Earlier this month, John Tomlin, a former Democratic operative in New York, reached out to a top official handling the state’s response to coronavirus with an offer to help.
Tomlin had been connected to the official through a former senior aide to Andrew Cuomo, New York’s Democratic governor. That former aide, Charlie King, now works with Tomlin at the lobbying and public-affairs firm Mercury.
King provided an email address for Larry Schwartz, a top Cuomo staffer whom the governor had tapped in March to oversee the procurement of medical devices and personal protective equipment to combat the coronavirus. Tomlin reached out with a unique business opportunity: He wanted to know if New York or any of the states with which it’s working on coronavirus relief needed a new source for that equipment.