JCOPE

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.

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.

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.

WAMC News

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.