Albany’s getting a new ethics watchdog to replace JCOPE — but JJOKE’s on us!

Albany’s getting a new ethics watchdog to replace JCOPE — but JJOKE’s on us!

New Yorkers can bid a not-so-fond farewell to the Joint Fee on Public Ethics. The state ethics watchdog, which was deeply hobbled by its members’ ties to the lawmakers who appointed them, held its final assembly Tuesday. Good riddance.

JCOPE’s 11-year tenure was marked by in-fighting and will by no means be taken critically (it was derisively referred to as JJOKE) as a examine on authorities’s moral lapses. Ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders made certain of that by placing hacks in cost.

And certain sufficient, Cuomo was in a position to breeze by means of an ethically tarred tenure till he was compelled out not by JCOPE however by Legal professional Basic Tish James, livid lawmakers and outrage from the general public (together with us).

This yr, Gov. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature created a brand new 11-member Fee on Ethics and Lobbying in Authorities, which can change JCOPE starting this month. But the brand new group suffers from the identical fundamental flaw as its predecessor: the folks its members are presupposed to police — i.e., Hochul, lawmakers and their staffs — are the very ones who’ll appoint them.

Sure, the deans of 15 regulation colleges will now be charged with vetting nominees to guarantee their “undisputed honesty, integrity and character.” And the nominating committee can reject candidates it finds missing.

That’s an enchancment, however the governor and legislative leaders will nonetheless get to decide on the “cops” who’ll police them. Commissioners chosen that method will at all times be tainted by the looks of an absence of independence.

New York deserves higher than to be the nationwide laughingstock it’s lengthy been in terms of its political leaders and their ethics. Alas, if the brand new watchdog suffers from the identical built-in downside because the previous one, how can anybody count on moral requirements to be any higher?

About Muji Sakawari

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