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Don’t expect Hochul’s ethics panel to be any better than the old one

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Gov. Kathy Hochul promised to “blow up” the state’s dysfunctional ethics panel, but the “reforms” were on the horizon their budget deal falling far short with legislative leaders.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, JCOPE, was ridiculed as JJOKE for a key reason: the very people it was supposed to monitor—particularly the governor and state legislatures—were allowed to choose its members. This lack of independence made it toothless from the moment it started 11 years ago.

JCOPE’s three main architects included two legislative leaders, Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos, both of whom later went to prison on federal corruption charges, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was also ousted from office for his own numerous ethical failings.

Hochul swore JCOPE would be replaced by a real, hardened, independently Guard dog. But lawmakers insisted on maintaining their role in picking commissioners – to ensure the panel never came after it She.

They shot down Hochul’s plan to let the state law school deans elect the board’s commissioners at the moment they proposed it, and to give the deans only the right to “check” the names for any “issues,” as the majority leader in the Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, expresses.

Hochul insists the deans will not be a ‘stamp’ and she has made improvements such as greater transparency in the board’s decision-making and better staff training.

Nice try, Governor, but as long as its members are chosen by the people who are supposed to monitor them, it will be difficult to see the government’s new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying as truly “independent.”

The acronym CELG may end the JCOPE-JJOKE bells and whistles, but the new ethics body will all too likely deserve the same contempt.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/10/dont-expect-hochuls-ethics-panel-to-be-better-than-the-old-one/ Don’t expect Hochul’s ethics panel to be any better than the old one

DUSTIN JONES

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