Common Cause/NY Statement on JCOPE Investigation

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Susan Lerner

September 7, 2012


Common Cause/NY Statement on JCOPE Investigation

Responding to press reports in the New York Times, New York Post, and others that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will not be investigating Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Assembly’s role in the sexual harassment claims against Vito Lopez, Common Cause/NY Executive Director, Susan Lerner, released the following statement:

“If the assertion reported in the press is true, that JCOPE will not be investigating the Assembly Speaker and staff’s role in covering up prior sexual harassment claims against Vito Lopez, then JCOPE will have failed its first test as an independent oversight body. Any pretension toward progress in cleaning up New York State government is directly contradicted by this failure to investigate the full extent of the violations of the Public Officers Law that Common Cause/NY and NOW-NYC have alleged in their sworn complaint to the Commission. This confirms the worst fears which Common Cause/NY and others have had, that the Commission is set up in a way that encourages gridlock designed to protect powerful elected officials rather than guaranteeing effective independent oversight that holds them accountable – or fully clears them – of any violations of their ethical and legal obligations. We urge JCOPE to right this error when the Commission next convenes.”