When I originally wrote this blog post, I erroneously assumed that the ethics commission member whose conflict situation I discuss was the only one selected by the assembly speaker. I since learned that three of the members were selected by the assembly speaker. I would argue, therefore, that these three members are in the same situation (except for the personal opinion expressed about someone who would presumably be involved in the matter). With a fourteen-member commission, the withdrawal of three members from a matter would not hamper consideration of it. It might affect the partisan makeup of those considering the matter, but partisan problems like this are caused by allowing partisan officials to select EC members in the first place. The only major change I made to the post is adding a suggested, controversial way of dealing with a situation where a mayor who has selected all the EC members comes before the EC.
Three issues are raised by a short exchange in a closed session of
New York State's ethics commission (JCOPE) that was accidentally
webcast. According to an
Associated Press article
, in a case involving an
aide to the speaker of the state assembly (the state's lower house),
the issue arose whether the commission member appointed by the
assembly speaker should withdraw from the matter.
The leader of the discussion said that it was up to the commission
member whether or not to withdraw (and no one appears to have objected). He said that, in the discussion
about withdrawal, the commission member "expressed her opinion that
Judge Yates was someone with high ethical standards." Former judge
Yates is counsel to the assembly speaker, who, according to the
article, would likely be involved in the matter.