On Friday July 8, 2022, the new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government will take the place of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, and the JCOPE website will transition into the new Commission’s website, at ethics.ny.gov.
Information for Online Lobbying Filers:
- Filers who utilize the Lobbying Application (‘LA’) may access ‘LA’ directly from the my.ny.gov homepage at https://my.ny.gov/, or through the Commission’s website.
- Users who attempt to access the Lobbying Application outside my.ny.gov will be notified the Application has moved, so filers are advised to review their existing bookmarks and update from https://webapps.jcope.ny.gov/LA/ to https://my.ny.gov/ if needed.
- Filers will not be required to change or update their existing NY.gov username or password to continue accessing ‘LA’.
- Filers should anticipate agency labeling changes in the Lobbying Application; however, all existing functions and statutory filing due dates will remain.
- Any information or filings saved in the Lobbying Application prior to July 8th will remain accessible after the transition.
Information for PDF ‘Paper’ Filers:
- Certain PDF forms will be rebranded and available on the new Commission website on July 8th, including:
- Lobbying Agreement Forms (Retained, Employed and Unexecuted)
- Lobbyist Bi-Monthly and Disbursement of Public Monies Bi-Monthly reports.
- All other Lobbying PDFs will be rebranded and made available as soon as possible after the July 8th transition.
- Please note that PDF forms will be rebranded only, with the new Commission’s logo and contact information replacing JCOPE’s; all reportable information will remain the same.
- If available, Filers are encouraged to use new forms with the new Commission logo for any PDFs submitted on or after July 8th; however, PDF forms with the JCOPE branding will continue to be accepted for filings due and submitted through the month of August.
Payments to the Commission
- Online filers may continue to pay filing fees for Registrations and Client Semi-Annual reports by credit card, check or money order using the Lobbying Application.
- Checks or money orders submitted on or after July 8th, including payments for filing fees or late fees, should be made payable to the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government (NYS); however, the Commission will continue to accept payments to JCOPE for a reasonable time period.
Contacting Commission Staff
Filers may continue to utilize existing JCOPE email addresses and phone numbers to contact staff with any filing-related questions or concerns.
Website and Online Systems Briefly Offline for Transition
The JCOPE website and its affiliated online applications are all scheduled to transition during the early hours of July 8th; as such, filers should refrain from utilizing the online systems from July 7th at midnight to July 8th at 10 a.m.
Although the password requirements for the current FDS system, which is accessed through New York government (“NY.gov”) accounts, are much more rigorous than those that were in effect 2015 and earlier, and all passwords must be changed annually – i.e., FDS filers have been required to use more complex passwords and to make multiple password changes over the intervening years – as yet another precaution, NY.gov accounts that matched against the obsolete FDS accounts were promptly flagged for a forced password reset on next login.
Finally, an extensive, in depth and lengthy forensic analysis by NYS OITS confirms that there is no evidence that JCOPE’s current system for the filing of Financial Disclosure Statements – which, by law, are available to the public – was improperly accessed at any time.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“JCOPE”) today announced that it has provided required notice to the people whose emails/usernames and passwords were contained in a file that was improperly accessed in the February cyber security incident that led to the temporary shutdown of JCOPE’s Lobbying Application (“LA”) and Online Financial Disclosure Statement (“FDS”) systems. The body of that notice letter follows.
We are writing to inform you that we have identified a security incident in which information technology systems at the Joint Commission on Public Ethics were breached. As a result, we have reason to believe that a file containing your email/username and password for the JCOPE Legacy (pre-2015) Financial Disclosure System was improperly accessed. The Legacy FDS filing system was in place to maintain annual Financial Disclosure Statements made by state employees and officials until its replacement in 2015. Once evidence of possible file access of usernames and passwords used in the Legacy system was discovered, all passwords for the current FDS filing system were reset as a precautionary measure. Nevertheless, we understand that it is common practice for individuals to use the same password across multiple websites and applications. As a result, we urge you to immediately change your password on any other sites on which this password may have been reused and to always utilize complex passwords that do not repeat across different platforms.
In addition, we strongly encourage you to examine the resources available through a number of governmental entities. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) website (www.identitytheft.gov) includes comprehensive information concerning precautionary measures that may be taken to minimize risks, including contact information for major credit reporting bureaus. You may also contact the FTC by calling (202) 326-2222 or toll-free at (877) 438-4338. The New York State Attorney General’s office can also provide important information about monitoring your accounts for fraudulent activity (www.ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/identity-theft) and can be reached at 1-(800)-771-7755.
We understand the importance of safeguarding your information and are taking steps to minimize the future likelihood of a security incident, including ongoing system vulnerability testing, security logging and preventative measures, continued information technology systems monitoring, and other appropriate safeguards.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Any filings due between February 17 and March 9 will be automatically granted an extension to March 31. Additionally, the March 15 lobbying bi-monthly report deadline is also extended to March 31.
The information security officials at ITS have completed their forensic review process, which attempts to retrace the malicious activity step-by-step. Although no direct or circumstantial evidence of any unauthorized access of user data or credit card information has been found, any evidence or other indication suggesting unlawful use of user information will be handled in accordance with state cyber-security laws.
JCOPE will continue to work with other state agencies, including the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection, to ensure that any affected users are contacted and all legal obligations are met.
On December 1, 2021, New York State will upgrade security protections to our websites and applications. Access to government websites and applications will now require the use of up-to-date and secure web browsers. If you are using an older web browser, you will need to upgrade to a current web browser prior to December 1. To verify that your browser meets the new requirements, visit https://encryption.ny.gov.
The following popular web browsers are among many capable of supporting up-to-date security protocols:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 11
Microsoft Edge version 12 and above
Google Chrome version 30 and above
Mozilla Firefox 27 and above
Opera 17 and above
Apple Safari 7 and above
At its July 2021 meeting, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (“Commission”) approved a new communications policy to authorize the release of information about the status of investigations in limited circumstances. The policy was set as part of an effort to improve public awareness of Commission activities and address or correct inaccuracies in the public arena about those activities.
Under this new policy, the Commission has authorized staff, when the existence of a complaint or matter is already public and certain other conditions are met, to:
- Publicly acknowledge receipt of a complaint (the complaint itself, including the identity of the complainant if not public, remains a confidential record and cannot be disclosed);
- Publicly acknowledge that a matter is pending before JCOPE for the duration of the matter;
- Publicly acknowledge that a matter is no longer pending before JCOPE after it has been closed for any reason; and
- Publicly acknowledge if the Commission has received a request from law enforcement to defer its inquiry in a matter.
The Commission must still rigorously adhere to the confidentiality provisions in Executive Law, but it hopes that this will improve understand of its process and activities.