State Watch

Human Rights Campaign president drawn into Cuomo controversy

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Alphonso David has been pulled into the controversy surrounding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after the release of a report by the state attorney general's office that found Cuomo harassed multiple women. 

The report released by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Tuesday, following an independent probe of accusations brought forth by several women, mentions David several times. 

It says that David, who previously worked in Cuomo's office, provided aides to the government with a confidential personnel file of a former staffer of Cuomo's after the staffer publicly accused the governor of harassment. 

Cuomo's aides then leaked the file, which included workplace complaints about the former staffer, to media outlets in an attempt to discredit her allegations. 

David denied wrongdoing in an interview with the Washington Blade, stating that he was required to comply with Cuomo aides' request for the file of the former staffer, Lindsey Boylan.

David has joined numerous former Cuomo allies, the entire New York congressional delegation and President Biden in calling for the governor's resignation. 

"After reading the AG's devastating report that concluded Gov. Cuomo engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment, in violation of both federal and state law, he should resign," David tweeted Tuesday

The AG probe stated that Cuomo's aides took steps "intended to discredit and disparage" Boylan, the first former Cuomo staffer to publicly accuse the governor of sexual harassment, by leaking negative information about her to the media.

It does not say that David leaked the file, but details his involvement in keeping the file and sending it to Cuomo's office upon the request of aides.

"The evidence obtained in our investigation revealed that the complainants' fears of retaliation were justified," James's report states.

David was a counselor to Cuomo in 2018 when Boylan resigned after Cuomo allegedly kissed her without her consent. David kept Boylan's confidential information when he left Cuomo's office to become president of HRC in 2019, according to James's report. 

The AG report also states that David helped prepare a plan to discredit another accuser, in which Cuomo would call her and secretly record their conversation. 

Those allegations come as HRC fights an influx of state-level bills targeting transgender individuals and pushes Congress to pass its signature LGBT rights legislation, the Equality Act. The LGBT rights group is confronting a surge in anti-trans harassment and violence in recent years.

David recently signed a contract to stay on as HRC's president for five more years, Time magazine reported Wednesday.

The Hill has reached out to HRC for comment.

This story was updated at 11:32 a.m. 

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