This week, NY1 wrote about how Senator Biaggi is fighting to make New York’s ethics committee, JCOPE, a functioning body, and not one subservient to Governor Cuomo and the Executive:
Critics say the makeup of JCOPE itself is fundamentally flawed. And this summer, State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, the chair of the Ethics Committee, plans to hold the first of two hearings focusing on the troubled ethics agency.
“We can and absolutely should hold hearings about the construction of JCOPE, about how JCOPE has made decisions, how we can compare New York’s Ethics Commission to other states, and so a hearing is a perfect place to do this,” said Biaggi.
Reports indicate that JCOPE staff approved Cuomo’s book deal, not the actual appointed commissioners. That seems highly irregular, given the size of the contract.
JCOPE largely operates in secrecy, and a spokesperson for the agency declined to comment.
State lawmakers are looking to pass a constitutional amendment that would eliminate JCOPE altogether, and create a new, more transparent ethics watchdog.
“Since the creation of JCOPE, it’s always been very closely tied to the Executive Branch,” Biaggi said. “The governor appoints close to 50% of the members of JCOPE, and it does not operate by a majority vote. At least two members of the 14-member commission can veto an investigation, so those are just some of the reasons why we need to pass a constitutional amendment.”