State's Ethics Commission Under Review

Government reform groups and the bar association have teamed up to conduct a survey on how to improve the troubled state ethics commission. 

The New York City Bar Association is working with groups like the League of Women Voters and Common Cause to survey the effectiveness of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, known as JCOPE. Evan Davis is a former counsel to Governor Mario Cuomo, the current governor’s father, and he’s heading the effort. Davis helped craft ethics reform laws over two decades ago.

“What we’re asking people about what they see are the strengths, the weaknesses, the successes, the things that didn’t go so well,” Davis said. “Thoughts about restraints about their ability to do the job as well as people might want.”  

Davis says he’s reserving judgment for now on whether the ethics commission is working as well as it could, but he concedes if it were operating perfectly, there wouldn’t be any need for a survey.