On March 26, 2007, the Public Employee Ethics Reform Act (PEERA) of 2007 became law. It is the most comprehensive modification to the lobbying and ethics laws in more than 20 years, combining the staffs, jurisdictions, powers, duties and functions of the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying and the State Ethics Commission, into the New York State Commission on Public Integrity, which was created by PEERA and made operational on September 24, 2007.
The new law quadruples penalties for certain violations, reduces the gift ban from $75 to gifts of "nominal" value, bans honoraria for statewide elected officials and agency heads, prohibits the heads of State agencies from seeking nomination for public office without first resigning their public employment or taking a leave of absence, requires reports of lobbying involving disbursement of public monies and prohibits lobbyists from giving gifts not only to public officials, but also to their spouses and unemancipated children.
It also prohibits nepotism, limits the influence of politics in decisions to hire or promote State employees and to award State contracts and extends the Commission's enforcement jurisdiction to these areas. The statute prohibits elected officials from appearing in any advertisements paid for with public funds and provides the Commission with jurisdiction over closely affiliated not-for-profit corporations established under the State Finance Law to assist State agencies in carrying out their mission.
As did its two predecessor commissions, the Commission on Public Integrity will continue to appoint staff, adopt rules and regulations, review financial disclosure statements, audit registration statements, receive complaints and referrals alleging violations of laws, conduct investigations and hearings, impose civil penalties, make referrals to other oversight bodies, advise agencies of the State in establishing rules and regulations, render advisory opinions on the requirements of the law, and conduct training programs.
All of the matters pending within the two previous Commissions are being conducted and completed without interruption by the Commission on Public Integrity, and the process of integrating the staffs of the prior commissions into a unified staff of the Commission on Public Integrity has been a great success. In short, there has been no pause in any of the Commission's investigative, education and training responsibilities or review of disclosure filings by Executive Branch personnel, lobbyists and their clients.
The Commission will continue to build on the strong foundations established by its predecessor commissions. There is much to be done and much already has been accomplished. The Commission must undertake a comprehensive review of all regulations and opinions issued by the previous commissions and determine the consistency of such regulations and opinions among each other and with PEERA's provisions. The Commission must report, by April 1, 2008, to the Legislature and Governor regarding its review, and propose any regulatory changes and issue any opinions necessitated by PEERA's enactment. These tasks are well underway as this publication goes to press.
Because the Ethics and Lobbying Commissions ceased to exist in 2007, this report will include information on their respective activities as well as the work of the Commission on Public Integrity since its beginning on September 24, 2007.
Both the Ethics Commission and the Lobbying Commission had training units, which were combined under the aegis of the Commission on Public Integrity. Education and training remain key components of the Commission's mission.
In 2007, both the Lobbying and the Ethics Commission staffed information tables at the Empire State Plaza Concourse in Albany and that program continues under the Commission on Public Integrity. Since approximately 10,000 State employees work at the complex, this is a low-cost way for Commission staff to reach out to the State workforce, as well as to the many members of the public and lobbyists who visit the Concourse each year. In addition to answering individual questions, staff provides copies of brochures and may offer demonstrations of the electronic filing system. Hundreds of State employees and visitors to the Plaza stop by each year to ask questions and pick up published material about our work.
The State Ethics Officers Association held a meeting in Albany with 85 officers in attendance. Topics included a discussion of the Public Employee Ethics Reform Act of 2007, "The Role of the State Inspector General" and "A Day in the Life of an Ethics Officer: Implementing an Ethics Officer's Program from the Ground Up."
The conference provides ethics officers an opportunity to meet their counterparts and enhance inter-agency cooperation in the ethics area such as sharing experiences regarding ethics training and training resources.
The Commission conducted 217 training sessions for 8,653 employees in 2007. Staff also conducted 16 sessions of a two-credit continuing legal education (CLE) course entitled "Public Section Ethics for Lawyers" which were attended by 460 people.
At the request of the agencies involved, the Commission provided additional training about the electronic filing system on-site.
In addition, staff worked with the Governor's Office of Employee Relations to provide information about the post-employment requirements of the ethics laws to approximately 450 State employees.
The Commission conducted training sessions for 63 lobbyists and clients. In addition, the Commission used "electronic blasts" to distribute information to lobbyists and clients more effectively. These "e-blasts" are essentially a monthly newsletter that include a topic of relevant interest, report due dates, and other news regarding the Commission. The e-blasts are e-mailed monthly to all lobbyists and clients who have signed up to receive this alert.
The Ethics Commission has presented the 7th annual Theodore Roosevelt Ethics Award to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in recognition of its outstanding commitment to ethics in State government. The Theodore Roosevelt Ethics Award will continue under the Commission on Public Integrity in recognition of the accomplishments of State agencies in the field of ethics.
When presenting the award, John D. Feerick, Chair of the Ethics Commission, said, "This year, the Theodore Roosevelt Award is given not just for meeting the usual criteria - for the work of the ethics officer, for training, for compliance with financial disclosure, among other reasons. This year the award also recognizes the turnaround that has occurred at the agency. There is now mandatory training for all managers and senior staff, and a growing staff of individuals who are involved in training and procurement and giving advice."
Elliot G. Sander, MTA Executive Director and CEO, said, "The MTA's transportation network provides a critical public service to more than 8 million people each day, and we owe it to ourselves and our customers to maintain the highest ethical standards. I would like to thank the Ethics Commission for this award, which I am extremely proud to accept on behalf of the MTA. It is proof that at the MTA ethical guidelines are taken extremely seriously throughout the agency."
The MTA received a plaque inscribed with the following quote from former Governor of New York President Theodore Roosevelt: "We can afford to differ on the currency, the tariff, and foreign policy; but we cannot afford to differ on the question of honesty if we expect our republic permanently to endure."
The MTA was selected for the award based on several criteria, including:
The Lobbying Commission was charged with the enforcement of the Lobbying Act, covering lobbyists and their clients. There were more than 16,072 legislative bills before the Legislature and 1,661 rules, regulations, and rates pending before State agencies. The Commission on Public Integrity's monitoring responsibilities extends to those active on any local law, ordinance, rule, regulation and rate pending before a municipality or subdivision thereof. In 2007, 496 registrations were filed for lobbyists active on local issues. The Commission also covers those attempting to influence determinations by a state or local public official relating to governmental procurement on both a State and municipal level. There were 209 registrations filed for lobbyists active on procurement; another 654 registrations were amended or filed by lobbyists active on both procurement and non-procurement.
Staff works with lobbyists and clients, to the fullest possible extent, to obtain compliance. This is done through outreach and education programs as described earlier in this report.
Lobbying activity in the Legislature and State agencies is monitored to detect non-registered special interest groups. In the Legislature, budget bills and other issues are identified to determine if any unregistered party has attempted to influence legislative action. In State agencies, Notices of Appearance submitted pursuant to Section 166 of the Executive Law are reviewed by Commission staff for unregistered lobbying activity. During the past year, the Program Operations Unit opened 106 inquiries into unregistered lobbying activities; 9 registrations were filed as a result of the inquiries, and 13 cases remain pending.
The Commission conducts a Random Audit Program that provides, as required by statute, an independent and objective evaluation of reports and registration statements filed by lobbyists and their clients. An outside accounting entity monitors this program and certifies its compliance with the Act's provisions. In 2007, the Commission conducted 450 audits. Of those audited, 25 resulted in formal findings, 283 resulted in informal findings (i.e., minor errors, discrepancies and recommendations), and 20 were referred to Counsel for further action.
There were 5,357 lobbyists registered with the Commission in 2007, representing 3,271 clients. During this same period, there were 57 public corporations registered. Groups attempting to influence government continue to spend ever-increasing amounts of money to get their point of view across to State and local decision-makers. According to semi-annual reports filed with the Commission for the 2007 calendar year, $171.2 million was spent on lobbying, up from $151 million the previous year. (See chart on following page.)
The Public Employee Ethics Reform Act of 2007 made changes to the laws relating to both the Lobbying Commission and the Ethics Commission.
Penalties for violating certain sections of the law have been increased from $10,000 per violation to $40,000 per violation. The new legislation removed the $75 limit on gifts and now allows only gifts of "nominal" value. A summary of other major changes follows:
Legislative Law Section 1-e, was amended so that the lobbyist's statement of registration now includes not only the name, address and telephone number of the lobbyist, but, if the lobbyist is an organization, the name, address and telephone number of any officer or employee of the lobbyist who engaged in any lobbying activities or who is employed in an organization's division that engages in lobbying activities.
Legislative Law Section 1-l was changed to require reports of lobbying involving disbursement of public monies. Any lobbyist, who reasonably anticipates that during the year he or she will expend, incur or receive combined reportable compensation and expenses in an amount in excess of $5,000, now must file a report of any attempts to influence a determination by a public official, or by a person or entity working in cooperation with a public official, with respect to the solicitation, award or administration of a grant, loan, or agreement involving the disbursement of public monies in excess of $15,000 other than a governmental procurement.
Legislative Law Section 1-m was changed to prohibit gifts not only to public officials, but also to their spouses and unemancipated children.
A new subdivision, Public Officers Law Section 73(5-a), bans honoraria for statewide elected officials and agency heads. Section 73(8) was amended to extend the two year post- employment ban on members of the Executive Chamber to all State agencies. Previously, the ban applied only to appearance before the Executive Chamber, even if the State employee had regular dealings with other State agencies.
The law includes new sections dealing with nepotism, including Public Officers Law Section 73(14), which prohibits State employees from participating in any decision to hire, promote, discipline or discharge a relative, and Section 73(15), which prohibits awarding contracts to a relative or investing public funds in any security in which a relative has a financial interest.
Public Officers Law Section 73(16) prohibits anyone involved in the awarding of State grants or contracts from asking the political affiliation of a recipient, whether the recipient made a political contribution or cast a particular vote in an election.
Public Officers Law Section 73(17) prohibits asking a potential employee his or her political party affiliation, whether that applicant made any political contributions or how that applicant voted. It also prohibits inducing other State employees to make political contributions.
The law creates a new Public Officers Law Section 73-b which prohibits elected officials from appearing in any advertisements paid for with public funds.
Public Officers Law Section 74(1) was changed to extend the Commission's jurisdiction to closely affiliated not-for-profit corporations established under the State Finance Law to assist State agencies in carrying out their mission.
A new Public Officers Law Section 74(3) prohibits the heads of State agencies from seeking nomination for public office without first resigning their public employment or taking a leave of absence.
Penalties for violations of certain provisions of the Public Officers Law Section 74, the State Code of Ethics, now can be imposed by the Commission on Public Integrity. In the past, only a State employee's agency could impose penalties for violations of Section 74.
Finally, the new law allows the Commission on Public Integrity to impose penalties for violations of Civil Service Law Section 107, which protects State employees from discriminatory practices based on their political affiliations.
The Lobbying Commission's on-line Lobbyist Registration Application allows lobbyists and clients to register and report 24 hours a day via the Internet. Electronic filers may view the status of their filings online and make necessary changes immediately. Filers electing not to register and report electronically may still opt to send paper filings to the Commission for data department staff to enter electronically.
This online application has significantly improved public disclosure capabilities. An interactive query screen offers an extensive number of search criteria to group or locate lobbyist and client records. Seven different reports on lobbyists and clients are available online, to be selected, reviewed, printed or imported with up-to-date lobbying data, again at no cost.
This application is a great success:
Reviewing Statements & Reports Filed by Lobbyists, Clients & Public Corporations:
All statements and reports received by the Commission are reviewed to determine whether the information they contain is correct and complete. In 2007, over 38,000 completed electronic and paper filings and lobbying contracts were reviewed. Upon completion of a preliminary review, Commission staff utilizes various programs to verify the accuracy and completeness of reporting. The Discrepancy Investigation Program is one such program. It compares the compensation reported in a lobbyist's bimonthly report against that reported in the client's semi-annual report. In 2007, 343 discrepancies were investigated. This program also permits the Commission to verify the accuracy of information provided in both reports.
Reportable lobbying expenses, such as advertising, legislative receptions, and "lobby days" are independently monitored by Commission staff to ensure that the special interest groups funding such activities are registered and that the associated event costs are disclosed in lobbying reports. In 2007, $3,703,012 was reported for advertising expenses and over $1,728,233 was reported for event related expenses.
More than 26,000 people filed financial disclosure statements in 2007, with 84 per cent filing electronically, resulting in a substantial savings to the taxpayer and the Ethics Commission in terms of mailing and printing costs.
Financial disclosure also is required of the four Statewide elected officials (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller), the State chairs of recognized political parties and certain county chairs of these parties.
The statements include the names of spouse and unemancipated children, major assets, sources of income, liabilities, sources of gifts, reimbursements, interests in trust, deferred income, real property owned, offices held with a political party, any licenses from a State agency, and other information.
The Commission on Public Integrity may grant an exemption from filing to individuals who earn above the filing rate, but who have been determined by their agencies not to be policymakers. An exemption request may be submitted either by an individual, or by a State agency or employee organization on behalf of a group of individuals who share the same job title or employment classification. For an exemption to be granted, an individual's job duties may not involve the negotiation, authorization or approval of:
Financial disclosure statements are available for public inspection. However, the law requires that the value of certain income, assets and liabilities, each of which must be listed as being within a category based on a range of values, is not publicly available. The Public Employee Ethics Reform Act of 2007 requires that copies of the forms be made available. Previously, and consistent with a 1992 court decision, copies of the statements could not be removed from the Ethics Commission's offices; however, the public was allowed to examine the statements and take handwritten notes of their contents.
There were 41 requests to publicly inspect a total of 291 financial disclosure statements.
The Public Advisory Council ("PAC") was a separate entity within the Ethics Commission. State officers and employees could apply to the PAC to have material in their financial disclosure statements either deleted for the purpose of public inspection or, in the case of information about their spouse or children, exempted from reporting to the Commission. The Public Employee Ethics Reform Act eliminated the PAC and gave its duties to the Executive Director of the Commission on Public Integrity.
The five members of the PAC were appointed by the Governor, with one member nominated by the Attorney General and another by the Comptroller. The Governor designated the chair. The Public Advisory Council was comprised of Howard M. Koff, Chair, and Harlan B. Gingold, Michael N. Connors, and Robert N. Swidler, members.
To apply for either deletion of information or exemption from reporting, filers now must submit one completed financial disclosure statement to the Executive Director of the Commission on Public Integrity along with a statement explaining why they seek to have certain information deleted or exempted from reporting. The filers are required to show that the responses to the questions that are the subject of the request have no material bearing on the discharge of their official duties. Filers also must include a copy of their job description or a statement outlining their job duties.
The Ethics Commission opened 38 cases in 2007 and issued three Notices of Reasonable Cause, a public document alleging a violation of the law. If, at any stage of an investigation prior to the issuance of such a Notice, the Commission determines either there is no violation or that any potential conflict of interest has been rectified, it notifies the complainant and the subject of the complaint. Pursuant to State law, it must then keep the investigation confidential. The Commission may investigate alleged violations of the law either on its own initiative or upon receiving a sworn complaint.
The Commission has determined that, while serving as an Executive Chamber employee, she was compensated for an appearance before the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation ("OPRHP") to obtain grants of money for the Museum in her separate capacity as President of The Museum of Women, the Leadership Center.
The Commission also determined that she violated the law's lifetime bar when, after leaving State service and as a compensated employee of the Museum, subsequently appeared, practiced, communicated and/or otherwise rendered services, before OPRHP in relation to the Museum grant administered by OPRHP, a matter in which she was directly concerned and personally participated during her State employment.
On February 8, 2008, the Commission on Public Integrity approved a settlement agreement of $15,000.
The Lobbying Commission opened 54 investigations in 2007 and closed 60. The Commission reached 172 settlements for a total of $51,600, and conducted 17 hearings which resulted in civil assessments of $9,000.
However in 2004, UW-NYC employed an in-house lobbyist. Under the Lobbying Act, UW-NYC was required to file a lobbyist statement of registration disclosing lobbying activities of its in-house lobbyist, but did not do so.
Until early 2007, UW-NYC was unaware that it was required to file separate registrations for in-house lobbyists. On its own volition, UW-NYC apprised the Commission that it should have been registered as a lobbyist commencing in 2004, and then so registered for the applicable years.
Altogether, UW-NYC failed to file 3 statements of registration, 18 bimonthly reports and three client semi-annual reports. The Commission approved a $5,000 settlement resolving these violations.
During negotiations, new management at ESBDA filed all outstanding reports. ESBDA also completed the Civil Penalty Remedial Filing Program.
Altogether, ESBDA failed to file one statement of registration, nine bimonthly reports and two client semi-annual reports. The Commission approved a $1,000 settlement resolving these violations.
On September 6, 2005, the Commission began an investigative audit of Susquehanna Railway's 2004 and 2005 client semi-annual reports by requesting the production of any and all documents referring to expenses associated with the 2004 and 2005 Hall of Fame weekends. The purpose of this investigative audit was to ensure that Susquehanna Railway's 2004 and 2005 client semi-annual reports were in full compliance with the Lobbying Act, given the potential that lodging and other illegal gifts may have been provided to public officials in violation of the Lobbying Act. The Lobbying Commission requested that these documents be delivered by October 6, 2005. Susquehanna failed to voluntarily produce these documents. The Commission issued a subpoena and litigation ensued.
On October 12, 2006 the Albany County Supreme Court issued a decision and order granting the Commission's motion to compel compliance with the subpoenas issued to Susquehanna Railway and its officers. In lieu of producing the documents, the Commission negotiated a settlement, the terms of which require that Susquehanna Railway amend and/or file for the first time client semi-annual reports for the applicable years reporting the expenses that could be apportioned to public officials.
The Commission approved a $75,000 settlement resolving the false filing of the client semi-annual reports and illegal gifts in the applicable years.
At the Commission's request, ACG amended its registrations for the applicable years with contracts that authorized lobbying activity throughout the entire years, thus remedying the past violations of the Lobbying Act. ACG also has submitted a new contract for its 2007-08 Registration, which includes a contract authorizing lobbying activity throughout the entire calendar year.
Altogether, ACG failed to timely file six statements of registration and amendments and one bimonthly report. The Commission approved a $2,500 settlement resolving all of these violations.
The Commission conducted an investigation into whether Jeffrey Gural should have been a registered lobbyist on behalf of American Racing, of which he is Chairman. Although unregistered, Mr. Gural admittedly lobbied the New York State Legislature in 2007 in connection to pending legislation on behalf of American Racing, expending in excess of $5,000 in expenses.
Mr. Gural agreed to register and submit the required reports for 2007. The Commission approved a $500 settlement resolving this late filing.
The Commission approved a $500 settlement resolving these violations.
As stated earlier, the law requires that until such time as the Commission issues a Notice of Reasonable Cause, all pending investigations are confidential. The Commission on Public Integrity currently has 120 investigations under consideration.
Executive Law 94(15) provides that, upon a written request from any person who is subject to the ethics law, the Ethics Commission can render advisory opinions on the requirements of the law that falls within its jurisdiction. This authority now belongs to the Commission on Public Integrity. These opinions, known as formal opinions, are binding on the Commission in any subsequent proceeding concerning the person who requested the opinion and who acted in good faith, unless material facts were omitted or misstated by the person in the request for an opinion.
The law allows the Commission to publish formal opinions, provided that the name of the requesting person and other identifying details are not included in the publication.
The Commission also issues informal opinions, which are not binding on the Commission but serve merely to advise the requesting individual of the requirements of the law. Informal opinions deal with issues that previously have been decided by the Commission. They are not made public.
A total of five formal opinions were issued in 2007; the first three by the Ethics Commission and the other two by the Commission on Public Integrity. The Lobbying Commission did not issue any opinions in 2007. A summary follows. For a more detailed discussion of the issues addressed by the Commission, please read the entire text of the opinions which are posted on the Commission's website.
Advisory Opinion No. 07-01: The University Counsel and Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs at the State University of New York ("SUNY"), asked about the application of the post-employment restrictions to a former State employee's present position as a Labor Relations Specialist ("LRS") with an association of unions. The employee formerly worked at the Governor's Office of Employee Relations ("GOER"), which represents the Governor in Executive Branch collective bargaining and negotiates and administers agreements between the State and a variety of labor organizations.
The Ethics Commission determined that the two-year bar prohibits the former State employee from appearing or practicing before GOER or from rendering compensated services on matters before GOER on behalf of the association for two years. The lifetime bar prohibits the former State employee from working on the same cases, proceedings, applications and transactions on which she worked while in State service. She is not precluded, after two years, from representing her employer in contract grievances or improper practice charges where such matters involve new parties, cases, proceedings, applications or transactions.
Advisory Opinion No. 07-02: A law firm who employs a former employee of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") and DEC's Acting General Counsel and Deputy Commissioner, asked whether the former employee is subject to the two-year bar restrictions of the Public Officers Law when his law firm is representing a private applicant for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need, pursuant to Article VII of the Public Service Law, and his former agency is a party to the proceeding.
The Commission determined that the former State employee may appear on behalf of a client in, or be compensated for services rendered in connection with, the adjudicatory phase of an Article VII proceeding, but may not request documents from DEC or engage in settlements or other discussions with DEC staff or attorneys before or after the Public Service Commission has rendered its decision.
Advisory Opinion No. 07-03: The standards for the proper use of State aircraft were requested when a trip by a State official involves both State and non-State business ("mixed-purpose trip").
The Ethics Commission concluded that when a State official uses State aircraft for a mixed-purpose trip, the following requirements must be met to satisfy the provisions of the Public Officers Law: (i) there must be a bona fide State purpose for the trip; (ii) the State purpose must be the primary reason for the trip; (iii) the public official must make an accurate apportionment of the time spent between State and non-State business and promptly reimburse the State for that portion of the trip not related to State business; (iv) such reimbursement must be based on current airplane charter costs, not commercial flight rates; and, (v) the State official must report to the Executive Chamber on the details of the activities engaged in by the official while on a mixed-purpose trip using State aircraft. This information is expected to be available to the public through a Freedom of Information Law ("FOIL") request, except to the extent the public disclosure would jeopardize the security of the public official.
Advisory Opinion No. 07-04: The Deputy Chair and Counsel to a State Board inquired about the application of Public Officers Law §74, the State Code of Ethics, to the duties and responsibilities of the Board's Chairman, Deputy Chair and Counsel and Board member with respect to their employment prior to being members of the Board.
The Commission on Public Integrity concluded that the Chairman and the Deputy Chair, who were full-time, in-house counsel to an employee organization, are required, as full-time State employees, to recuse themselves from all matters that come before the Board when that employee organization is a party. The Commission further concluded that the Board member, who was hired by another employee organization to represent three of its members in disciplinary matters, is not required, as a per diem Board member, to recuse himself from those matters when that second employee organization is a party in a matter before the Board.
Advisory Opinion No. 07-05: The Governor's Office requested clarification of Advisory Opinion No. 07-03, which pertains to the use of the State aircraft by public officials when a trip by the State official involves both State and non-State business.
The Commission on Public Integrity concluded that: (i) a State official will not be required to reimburse the State for incidental personal time or the time between government meetings; (ii) reimbursement is not required for time spent on non-State business, such as eating, sleeping or being with family, during multi-day trips provided that the standards in Advisory Opinion No. 07-03 are otherwise met; (iii) reimbursement is required for the staff of public officials who attend political events, unless they are required as part of their official duties to accompany the public official, such as security personnel; (iv) the State official must take steps to ensure that the State is correctly reimbursed for the use of State resources for non-State purposes, and must seek guidance from those authorities that regulate the use of campaign funds if seeking to reimburse from campaign funds; (v) if the aircraft is used for one-way of a trip, the official is to look to the cost that would be charged by a private charter company for a one-way trip comparable to the State official=s trip; and (vi) the unavailability of other modes of transportation is not relevant to the determination of whether reimbursement to the State is necessary when the State official, who is using State aircraft, attends political events during the trip.
The Lobbying Act established a bipartisan, independent Commission made up of six members. Of these members, the legislative leaders recommended nominees for appointment by the Governor. The other two members are appointed by the Governor and must be from different political parties. Members were named to two year terms of office. The Chair and Vice Chair were elected by the members of the Commission for a calendar year term and must also be from different political parties. Although Commission members were unsalaried, each member received a per diem allowance of $100 for each day actually spent in performance of their duties, with a maximum allowance of $5,000 annually. All meetings were open to the public.
The New York State Ethics Commission was an independent Commission created by the Ethics in Government Act of 1987. The Chair was named by the Governor. It was comprised of five Commissioners who served staggered five-year terms and who could not be removed except for substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office or inability to discharge their duties. They received neither a salary nor a per diem. All five were appointed by the Governor, with the requirement that one be nominated by the State Attorney General and another by the State Comptroller. Of the three directly appointed by the Governor, no more than two could be from the same political party and no more than one could be a public officer or employee. None of the Commissioners may hold office in any political party or be employed as a lobbyist. Since the law required that certain aspects of investigations and advisory opinions be kept confidential, the meetings of the Commission were not open to the public and were specifically exempt from the Open Meetings Law.
The Commission on Public Integrity consists of thirteen members who serve staggered, five-year terms: seven members, including the Chair, are selected by the Governor and six members are appointed by the Governor on the nomination of the Attorney General, the Comptroller, the Temporary President of the Senate, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Minority Leader of each house. No more than four of the seven members appointed by the Governor can belong to the same political party. No Commissioner may receive a salary or a per diem for his or her service on the Commission.
The Commission on Public Integrity operates under laws previously applicable to the Lobbying and Ethics Commissions. In particular, portions of meetings addressing lobbying-related matters are open and certain documents are subject to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). However, when the Commission addresses certain matters involving the Public Officers Law, those portions of the meetings are not open and relevant documents are not subject to FOIL. The Commission is committed to maintaining transparency without violating the confidentiality requirements of the law.
John D. Feerick is Chair of the Commission on Public Integrity. Dean Feerick was the Chair of the State Ethics Commission and serves as the Norris Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. He is also the Founder and Director of the Law School's Feerick Center for Social Justice and Dispute Resolution.
From 1982 to 2002, Mr. Feerick served as Dean of Fordham Law School. In addition, Dean Feerick has chaired the New York State Commission to Promote Public Confidence in Judicial Elections and previously served as a court-appointed Judicial Referee in the case of Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. New York State. From 1987 to 1990, serving as Special Deputy New York State Attorney General, Dean Feerick chaired the New York State Commission on Government Integrity that contributed to the adoption of the 1987 Ethics in Government Act.
Dean Feerick was a member of the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom from 1961 to 1982. He also participated in the formulation, adoption and implementation of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1967, which relates to presidential succession. Dean Feerick has been recognized for his extensive work in the field of government reform. He has been the recipient of honors and recognitions from various groups, including the American Bar Association, Common Cause, The League of Women Voters, and the New York Lawyers for Public Interest. He has received the highest awards from the New York State Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the New York County Lawyers' Association for his contributions to the legal profession.
Dean Feerick received his B.S. from Fordham College and his J.D. from Fordham Law School.
Daniel R. Alonso is a partner in the Litigation Department of Kaye Scholer LLP. Before joining Kaye Scholer, LLP, Mr. Alonso was Chief of the Criminal Division in the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. In that capacity, he supervised approximately 110 federal prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of a vast array of crimes, and personally handled many significant matters involving public corruption and fraud. From 1990 to1995, Mr. Alonso served as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office, where he handled white-collar criminal cases while assigned to the Frauds Bureau and the Special Prosecutions Bureau. He also served as a law clerk to Judge Joseph W. Bellacosa of the New York Court of Appeals.
Mr. Alonso is a four-time winner of the Justice Department's Director's Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and is a recipient of the Henry L. Stimson Medal, awarded by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York to outstanding Assistant U.S. Attorneys. He currently serves as the Chair of the Council on Criminal Justice of the New York City Bar Association, as a Director of the Fund for Modern Courts, and as a member of the Advisory Group to the New York State-Federal Judicial Conference.
Mr. Alonso received his B.A. from Cornell University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Virginia M. Apuzzo has served in a number of government positions at the State and federal level. She served in the administration of President Bill Clinton as Assistant to the President for Management and Administration, prior to which she was Associate Deputy Secretary in the United States Department of Labor, where she provided policy guidance and operating program direction to Assistant Secretaries and Office Directors on issues of national significance.
Before joining the federal government, Ms. Apuzzo was a Commissioner and President of the New York State Civil Service Commission, responsible for decision making affecting 189,000 State employees and 350,000 municipal employees, regarding titles, salary levels and minimum qualifications for classified service positions. Earlier, she had served as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal; Deputy Executive Director of the State Consumer Protection Board; Governor's Liaison to the Lesbian and Gay Community; Vice-Chair of the AIDS Advisory Council within the State Department of Health; Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Executive Director of the Fund for Human Dignity; Executive Director of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings for the City of New York; and Assistant Commissioner in the Office of Operations at the Department of Health for the City of New York.
She has been a Tenured Lecturer at the Brooklyn College School of Education. She received her B.S. from the State University of New York College of New Paltz and her M.S. in Urban Education from Fordham University.
John M. Brickman is a partner in the law firm of Ackerman, Levine, Cullen, Brickman & Limmer, LLP. He heads the firm's litigation group, practicing primarily in the area of commercial litigation. From 1971 to 1975, he served as Executive Director of the New York City Board of Correction, overseeing the operation of the New York City prison system. In addition, from 1991 to 2006, he was Adjunct Professor of Law at Touro College's Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.
Mr. Brickman is pro bono legal counsel to the Manhasset-Great Neck Community Service Center. He also serves as Chairman of the Correctional Association of New York, a Director of the Nassau Health Care Corporation, and a Director of the Levitt Foundation. From 1992 to 1994, he served as a Trustee of the Johns Hopkins University and President of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association.
Mr. Brickman received his undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University and his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Andrew G. Celli, Jr. is a founding partner in the Manhattan Law firm of Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady. From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Celli served as Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of the New York State Attorney General. Mr. Celli is a former associate at Cravath, Swaine and Moore and clerked for Judge Charles P. Sifton of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He has extensively experience in litigating commercial, civil rights and constitutional cases in State and federal courts.
In 2004, Mr. Celli was appointed as a member of the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying and served as the Commission's Vice-Chair. He is a graduate of Hobart College and New York University School of Law where he served as a member of the Law Review.
Richard D. Emery is a founding partner in the Manhattan Law firm of Emery, Celli, Brinckerhoff & Abady. His practice focuses on civil rights, election law, commercial litigation, intellectual property, and entertainment. Mr. Emery enjoys a national reputation as a litigator, trying cases at all levels, from the United States Supreme Court to federal and State appellate and trial courts in New York, Washington, D.C., California, Washington state, and others.
Prior to forming Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, Mr. Emery had his own firm and was a partner at Lankenau Kovner & Pickford, where he successfully challenged the structure of the New York City Board of Estimate under the one-person, one-vote doctrine, resulting in the Supreme Court's unanimous invalidation of the Board on constitutional grounds. Before then, he was a staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union and Director of the Institutional Legal Services Project in Washington state, which represented persons held in juvenile prison and mental health facilities. Mr. Emery served as law clerk to the Honorable Gus J. Solomon of the U.S. District Court for the district of Washington. Mr. Emery was a member of Governor Cuomo's Commission on Integrity in Government, sat on Governor Eliot Spitzer's Transition Committee for Government Reform Issues and was appointed to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct. He has also taught at the New York University and University of Washington schools of law.
Mr. Emery received the I Love an Ethical New York Award from Common Cause in October 2000. He received his B.A. from Brown University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.
Daniel J. French is a partner in the Syracuse firm of French-Alcott, PLLC. His practice includes complex civil litigation and criminal defense, along with a federal relations practice. Prior to forming French-Alcott, Mr. French was a member and later of counsel at Green & Seifter. Mr. French served as United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York where he was the Chief Federal Law Enforcement Officer for 32 of New York's 62 counties and served over 3.5 million state residents. He oversaw the work of 39 Assistant United States Attorneys located in Syracuse, Albany and Binghamton.
Previously, Mr. French served as an Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the criminal division in Syracuse and as a confidential Law Clerk to then United States District Court Judge Rosemary S. Pooler. In addition, Mr. French served as Acting Deputy Staff Director to the United States Senate Committee on Finance, Executive Assistant to United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and as a professional staff member to the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Mr. French is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association, the Onondaga County Bar Association and the Association of Former United States Attorneys. He also is a Trustee on the Board of the Federal Court Bar Association of the Northern District of New York.
He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Thousand Island Land Trust and Save the River.
He received his B.A. from the State University of New York College at Oswego and his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law.
Robert Giuffra is a partner in Sullivan & Cromwell LLP's Litigation Group. He is the Coordinator of Sullivan & Cromwell's Securities Litigation Practice, the Co-Head of Business Development and a member of the firm's Management Committee. He is President-Elect of the Federal Bar Council.
In 1998, Governor Pataki appointed Mr. Giuffra to serve as one of the five Commissioners of the New York State Ethics Commission, the predecessor agency of the Public Integrity Commission, and he served on the Ethics Commission until 2007. From 1995 to 1996, Mr. Giuffra was Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. From 1991 to 1992, while at Sullivan & Cromwell, he served as a Special Assistant District Attorney in New York County.
Mr. Giuffra clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the United States Supreme Court and Judge Ralph K. Winter, Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A resident of New York City, Mr. Giuffra received his bachelor's degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an Articles Editor for the Yale Law Journal.
David L. Gruenberg is a solo practitioner in Troy. From 1983 to 2004, he served as Senior Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He has also served as Counsel to Senator Joseph Bruno and Senator Roy Goodman. In addition, from 1984 to 2003, Mr. Gruenberg served as Counsel to the Majority in the Rensselaer County Legislature. He was an Assistant Public Defender in Rensselaer County from 1979 to 1982 and was an Assistant Attorney General with the New York State Office of the Attorney General from 1974 to 1977. Mr. Gruenberg established and staffed the Office of the Rensselaer County Conflict Defender. Mr. Gruenberg received his B.A. from Cornell University and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law.
Hon. James P. King retired as a Brigadier General from the United States Marine Corps after 22 years of active duty. In his last assignment, he was the Corps' top ranking member of JAG. His subsequent career has included positions as a law clerk and law professor at Stetson University Law School. In 1983, he was appointed an Assistant Attorney General and served there until 1990 when he ran for and was elected to the New York State Assembly. He was the ranking minority member of both the Codes Committee and the Legislative Ethics Committee.
In 1995 he was appointed as a Judge of the Court of Claims where he served until his retirement from the Bench in 2000. Shortly thereafter, he joined the New York Department of State as General Counsel. After his retirement in 2002, he continued his adjunct teaching position at Albany Law School and became the Government Law Center's first Government Lawyer in Residence. He currently is the Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Siena College. He served as a Commissioner on the Public Authorities Reform Commission and as member and Chair of the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying.
Judge King received a B.A. from Westminster College, an LLB from Albany Law School and an LLM from George Washington Law School.
Hon. Howard A. Levine is Senior Counsel at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna. From 1993 to 2002 he was an Associate Judge on the New York State Court of Appeals and from 2000 to 2002 he was Chair of the New York Federal-State Judicial Council. Judge Levine served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department from 1982 to 1993. In 1981, Judge Levine was a Justice of the State Supreme Court, Fourth Judicial District. Judge Levine also has been a Family Court Judge. Judge Levine was the District Attorney for Schenectady County from 1967 to 1970.
In 2000, Judge Levine was the recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Federal Commercial Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association and in 2003 he received its Annual Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service in the Law. Judge Levine received his B.A. and LLB from Yale University.
Loretta E. Lynch is a partner at Hogan & Hartson, LLP. Her practice focuses primarily on commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, and corporate compliance issues. From 1999 to 2001, Ms. Lynch served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. During her tenure, she oversaw an office of more than 150 attorneys who represented the federal government in both civil and criminal matters. Prior to being named U.S. Attorney, Ms. Lynch served as the Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. She also served as Chief of the office's Long Island office from 1994 to 1998, after serving as the Deputy Chief of General Crimes and as Chief of Intake and Arraignments for the district. Ms. Lynch has been a frequent instructor for the U.S. Department of Justice in their Criminal Trial Advocacy Program and has served as an Adjunct Professor at St. John's University School of Law. She has also participated in trial advocacy workshops for the prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and served as Special Counsel to the Prosecutor of the ICTR.
Ms. Lynch is a Member of the Boards of The Legal Aid Society, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the Office of the Appellate Defender and the National Institute for Law and Equity. Ms. Lynch is also a Member of the Board of Advisors for the Brennan Center for Justice, NYU School of Law. She is a former Member of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Ms. Lynch received her A.B. from Harvard College in 1981, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1984.
John T. Mitchell is of counsel to the law firm of Thorn Gershon Tymann & Bonanni, LLP. Prior to that, Mr. Mitchell was with the firms of Tobin and Dempf, LLP. Mr. Mitchell was Counsel to the Town of Bethlehem Planning Board from 1989 to1990 and was a member of the Planning Board in 1988.
Mr. Mitchell was a member of the New York State Public Employment Relations Board from 1999 to 2006. He is a founding member of the Albany County Bar Foundation, a past President of the Albany County Bar Association, and a past member of the House of Delegates of the New York State Bar Association.
He received his A.B. from Canisius College and his J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University.
Herbert Teitelbaum is the Executive Director of the Commission on Public Integrity.
John Feerick - See Biographies for Members of the Commission on Public Integrity.
Robert J. Giuffra, Jr. - See Biographies for Members of the Commission on Public Integrity.
Carl H. "Chip" Loewenson, Jr. is a partner with the Manhattan office of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Prior to joining the law firm, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 1985 through 1990. He also served for a year on the National Legal Staff of the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City as the Karpatkin Fellow from 1984 to 1985, and was a law clerk to United States Judge Frank Coffin of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1983 to 1984.
A New York City resident, Mr. Loewenson received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He received his law degree from Yale University Law School, where he was a Note Editor of the Yale Law Journal. In addition, he was a Fulbright Scholar and a visiting scholar at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.
Lynn Millane retired as a 15-year member of the Amherst Town Board which governs a community of over 120,000 residents. During this time she was the first woman on the board to hold each of the offices of Supervisor, Chief Fiscal Officer, Deputy Supervisor and Councilperson.
Mrs. Millane served two terms as a Director of the New York State Association of Large Towns where she represented the 8th Judicial District and has held executive positions on other community and governmental boards. Currently she serves as a Trustee of Daeman College in Amherst.
She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Buffalo and was inducted into Pi Lambda Theta National Honor Society in Education. A recipient of numerous awards for her volunteer and governmental services, she is listed in Marquis Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World and 2000 Notable American Women.
In 2003, Mrs. Millane was named a 2003 New York State "Woman of Distinction." The State Senate's "Women of Distinction" program was founded in 1998 to honor New York women who exemplify personal excellence, or whose professional achievements or acts of courage, selflessness, integrity, or perseverance serve as an example to all New Yorkers.
Paul L. Shechtman, the Commission Chair immediately prior to the appointment of John Feerick, is a partner in the law firm of Stillman, Friedman & Shechtman in New York City. He also served as Chair of the Temporary State Commission on Lobbying. From March 1995 until February 1997, he served as State Director of Criminal Justice and Commissioner of the State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
Mr. Shechtman was Chief of the Criminal Division for the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York from 1993 until 1995. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School since 1988.
He was counsel to Robert Morgenthau, Manhattan District Attorney, from 1987 until 1993, before which he was Chief Appellate Attorney and Chief of the General Crimes Unit for the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Mr. Shechtman also served as law clerk to Hon. Warren Burger, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Shechtman received a bachelor's degree in economics from Swarthmore College. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he received his master's degree in economics, and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.
Susan E. Shepard is a lawyer in private practice in New York City.
From 2005-2006, she served as Chief Ethics Officer for Nortel. From 1990 to 1994, she was the Commissioner of Investigation for the City of New York. From 1986 to 1990, she was Chief Counsel to the New York State Commission of Investigation, serving also as a member of the Governor's Criminal Justice Cabinet and the Governor's Drug Enforcement Task Force. She previously served as Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she was chief of the Major Crimes Unit, and in the Attorney General's Honors Program as staff attorney in the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice. Ms. Shepard most recently served as counsel to the law firm of Doar Rieck & Mack.
Ms. Shepard is a resident of Brooklyn Heights. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard (Radcliffe) College where she was an editor of the Harvard Crimson. Following graduation, she was an economics writer for Business Week magazine. She received her law degree from Columbia University School of Law.
Karl J. Sleight served until March, 2007 as the Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission. He was succeeded by Herbert Teitelbaum who was subsequently named Executive Director of the Commission on Public Integrity.
James P. King - Chair from February 2006 to September 24, 2007. (See Biographies of members of the Commission on Public Integrity.)
Andrew G. Celli, Jr. - (See Biographies of members of the Commission on Public Integrity.)
Patrick J. Bulgaro - Between 1965 and 1993, Mr. Bulgaro held a series of executive positions in New York State Government, including Director of the Budget, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Civil Service.
Between 1993 and 2001, he served as president and Executive Director of the Center for the Disabled, one of the largest regional rehabilitation facilities in upstate New York serving 14,000 physically and mentally disabled individuals from a 16 county region.
Mr. Bulgaro presently operates a consulting practice in the areas of financial management, strategic planning, operations and systems analysis.
During his career, Mr. Bulgaro was awarded the American Society for Public Administration's Charles Evans Hughes award for "Outstanding Career Achievement."
He has served on the faculty of Cornell University, Siena College and the State University of New York. He is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters and has been a trustee of various community organizations including Albany Medical Center.
Kenneth J. Baer graduated from Wellington C. Mepham High School in June of 1965. He received a New York State Regents Scholarship; received National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation; member of National Honor Society; received NYS Society of Professional Engineers Award for Excellence in pre-engineering studies; received academic scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science. He Attended courses for Real Estate and Business Law at Hudson Valley Community College, to qualify for a NYS Real Estate Brokers License in 1973, and attended Russell Sage College for courses in Real Estate Appraising.
He taught High School Mathematics at St. Patrick's Catholic School in 1970, coached wrestling at Averill Park High School in Averill Park, New York and coached wrestling at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1971 and 1972. He founded Baer Real Estate in 1973 in Troy, NY, a real estate brokerage agency with, at one time, as many as twenty sales agents. He has been a member of the Rensselaer County Board of Realtors, the National Board of Realtors, the Capital Region Multiple Listing Service, and the Commercial Real Estate Board. Mr. Baer has 31 years of experience in the commercial real estate development business. He has been involved in all aspects of real estate development, including land development, site acquisition, finance, construction, leasing, sales, appraisals and management. He has developed strip malls, renovated office buildings, new and renovated apartment buildings, residential land developments, and thirty privately-owned United State Post Offices, currently owned and managed by Mr. Baer. Mr. Baer is Chairman of the Troy Municipal Assistance Corporation, and a member of New York Real Estate Board.
Michael A. Lenz is a native of Saratoga Springs, New York. He attended the University of Notre Dame from 1982 - 1984 and graduated from the Albany College of Pharmacy in 1988, Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy. He began working in his family pharmacy in 1989 and took over the business with his brother Edward in 1999. Menges & Curtis Pharmacy was established in 1860 and is one of the oldest independent pharmacies in New York State.
Mr. Lenz was elected Commissioner of Finance in Saratoga Springs in 1997 and served three terms. He was elected Mayor of Saratoga Springs in 2003 and served one term. He has been a member of many and varied community groups, and is currently a member of the Elks Club of Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County League of Women Voters, Saratoga Historical Society, Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation, Saratoga County Arts Council and Saratoga PLAN. Mr. Lenz has also been recognized for his many achievements in his community and local government, including the recipient of the 2000 Capital District Business Review Forty Under Forty award for leadership in the community, recipient of the 2002 Saratogian Twenty Under Forty award for community leadership in government, and the 2004 Kappa Psi "Pharmacy Man of the Year" award.
Paul Shechtman, chair until March 2007, when he resigned his position. (See Biographies of members of the State Ethics Commission.)
David Grandeau served as Executive Director of the New York Temporary State Commission on Lobbying until September, 2007.