The Joint Commission on Public Ethics today announced that a former Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) employee violated State ethics laws by consulting and seeking State grants for a private health care company while she was also employed by the State.
S. Helen Daniels, the former director of the ESDC’s Affirmative Action Unit, admitted to violating State Public Officers Law §73(7)(a) and agreed to pay a $5,000 fine as part of a settlement with the Joint Commission. Daniels, who held the director position from 1999 until she retired in 2012, admitted that in 2009 she entered into a $15,000 contract with CarePath, a now-defunct New York City-based health care software company, to represent them before State government.
The contract was for Daniels to help CarePath obtain State grants and contracts through the executive and legislative branches of State government. CarePath had also previously retained professional lobbyists to facilitate the renewal of a State contract for its web-based software, according to the Joint Commission’s lobbying database.
“The law is clear. Individuals may either choose public service or work as a lobbyist for a private company, but they cannot choose both,” said Commission Executive Director Letizia Tagliafierro. “Ms. Daniels violated both the letter and spirit of the law.”
Public Officers Law §73(7)(a) bars a state employee from receiving compensation for services related to – among other things – grants or contracts from the State.