s another book about Cuomo coming out at the end of this month, and it’s one which the Governor did his best to keep off the shelves.
… when “The Contender,” the latest in a series of Cuomo book projects, comes out on March 31, it will be without his involvement—despite his best efforts…
The author of “The Contender,” Michael Shnayerson, secured a deal for an unauthorized Cuomo biography in January 2012. In the late spring or early summer of that year, Mr. Cuomo invited him to lunch at an oyster bar in his Midtown Manhattan office building.
There, Mr. Cuomo suggested that Mr. Shnayerson, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair but an unknown in Albany, ditch the unauthorized biography and instead work with him on a book about governing.
During the following weekend, Mr. Cuomo called the author’s agent, Esther Newberg, twice—reaching her on Saturday at her Sag Harbor beach house and Sunday on her cellphone. Mr. Shnayerson declined.
That article from the WSJ is a great read for those interested in seeing just how closely some of the big name Democrats guard their image and their private affairs. And it’s not just a matter of hiding communications. As this deal shows, when an author was preparing to begin work on a book which wasn’t going to be a puff piece, Cuomo put the pressure on him to abandon the project and come to work with him on a different book.
I keep hearing all of this talk about transparency. When it comes to many of these Democrats, I don’t think they’re quite clear on what that means.