Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders this week announced their appointments to the new Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE). JCOPE is an independent enforcement unit with broad oversight of New York State government. The Commission has robust enforcement powers to investigate violations of law and financial disclosure requirements for all elected officials and their employees in both the executive and legislative branches. JCOPE also has expanded powers to oversee lobbyists due to newly expanded disclosure rules and a broader definition of lobbying.
“The Joint Commission on Public Ethics is an independent monitor that will aggressively investigate corruption and help maintain integrity in state government,” Governor Cuomo said. “I am confident that under the leadership of Chair DiFiore and the other board members, the Commission will be the toughest ethics enforcer in our state’s history.”
Governor Cuomo’s appointments are:
- · Janet DiFiore, Chair. Elected in 2005 and reelected in 2009, District Attorney DiFiore is the chief law enforcement officer of Westchester County. She also serves as the president of the District Attorney’s Association of the State of New York.
- · Vincent A. DeIorio. Mr. DeIorio is the Chair of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Board of Directors. He is an attorney with private practices in Purchase and New York City.
- · Mitra Hormozi. Ms. Hormozi has served as the Chairperson of the New York State Commission on Public Integrity since her appointment earlier this year. Ms. Hormozi is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
- · Daniel J. Horwitz. Mr. Horwitz is currently a partner at Lanker & Carragher, LLP. He previously served as a New York County Assistant District Attorney in the Frauds Bureau.
- · Gary J. Lavine. Mr. Lavine is associated as counsel with Green & Seifter, Attorneys, PLLC. Mr. Lavine served in the U.S. Department of Energy as Deputy General Counsel for Environment & Nuclear Programs during the administration of President George W. Bush.
- · Seymour Knox IV. Mr. Knox is the CEO of Knox International, LLC, a New York based private equity firm. For 20 years, Mr. Knox served as Vice President of Corporate Relations for the Buffalo Sabres.
Senate Majority Leader Skelos’ appointments are:
- · Mary Lou Rath. Ms. Rath represented the 61st district in Western New York from 1993 until her retirement in 2008. She was the first woman to serve in a leadership position in the Senate Majority and had numerous legislative accomplishments throughout her tenure, especially in the areas of health care and Medicaid reform.
- · Judge Joseph Covello. Judge Covello has more than 30 years of experience in law and justice. Justice Covello stepped down from the New York State Appellate Division in 2011 to return to private practice. He spent 16 years on the bench, authoring many notable opinions.
- · George H. Weissman. Mr. Weissman served as the Managing General Counsel of the New York State Dormitory Authority for nearly a decade and as Assistant Counsel in the Office of the State Comptroller. His previous positions also included working as Program Associate for the state Senate, and Counsel with the New York State Legislative Commission on Critical Transportation Choices.
Assembly Speaker Silver’s appointments are:
- · Pat Bulgaro. Mr. Bulgaro has more than twenty-five years of state government experience, serving at the highest levels of several state agencies, including the Department of Taxation and Finance and the Division of the Budget, where he served as director under former Governor Mario Cuomo.
- · Marvin Jacob. Mr. Jacob, a retired attorney, was a partner in the Business and Finance & Restructuring Department of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he handled matters before the bankruptcy courts and federal district and appellate courts. He has corporate bankruptcy litigation experience, serving such institutional clients as General Electric Capital Corporation and Credit Suisse First Boston.
- · Ellen Yaroshefsky. Ms. Yaroshefsky is currently a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, co-executive director of the Jacob Burns Ethics Center in the Practice of Law, and a former adjunct professor at Fordham Law School. She is an experienced attorney specializing in defense and civil rights litigation, and is a member of several attorney ethics review organizations, including the American Bar Association’s Ethics, Gideon and Professionalism Committee, the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Standards of Attorney Conduct, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Ethics Advisory Committee.
Senate Democratic Leader John L. Sampson’s appointment is:
- · Ravi Batra. Mr. Batra is an attorney with a private practice. He has served as a professor of business law at Pace University. Mr. Batra has also served as the Chair of the Judicial Independence Committee of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.
Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb’s appointment is:
- · David A. Renzi. Mr. Renzi is a partner in the law firm of Brown, Dierdorf and Renzi. He has been with this Watertown firm since 2002. The firm is recognized for their expertise in the areas of real estate, business formation, estate planning, and municipal practice.
JCOPE has jurisdiction to investigate and impose penalties on executive branch employees and lobbyists. JCOPE also has jurisdiction to investigate potential violations of law by legislators and legislative employees and, if violations are found, issue findings to the Legislative Ethics Commission, which will have jurisdiction to impose penalties. Any potential violations of federal or state criminal laws will be referred to the appropriate prosecutor for further action.