More than 5,000 people have signed a petition demanding that former New York Attorney
General Eric Schneiderman donate his campaign funds to organizations that support sexual violence victims.
The petition was launched by a coalition of groups including the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter, and Ultra Violet after learning Schneiderman would not face charges concerning the alleged physical abuse of several women.
The Nassau County District Attorney has said that while she believes the women, legal impediments, such as statutes of limitations, preclude her from moving forward with a criminal prosecution at this time.
Schneiderman has stated that he would accept “full responsibility” for his abusive behavior, and now the women’s rights groups are demanding that he turn over his campaign funds, which totaled $8.5 million at one point, to assist domestic violence victims.
“If former Attorney General and domestic abuser Eric Schneiderman is serious about accepting ‘full responsibility’ for his abuse of women, he needs to back that up with action,” said Shaunna Thomas, executive director of Ultra Violet. “Anything less proves that Schneiderman’s claims of contrition are just self-serving empty words.”
Schneiderman was forced to resign as the New York Attorney General in May of 2018, after four women he was in relationships with, came forward and accused him of repeated physical abuse such as hitting, choking, and slapping.
“Eric Schneiderman was charged with protecting survivors and vulnerable people. Instead, he perpetuated the epidemic of violence against women, hurting those closest to him and undermining the public’s confidence in one of the most important legal positions in our country,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority.
People can read and sign the petition here.
“These survivors have done a great public service in bravely taking him on and he should
do the right thing and donate his defunct campaign funds to the organizations that support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of the National
Organization for Women of New York. “Women deserve more than an apology.”
The petition appeals directly to Schneiderman:
“We understand that you collected over $8.5 million in campaign contributions, of which you continue to hold millions. There are several national, reputable organizations with whom you could consult on how to disperse these funds so you can ensure that the money is being used to support appropriate programs that center the voices, needs, and concerns of all survivors regardless of age, economic status, race, gender-identity, sexual orientation, or religion,” the petition reads.
“As a national figure who enjoyed years of privilege and who, through your actions, denigrated the public trust in your position as New York State Attorney General, you not only have a special responsibility to hold yourself accountable for your conduct, but you have an unprecedented opportunity to now make a positive difference.”