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.
The role of the Communications and Public Information Office is to oversee the Commission’s external communications, including press releases; annual reports; filing reminders to lobbyists, their clients, and public corporations; the release of public information; content on the Commission’s website; requests for public records; and public meetings. The publicly available information released by the office is based on the Commission's regulations in 19 NYCRR Part 937, which can be found on our Commission Regulations page.
Inquiries can be made directly to the office at (518) 486-7842 or by email at [email protected]