The Human Rights Campaign has employed an out of doors regulation agency to analyze whether or not the group’s president, Alphonso David, inappropriately helped Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo push again in opposition to sexual harassment allegations.
“This investigation ― which will take no longer than 30 days, will include consideration of whether Alphonso David’s actions aligned with HRC’s mission and values, as well as with professional and ethics standards,” reads an e mail that Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson — board chairs for HRC and the HRC Foundation, respectively — despatched to HRC workers on Monday morning. HuffPost obtained a replica of the e-mail.
“Alphonso David will be fully cooperating and has welcomed the investigation,” they mentioned.
David was a part of Cuomo’s tight inside circle, serving as his counsel from 2015 to 2019. The New York legal professional normal’s workplace final week launched a bombshell report detailing its investigation into sexual harassment allegations in opposition to the governor, and David appeared to have performed a big position in Cuomo’s efforts to discredit his accusers.
The report states, for instance, that David supplied a confidential file to Cuomo’s high aides, which they used to discredit one in all his accusers, Lindsey Boylan. The former Cuomo staffer has accused the governor of sexual harassment, together with an unsolicited kiss in his workplace and an invite to play strip poker on a authorities airplane.
The report additionally states that David was concerned in discussions about calling and secretly recording a dialog between a former Cuomo staffer and one other Cuomo accuser named Kaitlin, who has not supplied her final identify. Kaitlin claims that in 2016, the governor grabbed her at a fundraiser and put her right into a dance pose for photographers. She says the governor had his workers reach out to supply her a job two days later.
According to the report, David additionally initially declined to signal onto a letter geared toward discrediting Boylan and attacking her claims as political, however later instructed a Cuomo aide he would signal the letter “if we need him.” He additionally agreed to reach out to girls who beforehand labored for Cuomo to attempt to get them to signal onto an announcement saying optimistic issues in regards to the governor, per the report.
David was serving as president of HRC on the time of all these incidents.
After the report dropped final week, David publicly known as for Cuomo’s resignation. And throughout a tense all-staff name with HRC staff, he mentioned he didn’t know in regards to the allegations in opposition to Cuomo till the report got here out. But many HRC staffers on the decision berated their president over the report’s findings that tie him to Cuomo’s makes an attempt to smear his accusers. Several instructed him to resign.
“Alphonso, we will band together and take this to the board to request your resignation,” mentioned one worker. “Are you willing to take down our org with you?”
HRC’s board has to this point stood by David. It prolonged his contract for one more 5 years final Tuesday — coincidentally, the identical day the New York legal professional normal’s report dropped.
However, this investigation may change that. The board chairs acknowledged the blowback that HRC has confronted over David’s connection to Cuomo’s efforts to smear his accusers.
“Over the past several days, HRC’s employees, supporters, board members and partners have raised questions about the appropriateness of Alphonso David’s actions and whether they align with HRC’s decades’ long mission of fighting for equality and justice for all,” they mentioned of their e mail to workers.
David instructed workers on Monday that he helps the investigation into his position in Cuomo’s efforts to retaliate in opposition to his accusers.
“I fully endorse the decision of the boards of the Human Rights Campaign to conduct an independent review of the New York State Attorney General’s report,” David mentioned in a company-wide e mail obtained by HuffPost. “It is an important effort to ensure the transparency that I have supported and engaged in with the board and staff since I joined this organization.”
David isn’t the one outstanding progressive lawyer whose identify got here up a number of occasions within the Cuomo report. Roberta Kaplan, the chairwoman of Time’s Up and co-founder of its authorized protection fund, was concerned in an effort to discredit a lady who had accused the governor of sexual harassment. She resigned from the group on Monday.
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