LGBT Group Renews Contract With President Who Helped Smear Cuomo Accuser

Human Rights Campaign rewards Alphonso David with 5-year contract after damning AG report

Governor Andrew Cuomo attends 2016 Human Rights Campaign New York Gala Dinner (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
August 5, 2021

A prominent LGBT rights group renewed its president's contract after he was revealed this week to have helped Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D., N.Y.) smear a woman who accused the governor of sexual harassment.

The Human Rights Campaign announced Wednesday that it had signed Alphonso David to a five-year contract, one of the longest in the organization’s history. The group also said it has "full confidence" in David, who served as general counsel to Cuomo before taking over the Human Rights Campaign in 2019. On Tuesday, New York attorney general Letitia James (D.) released a report that said David helped Cuomo’s team try to discredit Lindsey Boylan, a former Cuomo aide who accused him of sexual abuse.

David shared Boylan’s personnel file with Cuomo’s aides, who subsequently leaked it to the media. David also advised Cuomo’s team regarding an op-ed Cuomo wrote that sought to discredit Boylan. David and other Cuomo advisers also held discussions about covertly recording another woman who had come forward with allegations about Cuomo. James’s report said Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, many of whom were state employees. James said Cuomo’s advisers, including David, engaged in a "retaliation" campaign against the governor’s accusers.

David’s involvement drew the attention of national media outlets and generated calls from some groups that he resign. Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT rights group, called on the Human Rights Campaign to cut ties with David. But David remained defiant as of Wednesday, saying that he would not resign.

"This is my life’s work," David told the Washington Blade. "I intend to continue the work that I’ve been doing because the work of marginalized communities, the work to actually represent marginalized communities is too important."

Two officials with the Human Rights Campaign said they have "full confidence in Alphonso David as president of the organization."

"In recognition of his extraordinary leadership during extremely challenging times, we were proud to extend his contract to stay on in his role for five more years," Morgan Cox and Jodie Patterson, two Human Rights Campaign directors, told the Blade.

While David maintains the confidence of the Human Rights Campaign board, staffers called on him to resign during a conference call on Wednesday.
"When are you resigning?" asked one staffer during the call, according to the Huffington Post.

David called on Cuomo to resign from office but did not address his own appearance in the attorney general’s report.

"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 said on Tuesday after the report was released.

According to the report, Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa asked David to provide Boylan’s personnel file after Boylan publicly accused Cuomo of being "one of the biggest abusers in the world." David emailed a copy of Boylan’s confidential work file to another Cuomo lieutenant, Rich Azzopardi. The report also said David took part in discussions about secretly recording a conversation between a former Cuomo staffer and another Cuomo accuser named Kaitlin. The Cuomo team wanted to find out whether Kaitlin had been in contact with Boylan.

David is not the only civil rights activist who helped Cuomo discredit Boylan. Roberta Kaplan and Tina Tchen, the cofounders of the #MeToo group Time’s Up, advised Cuomo’s team about the op-ed Cuomo wanted to publish in order to discredit Boylan. The attorney general said DeRosa testified that Kaplan and Tchen reviewed Cuomo’s op-ed and approved of its publication, save for portions that discussed Boylan’s relationships with other men.

The Human Rights Campaign and David did not respond to numerous requests for comment from the Washington Free Beacon.