Replace JCOPE with a New Body

Since JCOPE was created in 2011, the City Bar has issued a series of reports on the commission’s structure and the manner in which it hinders effective administration of the state’s ethics laws.  Most recently, our Government Ethics and State Affairs Committee issued a ten-year report on JCOPE. The report found that JCOPE’s overall mission continues to be hampered by these structural flaws, principally, a lack of independence of commission members, a lack of transparency, and special voting rules for enforcement actions. The City Bar has supported a constitutional amendment that abolishes JCOPE and replaces it with new body (A.1929 (AM Carroll) / S.855 (Sen. Krueger)), as well as more modest reforms, such as those outlined in legislation that address apportionment of the appointment power and the special voting rules (S.6964-A (Sen. Biaggi)). The City Bar believes that, absent a constitutional amendment, more ambitious reforms can and should be made by statute now to completely revamp ethics oversight in the state.  These statutory changes should include reducing the oversized 14-member commission to a more workable size, revising the appointment method to curb the influence of the regulated parties over the commission members, making the commission (like any other state agency) subject to the state’s transparency laws, and eliminating all special voting rules so that the commission can act by simple majority vote in all matters.


2022-23 New York State Budget Recap: JCOPE was replaced with the Commission on Ethics & Lobbying in Government; the City Bar did not support the new Commission.