In addition, JCOPE will be resuming its Lobbying Random Audit Program. Anyone who was already engaged in that process will be contacted separately. Despite that, JCOPE's operations will continue to be reduced for the time being.
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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.