New York state Capitol
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The chair of the state Senate Ethics Committee says even though hearings to fix New York’s dysfunctional ethics panel have been delayed, she’s hopeful that solutions can be reached by the end of the summer.

The New York State Capitol
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

A New York State Senate hearing scheduled to examine the troubled state ethics commission was postponed Monday. There were concerns that it might have been in violation of New York’s open meetings law, because too many senators were opting to participate over Zoom, instead of showing up in person.  

Larry Schwartz
Courtesy of MTA

Some members of the New York state ethics commission pressed for a subpoena to look into a controversy surrounding Governor Andrew Cuomo’s hiring of former aide Larry Schwartz as a “volunteer” COVID-19 vaccine czar. The state Attorney General is investigating whether Schwartz inappropriately tried to trade political loyalty for vaccine deliveries to some county leaders. Cuomo’s appointees to the ethics commission voted the proposal down.  

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking in Albany Dec. 2, 2020.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo could have violated state ethics laws, according to allegations in newspaper accounts that he used his staff to help him write a book on how he managed the COVID-19 pandemic, and gave his family and politically connected associates priority access to coronavirus tests. But, the state’s ethics commission, which has the power to investigate the allegations, has a poor track record investigating claims of corruption.

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics – or JCOPE – is dropping its case against an activist it maintains violated state lobbying laws.

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
Lucas Willard / WAMC

New York’s Assembly Speaker is elaborating on questions about the alleged leak of a state ethics panel vote. Around the time, Joe Percoco, a former top aide was being investigated, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo was allegedly told about a secret executive session vote by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics last January, setting off a quiet investigation by the state inspector general’s office — which was unable to substantiate the complaint.

JCOPE seal

Kat Sullivan is an activist who has recently stepped back into the spotlight. Sullivan settled with the Emma Willard School in Troy in 2016 after alleging that she was sexually abused by a teacher when she was a student at the private girls’ high school in the 90s.


The New York state ethics commission has settled with a former assemblymember and a former senate staffer in two cases involving sexual harassment.

New York State Capitol
Karen DeWitt

A national report finds that New York State’s ethics panel is among the worst in the nation. Reform groups say that’s not news to them, and have called for an overhaul of the commission.

Democrats are poised to lead the New York state Senate starting next month, but they will still lack power on the state’s ethics panel. But a law implemented several years ago will allow Republicans in the chamber to hold the majority of seats.

NYS Senate Candidate Criticizes Opponent Over A Form

Aug 21, 2018

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics recently announced that it had issued more than 50 notices to candidates for the state legislature who were delinquent in filing financial disclosure statements. A Senate candidate in the Hudson Valley is making hay of his opponent’s name appearing on the list.

Some lobbyists, as well as government reform groups, say a new rule approved by the state’s ethics commission that would require them to report contact with the news media in some cases, violates first amendment rights and would have chilling effect.

A panel commissioned to review practices at New York’s troubled ethics commission held its one and only public hearing Wednesday, as its Chair says lack of staff and excess of paperwork may make it difficult to meet the group’s November 1st deadline.

  Fixing the state’s troubled ethics commission will be the subject of two hearings in Albany on October 7th and in New York City on October 17th. Reform groups say they are ready with suggestions.

The panel, created by Governor Cuomo in May, is tasked with looking at ways to improve the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, which has been widely criticized as secretive and ineffective. It was created by Governor Cuomo and the legislature during the governor’s first months in office back in 2011.

  The controversial state ethics commission is in the midst of a review by a panel appointed by Governor Cuomo and the legislature. Government reform groups say they’ve already been asked to give their opinions on how to fix some of the commission’s problems.

Blair Horner: Albany's "Watergate" Moment

Feb 23, 2015

The recent indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is simply the latest in a series of scandals involving the conflicts created by allowing sitting legislators to earn unlimited, unrestricted income from outside jobs.  But the controversy surrounding the former Speaker’s “moonlighting” is not the first time the issue has been raised.  The ability of sitting lawmakers to profit in any profession or business has been central to other recent scandals.  Here are some of the most high profile examples:

A state assemblyman from New York City has been charged by authorities with using his campaign funds for personal expenses.

Sheldon Silver
WAMC file photo

The New York state ethics commission met Tuesday, and spent most of its time in a private session, as a key appointee of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver resigned from the board.

Sen. Hoylman

This weekend, an openly gay man was shot to death after a confrontation in Greenwich Village Friday in what police commissioner Ray Kelly is calling a hate crime. According to New York state Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, whose district includes Greenwich Village, the incident was at least the fifth instance of anti-gay violence in Manhattan this month.

The state ethics commission report on the Assemblyman Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal might finally be made public later this month.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, issued a report on its investigation into sexual harassment charges against Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez back in February. The report was also to address how Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and his aides handled the matter.

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a religious-based lobbying group,  wants the Joint Commission on Public Ethics to rule on whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo's girlfriend, Food Network TV star Sandra Lee, should disclose financial information as if she's the governor's wife.

Thursday's request comes after The Associated Press reported the commission authorized Lee to use the state aircraft with Cuomo on official business. It deemed her a "domestic partner" in the "first family." Cuomo and Lee live in Westchester County.

Dave Lucas/WAMC

Westchester County assemblyman Steve Katz was to have been in an upstate court this morning to address charges of marijuana and speeding violations dating back to mid-morning on March 14 when his car was stopped by a state trooper along a stretch of the Thruway in the Southern Albany County town of Coeymans.

Anti-fracking signs

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A formal complaint filed with New York's lobbying board asks it to investigate whether Artists Against Fracking, a group formed by Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon, is violating the state's lobbying law.

Liz Benjamin: Governing By Threat

Sep 10, 2012

For the second time in two years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has raised the specter of a Moreland Act commission in hopes of scaring people into doing his bidding.

This shouldn't come as any big surprise, if Cuomo has proved anything since he took office in January 2011, it's that he favors a carrot and stick approach to governing - with a heavy emphasis on the stick.