Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
By Yasmeen Khan
The members of New York's new ethics panel, named Monday by Governor Andrew Cuomo, reported for their first day of work on Tuesday. The 14-member Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE, replaces the state's Commission on Public Integrity which officially went out of business more than three months ago (critics say that panel, created by Eliot Spitzer in 2007, was too tightly controlled by the governor).
Governor Cuomo touts JCOPE as "an independent monitor that will aggressively investigate corruption and help maintain integrity in state government." Here's a quick overhead view on how JCOPE will work:
A number of good government groups agree that the panel, created under the Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011, has the potential to take a more aggressive approach than its predecessor because of three key changes:
"In terms of whether a commission is going to be more or less effective, in the end it really is largely dependent on the people who are on the commission, and certainly I'm encouraged by the people who have been appointed," said Lawrence Norden, acting director of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice. "There's a lot of experience there, and so there's reason to be optimistic."
Norden also said he is pleased that the Public Integrity Reform Act calls for a review of JCOPE in 2015. "I'm hopeful that we're not going to see an entire rewriting of who is overseeing Albany," he said.