New York has a history of wasting millions of dollars and countless hours on pointless endeavors.
So it’s no surprise that some lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, are pushing for the state Assembly to move ahead with impeachment proceedings against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, even though Cuomo has already announced his resignation and even though the main goal of impeachment is to force him out of office.
Other than dragging the governor through the mud and possibly preventing him from seeking office in the future, there is no practical reason to spend millions of taxpayers dollars on legal fees and countless other expenses just to make a point.
New York has plenty more important matters to deal with than a sideshow impeachment trial.
For starters, we’ll soon have a new governor, Kathy Hochul, who will need time and space for her and her team to get established and up to speed. Give it to her.
She will be under heavy pressure from Day 1 to manage the growing covid crisis, as well as initiate reforms to address the ethics situation that allowed the Cuomo scandals to grow, and to strengthen sexual harassment policies and enforcement.
On top of that, she’ll have just four months after taking office to establish her legislative agenda and to prepare a state budget. Those are no small endeavors, especially while managing a major public health crisis and who knows what else?
A lengthy impeachment trial will distract from her agenda and her efforts.
Dropping the impeachment doesn’t necessarily mean Cuomo gets off the hook.
Lawmakers should continue their investigations into the sexual harassment allegations, the use of government staff for his covid book, and the nursing home cover-up. Reports on those investigations will allow the public to learn what really happened, as well as give lawmakers leverage for potential civil or criminal action and the opportunity to re-evaluate related state policies and laws.
In addition, there are other investigations pending or ongoing, including another attorney general investigation into Cuomo’s book, a federal inquiry into the nursing home scandal and criminal investigations by several county prosecutors relating to the sexual harassment allegations.
As for using impeachment to stop Cuomo from running for office again, let the voters decide whether they want him back.
There’s even a question of whether impeaching a governor who’s no longer in office is even legal under the state constitution. No need to waste time testing that.
We understand the temptation to prevent Cuomo from escaping a public accounting of his actions.
But a symbolic impeachment proceeding would create an expensive, unnecessary and unwanted distraction from the operation of the state.