Montesano Calls for Investigation into JCOPE Leak

Assemblyman Michael Montesano (R,C,I,LBT-Glen Head) has been joined by his Minority Conference colleagues with the Assembly Judiciary Committee in sending a letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James to request an investigation be opened into the leaks from a Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) meeting in January 2019 to Gov. Cuomo. The meeting was to decide whether or not to launch an investigation into a former top aide of the governor, Joseph Percoco.

“In a time where scandal seems to follow the governor, it is disheartening to see nothing come of this issue,” said Montesano. “To leak information about a JCOPE meeting is a misdemeanor, as they are confidential. We should not be letting instances like this slide, and I am extremely disappointed that it has been over two years and nothing has been done to hold anyone responsible for this leak. The members of JCOPE do not deserve to be bullied by the governor or even worried about his potential reaction to what are supposed to be confidential votes. We must fix this issue immediately so that it doesn’t happen again in the future.”

Recently, it has been disclosed by Commissioner Jim Yates, that within an hour of the vote, the governor found out how the commissioners voted and was not pleased with those who favored launching the investigation. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has admitted to the governor contacting him after the vote to complain about how his appointees voted. Both Yates and another Heastie appointee, Julie Garcia, reported this leak to the state Inspector General’s Office. To date, nothing has come of this issue.

“When a commission, such as JCOPE, meets to discuss confidential matters, leaks cannot be tolerated. In order to restore any degree of public trust, action must be taken to investigate any outstanding leaks — especially those relating to JCOPE, the entity that is charged with monitoring these very ethics,” said Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston).“For over a year and a half, no action has been taken to address the leak we have called into question. It’s well past time to launch a full and thorough investigation into this very serious breach of public trust.” 

“If we are going to maintain the integrity of our state government and the processes of justice, we must launch an investigation regarding leaks from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) from January 2019 to Gov. Cuomo. For two years we have been waiting for answers, it's time we got them,” said Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R,C,I-Staten Island/Brooklyn).

“Allowing an in-depth investigation into the leaks from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) from January 2019 to Gov. Cuomo is crucial to upholding the legitimacy of our state government. The commissioners and members of JSCOPE should not have to worry about facing negative repercussions from the governor for simply looking for answers,” said Assemblyman Keith Brown (R,C,I-Northport).

For a copy of the letter, please click here.