CUOMO-CONTROLLED JCOPE IS A CORRUPT, POLITICAL ARM OF THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE
So-Called Ethics Watchdog Breaking its Own Laws to Protect Cuomo’s Crimes
New York–September 19th…JCOPE is a corrupt, political arm of Andrew Cuomo that is breaking state law by burying the Cuomo Administration’s clear violations of the Public Officers Law of abusing state resources for political purposes, the NYGOP today charged.
Andrew Cuomo and Joe Percoco’s crimes are going unprosecuted because JCOPE, state’s so-called ethics investigation body, has failed to properly investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes brought to their attention through formal complaints. JCOPE’s Executive Director is Cuomo’s former counsel and nearly half of the board’s commissioners are appointed by the Governor.
The NYGOP was recently forced to file an Article 78 lawsuit against JCOPE after months of silence for failure to comply with rules on investigations. The law dictates they are required to vote on whether to conduct a probe within 60 days of receiving a sworn complaint.
Now, a new Times Union report revealed that neither the Cuomo’s Administration nor the Cuomo campaign have received the required contact from JCOPE. When a sworn complaint is filed with JCOPE, the law explicitly requires the agency to send any subject of such an ethics complaint a letter outlining possible legal violations, and giving them 15 days to respond.
“There is no longer any doubt that JCOPE is a corrupt, political arm of Andrew Cuomo complicit in covering up his crimes,” said NYGOP Chairman Ed Cox. “Cuomo shut down the Moreland Commission that he couldn’t control when it began investigating him, and JCOPE was his designed replacement. We are in a stunning state of peril when the Governor, his aides, and the state’s so-called ethics body can openly break laws that go unpunished. There needs to be accountability—now.”
The NYGOP filed a formal complaint with JCOPE in February following hard evidence that came out of the corruption trial of Cuomo’s associates and investigative reporting by the Times Union that proved Cuomo’s campaign was, in part, being conducted out of the New York City Executive Chamber offices at 633 Third Avenue with calls being made to Cuomo’s fundraisers, campaign consultants and election lawyers. Cuomo himself was in the office, just steps from Joe Percoco on many of the occasions, including during the same timeframe Percoco illegally ordered the state’s economic development agency to rescind project labor agreements for the Governor’s donors who were awarded the corrupt project.
JCOPE offered no credible explanation for the failure to act under the state law that governs its operations. The NYGOP also noted, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has publicly commented that his Buffalo Billion investigation that led to the sweeping convictions of Cuomo’s associated was initiated based on information revealed through reporting done by Jim Heaney of the Investigative Post.