ALBANY, NY — With the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) back in the spotlight, the Empire Center for Public Policy is releasing its own proposal for ethics reform, centered on fixing the structural problems of the Commission and increasing accountability.
Governor Hochul is pushing to reform JCOPE in the wake of negative publicity arising from its role in the controversy over former Governor Cuomo’s book deal—however, the current reform plans include a constitutional amendment, which could take two years to enact. A legislative fix could be enacted much more quickly.
The state legislature should pass legislation that reduces JCOPE’s size, diminishes the Governor’s influence on JCOPE, eliminates factional veto powers, diversifies appointees among a broader range of public officials, and brings greater transparency to JCOPE and its proceedings.
“Governor Hochul has promised JCOPE reform and is ideally situated to do so. Even better, she appears to have the support of legislative leaders and the public,” said Cam Macdonald, adjunct fellow at the Empire Center. “Now is the time for the legislature to come together and reform New York’s ethics commission in three main ways: limit partisan mischief, shed light on the appointment process, and increase accountability through greater transparency.”